OC clubs in just-win mode

OC clubs in just-win mode
Obion County’s three football teams have their collective backs against the wall — some closer than others.
With a month remaining in the regular season, Obion Central, South Fulton and Union City all have little room for error if they are going to qualify for the playoffs.
One year after all made it in for just the fourth time in the 49 years the three schools have been in existence, OC, SF and UC find themselves with considerable work to do if they are going to repeat that accomplishment.
Going 4-0 down the stretch would all but ensure a spot in Week 11 for each local entry. It will be impossible for all three to win out, though, as SF and UC play in a Week 10 District 14A matchup that could actually decide if one, both, or neither of those advance to the postseason.
The road to the playoffs will not be a smooth one for any of the three, and the following is a breakdown of what has to happen for each club.
The Rebels’ 35-30 loss to Covington last week was particularly damaging.
Now 0-2 in District 13AA, OC (2-4, 0-2) essentially needs to sweep its four remaining games — against Dyersburg, Westview, Gibson County and Ripley — to make sure it gets into the Big Dance.
One loss in those games won’t necessarily eliminate Central, but it will lengthen any odds it has and make qualifying a longshot at best.
“We dug ourselves this hole and the only way we can get out of it is win the rest of our games,” Rebel head coach Shawn Jackson said, referring to a heartbreaking 22-16 loss to Crockett County as well as the five-point loss last week to the Chargers.
“We’ve really backed ourselves into a corner by not winning the two district games we had great chances in. We’ve started bad in games all season, and that’s put us behind the eight-ball. I’m anxious to see how we respond this week, knowing we have no margin for error.”
The Devils (4-2, 1-2) are currently in the best standing of any of the three local teams.
They also face the most difficult schedule down the stretch.
Starting with fifth-ranked Lake County (5-1) Friday, SF faces, by far, the meatiest portion of its slate with 4-2 Reidland (Ky.), Union City and a rugged Trenton team that has close losses to Dresden, McKenzie and Humboldt among its 2-4 slate.
South Fulton head coach Kelly Spivey said his team has been in the win-one-game-at-a-time mode the last two weeks when it has beaten Gleason and Halls after suffering a potentially-damaging one-point loss to Greenfield.
“It’s a cliché,’ but we’ve just sold the kids on not looking ahead but taking each week as it comes and trying to win, then move to the next week,” Spivey claimed. “I think they’ve embraced the challenge, and they’ve really played hard and have been focused the last two weeks.
“And they know they have to continue that if we’re going to get a couple of more wins and not find ourselves on the bubble at the end of the season.”
The reigning state champion Tornadoes (3-3, 1-1) put themselves back in the pack with a last-second, one-point loss to Trenton in Week 2, but actually control their own fate and can actually win a third consecutive district/region championship by winning out to close the regular season.
That will be no small task, however, starting Friday night with a game at Humboldt — the preseason favorite in 14A and current first-place team in the league without a loss in three district games.
UC also has games remaining against state-rated Lake County and South Fulton, and another against Halls.
“That’s certainly a great challenge, but if there’s a good part about it, it’s that we control our own destiny and don’t have to depend on anyone else,” Twister head man Darren Bowling said.
 of his team’s current standing.
“If we make it, it’ll be because we earned and beat some good teams. If we don’t, we have no one else to blame.”

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