Tigers try to keep hopes alive
When the month of October rolls around it with brings with it a chill in the air and a clearer playoff picture for high school football teams throughout the state.
In 5A region 2, that picture does not include the Greenville Tigers.
But, there is still time for them to roar and shake some things up.
A team needs to win four games to make it into the playoffs as a No.4 in the region. Greenville has four region games remaining.
From here until the first weekend of November, the Tigers are in a single elimination tournament to get to the playoffs.
If they win out, then they stand a chance of getting in.
A loss, and the Tigers are buying tickets to playoff games.
With five games left on the regular season schedule, the Region 2 stacks up like this: Stanhope Elmore and Charles Henderson are both unbeaten with a regional record of 3-0 each.
Eufaula, Booker T. Washington and Wetumpka High are all caught in the middle with a 2-1 record.
Carroll High, Greenville High and Russell County High are on the bottom of the ladder right now, still searching for that first victory. They are 0-3 in the region.
"For all practical purposes I think the region is pretty much settled," said Bobby Bennett, coach of the Carroll "High Eagles. "We've won one game and Greenville's won none. But, right now we are just playing for pride at this point. No one's mathematically eliminated yet, but we are in a pretty dire situation."
Friday night, the Greenville High Tigers will travel to Ozark and tangle with the Carroll High Eagles.
"Greenville is a big ole' good looking football team," said Bennett. "We just hope we can play with them. We are going to do some things that can hopefully suit our personnel and give them some problems."
For the Tigers, their playoffs start this week.
"The region is in our hands," said Alvin Briggs, coach of the Tigers. "It starts this week with Carroll, who is a good football team. We beat them then win our next regional games and we are in the playoffs. You control your own destiny. We are not depending on someone to beat someone else. It's all left up to us. "
Each team has three region games remaining.
Greenville will play Booker T Washington, Russell County and then end their season with Charles Henderson.
"We've got to rededicate ourselves this week," Briggs said. "We have to forget about being 0-5, it's a new season. Every game from this point is a playoff game. It's no different than an NFL team trying to get the Wild Card or an SEC team trying to get into the championship. This is where it's at right here."
The Charles Henderson game was originally scheduled for Sept. 17, but due to Hurricane Ivan, it was moved to the end of the season.
The Eagles are in the same situation, their playoffs start Friday night as well.
"We've just got to hope that our boys have enough pride to go out there and get after it," Bennett said. "The playoffs are not the biggest catch-all in the world. I mean, half the teams go now."
"When I played only one team went. It's not a super-duper honor to be the No. 3 or No. 4 in a region. When you realize you aren't going, at some point it's just pride."
With the season winding down, the Eagles will face Eufaula, Charles Henderson and then Russell County.
The Russell County game was reset due to Hurricane Ivan.
The race to get into the playoffs is one thing that these two squads have in common.
"Carroll is going to be Carroll," Briggs said. "They are going to be a well-coached football team. They are going to run Wing-T traps and stuff. They've still got a chance, an outside chance."
"They've got to depend on some teams, where we only have to depend on ourselves. It's going to be a dogfight and if we play like we can play we will win the football game."
Another thing is that both teams are coming off losses.
The Tigers went head-to-head with the regional leader Stanhope Elmore High last Friday night.
The Mustangs stampeded through the Tigers 38-7.
Carroll faced Wetumpka with pretty much the same result.
The Indians plucked the Eagles 40-19.
Kickoff for Friday night's game is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be played at Matthews Stadium in Ozark.