For teams competing for a region title, such as Etowah, that’s all the motivation the players need to keep working. It’s similar for teams like Cherokee, Creekview and Sequoyah, which are closing in on state playoff berths.
But the story is different at River Ridge and Woodstock, where a once promising season will end in two weeks after a series of unfortunate losses.
Woodstock coach Brent Budde said the message he has for his players is simple — finish.
“We talk about finishing drills, finishing reps, in the weight room,” Budde said. “If what you talk about is finishing stuff, then we need to finish the season. I know that they will come out Monday and they will be hungry again and we will go out and play again next Friday (against Wheeler) at home.”
Woodstock hasn’t played at home in a month. The last time the Wolverines hosted a game was Sept. 27, when they upset Lassiter 44-43.
Since then, Region 5AAAAAA hasn’t been kind to Woodstock (2-6, 1-4), which now sits near the bottom of the standings. Only Wheeler (2-6, 0-5) has a worse record.
Budde said the season shouldn’t be considered lackluster despite the losing record.
“We have been in every game,” he said. “That’s got to count for something.”
Aside from a 41-21 loss to Kell, the Wolverines haven’t lost a game by more than 10. In region games, that number falls to eight points. Their five region losses have been by a combined 25 points.
Etowah (7-1, 4-1 Region 5AAAAAA) continues to be in the hunt for the region title. Its loss to Cherokee was a setback, however, for the Eagles, who could see their fate decided when they travel to Lassiter in two weeks. In the meantime, Etowah will host Walton (4-4, 3-2) on Friday.
Cherokee (5-3, 3-2 Region 5AAAAAA) has been using late-game heroics to keep itself relevant in the region for the first time in six years. The Warriors have won in the fourth quarter in each of the last three games — twice on the final drive.
By defeating Roswell 34-29 on Friday, Cherokee put itself in a tie for third with Milton (6-2, 3-2) and Walton (4-4, 3-2). The Warriors will have a chance to get some separation from Milton this week, as they play the Eagles on the road. Cherokee ends its season at Wheeler.
River Ridge is another team, like Woodstock, playing football for the sake of the game.
The Region 7AAAA (B) Knights are winless in subregion play ahead of their final scheduled opponent, Pickens. River Ridge will play a game Nov. 8 against a team from the other half of the region, but that opponent hasn’t been determined.
Each week, River Ridge coach Robert Braucht has preached the importance of continued improvement. Even more, he has talked about producing boys who are more than just football players, but people of good character.
In Region 7AAAAA (A), both Creekview and Sequoyah are in position to play for a spot in the state playoffs.
The Grizzlies (6-2, 4-0) won again to stay unbeaten in the subregion, while the Chiefs (6-2, 3-1) suffered their only subregion loss at the hands of Creekview.
The top four teams in each of the subregions will match up against one another to determine who will be going to the state playoffs. As it stands now, Creekview would host the No. 4 team in the other subregion in the final week of the regular season, while Sequoyah would host the No. 3 team.