The playoff picture in northwest Georgia became a bit clearer in three of its regions following last Friday, but one league has been thrown into chaos.
Region 6-AAAA has three teams with one league loss after Pickens' 35-34 win over Ridgeland a week ago. Those two teams and Northwest Whitfield could tie for the top spot, and with no clear head-to-head champion, a tiebreaker must be used.
That's where the problem lies. The region elected to use point differential between tied teams as its first tiebreaker, but a clear definition of "differential" is being debated among the schools. Ridgeland owns a 48-42 win over Northwest, while the Bruins defeated Pickens 50-41.
Northwest claims since it defeated Pickens by nine it has the largest margin of victory among the three, while Ridgeland believes since it won by six and lost by one, it has the best point margin at plus-5, with Northwest next at plus-3.
Of course, each of the three teams still has work to do, with Northwest hosting county rival Southeast Whitfield tonight and Ridgeland finishing at Southeast next week after hosting winless Gilmer tonight. Heritage can also get to the third seed if the Generals upset Pickens next week.
Elsewhere in northwest Georgia:
- Region 6-AAAAAA: Dalton (5-0 in league play) assumed the top spot with last week's win over Harrison, but the Catamounts likely will have to win at defending state champion Allatoona (4-1) next week to win the region outright. A loss would create a three-way tie with Harrison (4-1).
- Region 6-AAA: Barring upsets the matchups are set for next week's crossover play-in round. Calhoun (3-0) would clinch the South subregion with a win over Bremen (2-1) and would host Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe. North Murray (2-1) will be the North top seed if it wins at LFO tonight and would play at either Adairsville or Haralson County, who meet tonight.
A Ringgold (2-1) win at winless Coahulla Creek tonight would send the Tigers to Sonoraville (3-1) next week, while Murray County (3-1) will travel to Bremen unless the Blue Devils upset Calhoun.
- Region 7-AA: Barring upsets tonight, Chattooga (4-1) will travel to Pepperell (5-0) next week to decide the championship. The Indians can clinch a playoff berth with a win at Dade County tonight. Rockmart (4-1) can clinch a spot with a win over Gordon Central, while Model (3-2) and Coosa (2-3) likely will decide the fourth seed.
A quick look at Tennessee playoff races:
- Region 4-5A: Final postseason placement could require a calculator depending on the outcome of two games — McMinn County at Rhea County and Ooltewah at Walker Valley. While Rhea has the head-to-head advantage over Ooltewah and Walker Valley, an Eagles loss to McMinn and an Ooltewah win at Walker Valley would create a three-way tie for first.
- Region 3-4A: Stone Memorial and Hixson will host next week. The chase for third and fourth is between Central and East Hamilton. East Hamilton goes to Stone Memorial while Central is at Cumberland County. Central holds the head-to-head advantage over the Hurricanes.
- Region 3-2A: The only area team in the playoff race is McMinn Central, and the Chargers' fate will be determined tonight when they travel to Scott County. Each is 2-2 in region play, each having lost to Alcoa and CAK.
- Region 3-3A: The title will be decided at Red Bank as the Lions host Notre Dame. Both will be at home next week. East Ridge is locked into third but the fourth playoff spot will go to the Howard-at-Signal-Mountain winner.
- Region 4-3A: Sequatchie County has locked up the championship regardless of the outcome of its game at Upperman. Grundy County, the only other area team, is out of the postseason picture.
- Region 3-2A: Marion County and Meigs have clinched first and second. Currently in third, Boyd-Buchanan needs a win at Silverdale Baptist tonight to keep that spot. Silverdale needs a win and possibly a Tyner loss. In the event of a tie, Boyd-Buchanan owns the head-to-head with Tyner, but the Bucs could slip to fourth with a loss tonight.
- Region 3-1A: The biggest battle remaining is Whitwell at Copper Basin, a game that will decide second and third and thus home or road next week. South Pittsburg has secured the championship and Grace Academy will be No. 4.
Murray's Gregg on a big roll
There hasn't been a hotter player in the state of Georgia over the past few weeks than Murray County junior running back Tucker Gregg.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder has run for more than 200 yards in four of the past five weeks, including two games of 300-plus. Gregg, who is now second in the state in rushing with 1,578 yards, began his surge with 250 yards against Adairsville and two weeks later had 311 against Ringgold. The last two weeks he had 250 versus Coahulla Creek and broke his own single-game record with 342 against Lakview-Fort Oglethorpe.
"Goodness, about four weeks ago he started rolling," Murray coach Chad Brewer said. "The work he's put in and the pride he plays and practices with says everything. Our offensive line — Hunter Sosebee, Tyler Keener, Cade Blassingame center, Dustin Gibson and Margarito Gutierrez — has been great, and Tucker gets a lot of yards after contact as well."
Gregg, who also owns the school's ingle-season and career rushing records, and quarterback Dominick Genitempo, who has 987 yards, form one of the state's top rushing duos.
"We found something that worked with our offensive line a few weeks ago," Brewer said. "We started off with two solid wins, and then we went into a bit of a lull where we tried different things. After that we decided to do stuff we were good at, and we rolled up our sleeves and started running the ball."