White County coach Gregg Segraves has a simple message to send over to his friends at Chestatee.
“We wish them (Chestatee) well this week, and hope they can win by at least 13 points,” Segraves said.
The Warriors coach sends out those late season well wishes with his own team’s playoff chances in mind. It’s the biggest part of a two-pronged process for White County to get back in the playoffs.
First, the Warriors (5-4, 3-2 Region 7A-AAA) have to win by at least 13 points against Gilmer (0-9, 0-5) on Friday night to solidify the No. 4 playoff seed. That should be easy enough since the Bobcats have lost each game by an average margin of 32.
The second part isn’t so easy. Chestatee has to defeat Creekview (5-4, 4-1) by that lucky number of 13 or more.
If that doesn’t happen, White County will be denied its second straight trip to the postseason, as part of rules agreed upon by Region 7-AAA’s coaches before the season began.
Some may say this whole process is too complicated to decide the playoff qualifiers for high school football teams, but it’s a necessary evil when teams are so even at season’s end.
“We know we didn’t win the ones early on in the subregion (North Hall and Creekview) that we needed,” Segraves said. “With 13 teams in a region and a subdivided system, nothing’s going to be absolutely fair, but there’s no disagreement here since the rules are cut and dry.”
The 13-point scale was decided before the season started to reward points for margin of victory in subregion games. Thirteen points is the maximum allowed by this system. No points are subtracted for losses to subregion opponents.
Chestatee and Creekview are also in the running for that No. 4 spot.
If Chestatee (4-5, 3-2 Region 7A-AAA) and White County (5-4, 3-2) win Friday by at least 13, it would give each school four subregion wins by the maximum points, and equate to 52 points for each.
In that case, it goes to winning percentage against Class AAA opponents and White County would have the edge at 60 percent.
The math may get a little fuzzy with all the what-ifs still in play. But at least it’s consistent with the rules set up when the season started.
“If we win, we’re in, since we only have one loss,” Creekview coach Al Morrell said. “The way it’s set up, I really don’t know a more fair way of doing things.”
The No. 4 playoff seed is really the only sticking point when it comes to playoff seeding in Region 7-AAA. The winner of Friday’s Gainesville-Flowery Branch game will earn the region title and home-field advantage for the first two weeks of the state playoffs. Since the Red Elephants (9-0, 4-0 Region 7B-AAA) and Falcons (8-1, 4-0) play in the same subregion, the loser becomes the No. 3 seed and will have to go on the road to open the playoffs.
North Hall (6-3, 5-0 Region 7A-AAA) has already locked up its third consecutive subregion title. The Trojans are already the No. 2 seed to the playoffs, regardless of the outcome of the Gainesville-Flowery Branch game, since they lost both games head-to-head. With the second seed, North Hall will get its playoff opener in front of its fans at The Brickyard.
The No. 4 seed from Region 7-AAA will get to visit Region 8-AAA’s champion to open the playoffs on Nov. 14. Eastside, Stephens County and Hart County are in the running for the region title with 5-1 region records heading into Friday night.