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Murphy: Teams playing the hand they're dealt

POSTED: October 23, 2008 5:00 a.m.

North Hall’s Bob Christmas is one of many coaches in Region 7-AAA that isn’t particularly fond of playing a subregion schedule to determine who goes to the playoffs.

The rationale is that it doesn’t necessarily ensure that the four best teams qualify for the playoffs.

I tend to agree.

But with the always changing makeup of Region 7-AAA, it appears that the Trojans may be the biggest benefactor of playing within such a controversial system. With an overall record of 4-3, North Hall would be playing out the string in the regular season if it was playing in other regions in Northeast Georgia.

Riverside Military is also 4-3 overall, but as it stands now the Eagles are depending on someone above them to lose to jump back in the playoff hunt in Region 8-AA.

But North Hall’s 3-0 mark in 7A-AAA has the Trojans controlling their own destiny for winning the subregion and the ultimate prize of starting the Class AAA state playoffs at home.

North Hall’s last minute win against White County is looking really big now.

The Trojans’ biggest hurdle where winning the subregion is concerned is Friday’s game against Chestatee (4-3, 3-1) at The Brickyard.

It looks as though this side of the subregion has the most to benefit from playing a subregion schedule this season.

Games against sixth-ranked Gainesville (7-0, 3-0 Region 7B-AAA) and Flowery Branch (7-1, 3-0) don’t have any immediate baring on whether the Trojans make it to the playoffs or sit at home when the postseason rolls around.

West Forsyth doesn’t have that same luxury, even with a 6-1 overall record.

Even though the first-year Wolverines have a 2-1 mark in Region 7B-AAA, that may just be enough to keep them from making an improbable run to the playoffs. West Forsyth already lost to Gainesville. The only road for the Wolverines to go to the playoffs is a win against Flowery Branch, and a Falcons win against Gainesville in the regular-season finale.

It’s a possible scenario. But not probable.

And West Hall is already out of playoff contention with a 4-4 overall mark.

Subregion losses to Gainesville and Flowery Branch have already ended the Spartans hopes of making it to the postseason, even though sophomore quarterback Shunquez Stephens has turned out to be one of the more pleasant surprises in 7-AAA, already throwing for more than 2,000 yards.

It’s only a matter of time before the subregion schedule falls by the wayside, with some schools like Flowery Branch, Creekview and West Forsyth bound to move up in classification, sooner rather than later.

The 7-AAA playoff system will probably eventually go back to taking the top four teams. But for now, some schools are making the most of the system at hand.



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