One Rutherford County team has punched its ticket to the TSSAA prep football playoffs.
Five more teams have started to gear up for a final run to November. Call it a three-game push to the TSSAA postseason.
At 7-0, Siegel can take solace in knowing that it will be part of the Class 6A playoffs. However, the more the Stars win, the better their chances at a No. 1 seed and an opportunity to play their games at Ken Nolan Stadium.
Four more teams in District 7-AAA are still in playoff contention. And Eagleville likely needs just one more win to secure a Class 1A spot.
But for all six, right now is just a three-game season.
“I’m not looking at anyone but Blackman at this point,” said Riverdale coach Ron Aydelott, whose team hosts Blackman on Oct. 12. “Everybody’s goal outside of Siegel, because they are probably already in, is to get in the playoffs. The second goal is to hopefully get a home game or two, if at all possible.
“I think those are the things that are on the line as we come out. We can’t overlook anybody that we play.”
Riverdale currently is 5-2 and likely needs to win one game to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Since the TSSAA went to six Division I classes in 2009, every Class 6A team with six wins has reached the playoffs. Some five-win teams have reached the playoffs each year. No team with four wins or fewer has reached the playoffs unless it was a district champion or runner-up. The champion and runner-up of each district automatically qualify for the playoffs. In Class 1A, teams likely need to get four wins to get in.
If all of that stays true, then Siegel at 7-0 is assured a playoff spot. But the Stars can help themselves secure home-field advantage in the playoffs if they continue to win.
Oakland (4-3) can take that next step in getting playoff eligible with a win Friday at Ravenwood. While the Patriots are coming off a 35-0 loss to Siegel, they still can finish 7-3 if they win out.
“The Siegel game doesn’t define our season or our football team,” Oakland coach Thomas McDaniel said. “We know the areas we need to improve. We’ve got to take it one game at a time, but we’ve got a three-game season. We can essentially end 7-3. That’s an attainable goal. Our kids should be proud of that.”
Blackman coach Philip Shadowens refuses to look ahead to the next three games. Like Aydelott, he is taking it one game at a time. Blackman (4-3) likely has to win two of its final three to get in. However, the Blaze’s strong strength of schedule could help them if they win just five.
“My thing is a hair different than most coaches,” Shadowens said. “Most think we need to win two of the last three games. My goal is to win three of three. But we are trying to concentrate on each individual game as a smaller goal.
“We wanted to be better (this past week) against Smyrna. And we want to get better against Riverdale.”
La Vergne (2-5) has the toughest road. The Wolverines likely need to win out or finish in the top two in 7-AAA to have a shot at making the playoffs. The Wolverines’ remaining schedule includes games with Siegel, defending 3A state champion Christian Academy of Knoxville and Blackman. La Vergne upset CAK in 2011. The Wolverines also played Siegel within seven points and Blackman within 16 in 2011.