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Photo by Cade Deakin / Baylor's field-goal unit warms up before a home game against Knoxville Catholic on Oct. 18. Baylor still has a chance at a runner-up finish in its region.
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Final week of Tennessee prep football regular season leaves much to be decided for area teams

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With the playoffs on the horizon, there is work to be done for most Chattanooga-area prep football teams in the regular season's final week. Whether it's a region championship, a home game in the first round or simply a spot in the postseason, there is still much to be decided.

Here's a region-by-region breakdown of what's at stake for area teams before the TSSAA playoffs begin next week.

Region 3-1A: The winner of the South Pittsburg (8-0, 3-0) at Copper Basin (6-3, 3-0) game wins the region title and the loser is second, while the winner of Lookout Valley (0-9, 0-3) at Whitwell (1-8, 0-3) gets the region's final playoff berth. Sale Creek (4-5, 2-2) is third no matter what else happens.

South Pittsburg, ranked No. 1 in the classification, has won six of the past eight region titles and 18 of its past 19 region games, including this year by an average score of 62-6. Copper Basin, which hasn't won a region title since 1992, has beaten region opponents by an average score of 46-12 this season. Its most recent win against South Pittsburg came in the second round of the 2014 playoffs. Cougars junior Bryson Grabowski has passed for a school record 1,882 yards already this season to help the program turn things around after going 1-9 last year.

Region 2-2A: Third-ranked Meigs County, the only area team in this region, already owns the 2-2A title and could host in every round of state through the semifinals except the quarterfinals.

Region 3-2A: This is the only region in the area that is already completely set. Tyner has the title locked up for the third straight year and is looking for its 14th straight league victory against winless Polk County. The Rams have rolled past region foes by an average score of 44-5 this season. Bledsoe County (6-3, 2-1) is second, Marion County (2-7, 2-2) is third and Tellico Plains (3-6, 1-2) is fourth.

Region 3-3A: Two head-to-head matchups will decide the top four seeds. Red Bank (8-0, 4-0), ranked third in the classification, has won three straight region titles and 19 straight region games coming into its showdown with fourth-ranked Loudon (9-0, 4-0). Both teams have beaten region opponents by an average of 35-plus points this year, and Loudon has beaten all nine opponents by at least 21. The Redskins have given up more than eight points only twice, and nobody has scored more than 14 on them.

The winner of Signal Mountain (4-5, 2-2) at Sweetwater (6-3, 2-2) will finish third and the loser is fourth.

Region 4-3A: The only area team that will qualify for the playoffs from this region is Sequatchie County, which could finish either first or third. The Indians (6-3, 3-1) host 2018 league champ Upperman (8-1, 3-0), and to catapult to the top they would need to win and get help in the form of Grundy County (0-9, 0-4) knocking off Smith County (5-4, 3-1) and York (2-7, 1-3) beating Cannon County (4-5, 1-3). Otherwise, Upperman takes its second straight region crown and Sequatchie finishes third.

Region 2-4A: Anderson County already owns the region title. East Hamilton (6-3, 4-1) at Howard (7-2, 4-1) will decide second place, with the loser finishing third. Howard, which most recently hosted a playoff game in 2008, has held three of its past four opponents scoreless but is facing an opponent that has averaged more than 40 points per game.

The biggest drama comes when East Ridge (5-4, 2-3) travels to Hixson (2-6, 2-3) with only the winner advancing to the postseason. After breaking a 24-game losing streak earlier this season, Hixson will try to make the playoffs after a two-year absence.

Region 4-5A: Walker Valley (4-5, 1-1) travels to Soddy-Daisy (5-4, 2-0) for a game that will dictate the playoff fate of three teams. If Soddy-Daisy wins, it take the top spot, followed by Rhea County (7-2, 2-1) and Walker Valley, regardless of whatever else happens. If Walker Valley wins, then Rhea County is the region champ, with Walker Valley second and Soddy-Daisy third. Lenoir City (1-8, 0-3) is locked in at fourth.

Region 2-6A: Maryville already owns its 19th consecutive region title — the Rebels haven't lost a region game since 2000. Bradley Central (7-2, 4-1) travels to McMinn County (8-1, 4-1) to decide second place and home-field advantage in the first round.

The fourth-place scenarios are much more cloudy, mostly as a result of Cleveland's 21-20 loss to William Blount (3-6, 2-4) last week. If Ooltewah (3-6, 2-3) wins at Cleveland (3-6, 1-4), Ooltewah secures the fourth spot. But if Cleveland wins and Lenoir City beats William Blount in a nonregion matchup, then Cleveland gets the fourth spot as a result of having the better overall record. If William Blount wins and Cleveland wins, then William Blount gets the final playoff berth and Cleveland is out as a result of their head-to-head outcome.

Division II-A East: Grace Academy is in good shape to hold on to the sixth and final playoff berth from the region. The Golden Eagles (2-6, 1-5) need only a road win at Franklin's Grace Christian (0-9, 0-6) or a loss by Webb School of Bell Buckle (1-6, 1-5) to secure their fifth straight trip to the postseason.

Division II-AA East: As murky as any region in the state, there are six different scenarios that could affect the final standings. Boyd Buchanan could finish anywhere from first to third, and Chattanooga Christian School could finish anywhere from first to fourth.

Boyd Buchanan (8-1, 4-1) travels to Knoxville Grace (7-2, 4-1) and CCS (5-3, 3-1) is at Silverdale Baptist Academy (4-5, 1-4). The simplest way to put it is wins for Boyd Buchanan and CCS would guarantee either a No. 1 or 2 seed for both.

Division II-AAA East/Middle: The only lingering question to be answered is where Baylor will finish. The Red Raiders (8-1, 3-1) travel to Brentwood Academy (6-3, 2-2), where a win would give them the No. 2 overall seed and a loss likely means falling to third. BA, which has won the past four DII-AAA state championships, will be without its top rusher after sophomore running back Jordan James announced abruptly Wednesday evening on his Twitter account that he is leaving the school, effective immediately, for "personal reasons." The 5-foot-10, 198-pound James, who already has offers from Alabama, Nebraska, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, had nearly 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, including 238 yards in a win over Ensworth last week.

McCallie (8-1, 4-0), which hosts Ensworth (6-3, 2-2), already owns the top seed.

Contact Stephen Hargis at shargis@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.

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