They were calculating just what their respective team would need to do next Friday night in order to qualify for the state playoffs.
For teams like Creekview and Sequoyah, which play in a region with a play-in system, the formula is simple — win and in. For others such as Etowah and Cherokee, things are a bit more complex.
Region 7AAAAA (A) champion Creekview (7-2, 5-0) lost two of its first three games before sweeping through subregion play.
Because of its 32-7 loss to Kell on Sept. 20, the Grizzlies can only win the region championship if Kell loses its play-in game with Cambridge. First, though, Creekview must focus on hosting Sprayberry (2-7), the fourth seed from the other surbregion, for a shot at the state playoffs.
Sequoyah (7-2, 4-1) used a big win over Cambridge on Friday night to secure the No. 2 seed behind Creekview. The Chiefs will face Pope (3-6) for a state playoff berth.
In Region 5AAAAAA, Etowah (7-2, 4-2) could have locked up a playoff spot with a win over Walton, but it was instead handed a 28-5 defeat.
The loss opened the door for Lassiter (6-3, 5-1) to take over the top spot in the region, heading into this week’s showdown with the Eagles in east Cobb.
If Lassiter wins, the region title is theirs. If Etowah wins, it would be the champion, based on tiebreaker scenarios.
There stands a chance that as many as four teams could tie for the region’s best record at 5-2 — if Etowah beats Lassiter, and Milton and Walton win their final games. In that scenario, the Eagles would be the champion, based on having beaten Milton and Lassiter.
If Etowah loses next week, it could conceivably fall out of the playoffs altogether.
Coach Dave Svehla said he hasn’t considered what his team would have to do in order to win the title. He’s focused on just making the playoffs.
“I don’t put my stock in whether we win the region or not,” Svehla said. “I know that we need to win in order to guarantee a spot in the playoffs. There has already been a lot of talk that we are already in it, but we are not. We have to win in order to make the playoffs for sure.”
Cherokee (5-4, 3-3) needs to not only beat Wheeler (2-7, 0-6) and improve to 4-3, but it needs Etowah to lose to Lassiter. That would leave the two county rivals at 4-3 in the region, and the Warriors would win own the tiebreaker based on their win over the Eagles on Oct. 18.
Cherokee’s hopes were dealt a serious blow with its lopsided loss to Milton on Friday, and it now has more ground to gain to be playoff-bound for the first time since 2008.
“I know Etowah would have to lose again for us to get in,” Cherokee coach Josh Shaw said. “But when it comes down to it, we need to take care of our business and win. We have got to do a lot of regrouping after what happened to us (Friday night). I can see favorable things happening for us, though, with Etowah and Roswell losing. We still have a chance.”
Finally, there are Woodstock and River Ridge, whose seasons end this week, no matter what happens in their respective 10th games.
Woodstock (3-6, 2-4 Region 5AAAAA) will host Milton (7-2, 4-2), with the chance to play spoiler — even though it could help rival Etowah win the region title.
After going winless in Region 7AAAA (A), River Ridge (1-8, 0-4) will close the season by hosting Heritage-Catoosa (1-8) in a crossover game.