South Fulton’s season is officially over.
The Red Devils, who’d held out hope that they could sneak into the Class 1A playoff despite a 3-7 record, were bumped from the 24-team field by Wayne County’s 34-29 victory over Richland last week.
SF, which has an open date for the final Friday of the regular season this week, thus will put up the pads instead of practicing this week and scoreboard watching Friday night.
South Fulton was the “last team in” heading into last week’s contest — a 37-12 loss to Union City — but lost that distinction when reigning state champion Wayne County won its third game and moved ahead of the Redmen in the playoff standings via the strength of schedule tie-breaker.
The Devils had made the playoffs each of the past three seasons as a wildcard entry. SF’s only victory during that time came in 2009, a 34-6 win over Gleason.
In the bigger picture, South Fulton’s removal from the playoff picture made Quad 4 considerably tougher.
With Wayne County joining the mix in Quad 3, it bumped fifth-ranked Huntingdon over to a “rural West” bracket that also includes West Carroll, Union City, Lake County, Gleason and Halls.
Depending on results from Week 10, that could set up first-round matchups between Gleason and Lake County and UC or Huntingdon vs. Halls.
West Carroll likely will get a first round bye, with probably either Union City or the Mustangs getting the other.
Key games Friday pitting Dresden at Huntingdon, UC at Humboldt and McKenzie-West Carroll will officially determine the 1-6 seeding in the quad.
FIRST THINGS FIRST — While Union City is already assured a postseason berth, the Golden Tornadoes could enhance their standing and lock up an automatic bid by beating fellow 6-3 District 14A brethren Humboldt on the road Friday night.
And though advancing deep into November was and remains a season-long goal for the Twisters, head coach Darren Bowling insisted after Friday’s triumph over South Fulton that gaining a first-round bye that would further heal several injuries incurred by his team would be critical in the grand scheme of things.
“It’d be huge,” Bowling said. “Just getting another week to get healthy — especially with who we’re likely going to have to play in the playoffs — would be very important.
“The wear and tear on you both mentally, preparing for another opponent, and the physical toll a game takes on you, can’t be overstated. Winning and getting a bye would also give us two weeks to prepare for who we might play. And we’d have a little momentum heading into the postseason with a win over a quality program like Humboldt, which I think has a chance of advancing deep in the playoffs.”
UC’s list of walking wounded is considerably shorter than just two weeks ago, with fullback Keylon Hyde, slot Khiry Lewis and linebacker Kane Taylor all having returned to action last week vs. the Red Devils after missing games due to various injuries.
Bowling said his club came out of the SF games without any additional hurts.
ALL OUT — With its 2012 football season 48 clock minutes from being history, Obion Central has one goal: Go out with a bang.
“We’re going to work as hard this week as we do all the time and then try to go over there and spoil their Senior Night or whatever it is that they have planned,” Rebel head coach Shawn Jackson said of his team’s game Friday at Dyersburg. “We’re not going to hold anything back. We’re going to go for the throat and see what happpens.”
A season that began with hopes of another successful playoff run on the heels of a historic ’11 campaign will come to a close without a playoff spot when the Rebels visit Dyersburg in the final regular season game.
Central is just 2-7 overall and 1-5 in District 13AA. So, with no postseason awaiting, the Rebels will treat this week’s game like their own one-game postseason and try to send the Trojans into the Class 4A playoffs on a sour note. Dyersburg is currently ranked eighth in the 4A poll with an 8-1 record.
Beating Dyersburg will be a tall order for Central, which is being outscored 35-20 on average and is giving up 353 yards per game.
The last two games have been particularly tough on the Rebels’ defense, allowing 56 points to Covington and then 53 to Haywood.
Friday’s game will mark the last one for 18 Rebel seniors.
“These seniors have worked really hard and have done everything we’ve asked,” Jackson said. “We just have to play football. We’ve looked good in spurts and bad in spurts.”
— Compiled by
and Kevin Weaks
Published in The Messenger 10.24.12