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Posted: October 11, 2011 6:37 p.m.

Who would have thought?

Tigers proving how unpredictable predictions can be

Until 2008, football games at Sharp Stadium in November were almost always meaningless. Save for the occasional season finale that decided Newton, then later Eastside’s playoff fate, Sharp Stadium was usually a ghost town that late in the year. Then Eastside started wining region championships and all of a sudden, football games in Covington in November, specifically playoff games, have become common place.

The Eagles have played five postseason games at Sharp the past three years. Football in November is alive and well. As we wind the regular season down, it appears again as though we’ll have another home playoff game. Guess what though, it may not be Eastside.

That’s right. The Eagles are in dire straits. With their loss to Drew Saturday, they’ve fallen out of second place and into fourth. What’s worse, they’ve also lost control of the No. 2 seed which guarantees a home playoff game. Eastside now faces the prospect of opening the playoffs on the road — if they make the postseason at all. As it stands, the Eagles are one of three teams with three wins in Region 4-AAA. Sandy Creek is undefeated (5-0). The race for the No. 2 seed is between Eastside, Stockbridge and Drew.

Henry County could play a major role in who wins the second seed. Stockbridge has already beaten Henry County but lost to Drew. Eastside still has toplay both Henry County and Stockbridge while Drew has to play Henry County. Here’s the scenario. The Eagles must win the rest of their games first and foremost (like they did last year) and hope Henry County and somebody else beats Drew. Looking at the Titans' remaining games, the only team beside Henry County I see who can give them a run is Jackson. But that game will be at Drew. Things don’t look too good. So if Eastside doesn’t wind up playing a home playoff game, who will?

Alcovy has completely turned things around after starting the season 0-2. The Tigers have won five straight and are in complete control of a subregion nobody thought they had a chance in. At 4-0, the Tigers are a game up on Jones County — a team they demolished last time out, on the road no less — and need just one win over their final two games to secure at least a No. 2 seed. That’s right. If Alcovy beats either Dutchtown (a team they’ve beaten in the past and have always been right there with) or Woodland, Henry (who’s lost to every team Alcovy’s beaten), they are guaranteed a home playoff game.

Let’s be honest, nobody saw this coming. Alcovy had talent coming into the season, but we didn’t know how Devon Edwards was going to respond to missing his junior year with a broken clavicle. We only had Edwards’ sophomore season to go on, and while it was good, it was nowhere near what we’ve seen out of him this year.

Edwards has been the best offensive player in the county by a long shot this year. He’s been the best player in Region 3-AAAA by a long shot. Even with Tre Sorrells being a nonfactor this year Alcovy is winning and winning big. Edwards has been the man. Look at what he did against Jones County — 274 yards rushing and three touchdowns and another 83 yards and a touchdown receiving. Those are Playstation numbers. That’s just on offense from one game. He’s been running kicks back and doing all sorts of things this year.

When Alcovy came into the season, everybody looked at their schedule and 2010 results and figured this would be another tough year. I for one didn’t expect them to be as bad as they were last year, but admittedly, I also didn’t expect them to be this good.

I was reminded by one coach that I predicted the Tigers wouldn't make the playoffs. So I went back and looked at what I wrote in the season preview.

"Do I think the Tigers will make the playoffs? No, I don’t. But I’d love nothing more than to be proven wrong. To do that the Tigers are going to have to play out of their minds. Do I think they can do that? Yes. They did it in 2009. To think they can’t would be a mistake."

Well, I didn't really say they wouldn't make the playoffs I just didn't think they'd be good enough too. Go back to last year when Alcovy lost four straight to end the year 1-9, and you can see why I would think that. I was also smart enough not to count them out because I saw what they did in two years ago.

But seriously, what gives? It's simple. The Tigers have taken advantage of their situation. Griffin, a team that’s averaged 10 wins a year over the past decade, isn’t the same dominant Griffin team we’re used to. Alcovy beat them. Starr’s Mill, the team Alcovy beat that really kick-started the run, graduated a bunch of kids and clearly isn't as good as its was last year when they went 14-1 and lost in the state title game. Alcovy beat them (in retrospect, last year was a flash-in-the-pan season for Starr’s Mill. The Panthers went 3-7 in 2008 and 6-5 in 2009 leading up to that dream season). Over the past five weeks, Alcovy's beaten every team put in front of them.

Things have fallen Alcovy's way and the Tigers are holding up their end. It’s not just blind luck that has the them on the verge of their second playoff berth and possibly first home playoff game in school history. They’re better than those other teams. In fact, they’re pretty good. Good enough to ensure we get another home playoff game this November.

 

Studs from the week

The aforementioned Devon Edwards had what can only be described as the perfect fantasy football game. His 200,000 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns (OK, it wasn’t that sweet but you get my drift. The kid was all-world against Jones County) would have been good for 59 fantasy points. According to ESPN, based on default fantasy football scoring values (I used for Edwards), Clinton Portis’ 54 points in a game in 2003 were the most ever. So far this year, Aaron Rogers has the most with 45. Based on those numbers, Edwards would have set a record for most fantasy points in a single game. Then again, there are many high school players who put up insane numbers like that but so far, Edwards is by far the highest scorer of any county player for a single game. Pretty solid indeed.

 

Guys who stunk it up

These stats have to be taken with a grain of salt as you really can only do what you can based on opportunity but Newton quarterback Gmatreian Brown had a game he’d like to forget. He threw a touchdown but barely passed the 100-yard mark. Most damning, he threw three picks and lost a fumble for minus eight points. Give him five points for yardage and six for the touchdown and you get a net of three points. Luckily you don’t lose an additional six points for a pick-six.

Eastside quarterback Cameron Boyd also had a rough game. His 89 passing yards would have netted him eight points, but an interception cost him two. More than that, it also aided in a Drew win. The pick was taken back 53 yards for a touchdown.

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