Vikings, Gators are still in playoff hunt

Published 11:59 am Monday, October 18, 2010

On one end of the Region 2-6A spectrum, Madison Central stands alone as the unquestioned power. On the opposite end, winless Murrah appears to be the team to beat — when you need a win to keep your playoff hopes alive.

Everything in between is a jumbled mess.

With three weeks left in the regular season, only undefeated Madison Central (8-0, 4-0 Region 2-6A) seems assured of a playoff berth. The other seven teams will scrap and claw for three playoff berths over the final stretch, as coaches and fans try to sift through head-to-head and point differential tiebreakers to figure out their road to the postseason.

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“Not even Murrah is out of this thing,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said.

Actually, at 0-8 overall and 0-4 in the region, Murrah might be the only team that doesn’t have a realistic chance.

Clinton’s 21-10 upset of previously undefeated Northwest Rankin on Friday put the Arrows into second place via a head-to-head advantage over the Cougars. Clinton, though, is just 5-3 overall, giving hope to this week’s opponent Warren Central that it is not invincible.

WC (2-6, 1-3) kept its playoff hopes alive by pulling out a 14-13 victory over Murrah on Friday. The win allowed the Vikings to remain in control of their own destiny. If they beat Clinton, Vicksburg and Grenada — three teams currently ahead of them in the standings — they’ll secure the fourth and final playoff berth.

Vicksburg (1-7, 1-3) is in the same boat. Although they suffered an embarrassing 70-12 loss to Madison Central on Friday, the Gators play Murrah, Warren Central and Clinton in the final three games. Running the table could put Vicksburg as high as third place, since it owns a tiebreaker over Greenville-Weston (4-4, 2-2).

“We’ve got to win out and we can,” Vicksburg coach Alonzo Stevens said. “The teams we’re playing (next) are not the powerhouse that Madison Central is.”

Greenville is currently in fifth place, tied with Grenada at 2-2 in region play but behind the Chargers after Grenada won their head-to-head meeting 27-9 on Friday.

Even Murrah, which is more concerned with snapping a 10-game losing streak than making a late-season push, has a role to play in the region race. It can be a major spoiler as it plays Vicksburg, Grenada and Northwest Rankin over the last three weeks. The Mustangs nearly ruined Warren Central’s dreams, until Malcolm Grant caught a 64-yard TD pass from Beau Wallace with under three minutes remaining Friday.