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Murphy: Trojans still have shot at region title game

POSTED: October 23, 2011 4:58 p.m.

Out of all the schools in Northeast Georgia playing in a subdivided region, North Hall (4-4, 3-1 Region 8-AAA North) probably has the most riding on this Friday’s game. The Trojans are one of three teams that are in the running for the North subregion title, but as a result of last Friday’s loss to Franklin County (4-4, 3-1), will have to get some help to make things fall their way.

North Hall is already assured one of the top three spots needed for a region play-in game in order to try and make the playoffs on Nov. 4, but what seed the Trojans will earn is still anyone’s guess.

First up for the Trojans is a huge test against Stephens County (7-1, 4-0) on Friday at The Brickyard. If North Hall is going to win the subregion and earn a spot in the region title game against Gainesville (7-1, 4-0) in two weeks at City Park, it has to beat the Indians, a program coming off a 40-7 win against Lumpkin County.

On top of that, North Hall would have to have some help as a result of its loss to Franklin County last Friday. To earn the subregion title, the Trojans would need White County (2-6, 1-3) to upset Franklin County in Carnesville. If those two things were to happen, North Hall would secure a rematch against the Red Elephants at City Park.

However, if North Hall were to beat Stephens County, along with Franklin County beating White County, it would create a three-way tie. According to Trojans coach Bob Christmas, his team would then be a No. 3 seed for a play-in game as a result of the tie-breaking criteria of record versus non-region competition (North Hall is 0-2 on that basis with losses to Jefferson and St. Pius X.)

Monroe Area (6-2, 3-1) has already secured the No. 2 seed from the South subregion and will play host to the third seed from the North subregion in the play-in game.

For North Hall, that’s plenty of incentive to keep practice lively all week. Christmas said he’ll remind his players regularly what they have on the line in Week 10 of the season. And fans shouldn’t count out the Trojans either against Stephens County, which should be considered the favorite to win this game. Christmas has a long track record at North Hall of having his team primed to win the biggest games of the season.

What it all amounts to is some great action to get ready for the postseason. Like it was intended with the subregion system, each week at the end gets gradually more and more important for those that survive the grind of the regular season. On Nov. 4 in the region play-in, we’ll have six teams battling it out at the home sites of schools in the South subregion of 8-AAA for one of those coveted four playoff spots.

It should be fun to watch it all play out.

Bill Murphy is a sports writer for The Times. He can be reached at bmurphy@gainesvilletimes.com



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