Oneida secured a home playoff game on Friday with a 35-7 win at Sequoyah, coupled with Monterey’s 28-21 loss to Bledsoe County.
The Indians still control their own destiny for Region 2-2A’s No. 1 seed, but can finish no lower than second in the region. Under the TSSAA’s playoff format, the top two seeds in each region host a first round game.
Entering the final week of the regular season, Oneida is 7-2 overall, and 3-1 in region play. Rockwood is 6-3 overall, and 2-1 in region play. Monterey is 5-4 overall, and 2-1 in region play.
Assuming Monterey defeats Wartburg next week — which seems likely even though the Wildcats have lost three straight games and are in a tailspin — and Rockwood defeats York Institute, the three teams will end the regular season in a tie atop the region standings. The head-to-head tiebreaker will not sort things out, since Oneida defeated Monterey, Monterey defeated Rockwood, and Rockwood defeated Oneida.
In that scenario, the next tiebreaker is the overall number of wins. Rockwood would have seven, Monterey would have six, and what remains would be Oneida’s game at Coalfield. If the Indians defeat their old rival, they would finish with eight wins and win the tiebreaker, finishing first in the region. If, however, the Indians lose to Coalfield, they’ll also finish with seven wins.
If that were to occur, Monterey would be eliminated from the tiebreaker, having only six wins. Oneida and Rockwood would remain in a tie, and the tiebreaker process would revert to the head-to-head matchup, which Rockwood won. So the finishing order would be Rockwood first, Oneida second, and Monterey third.
The tiebreaker process was simplified considerably Friday with Monterey’s loss to Bledsoe County, removing some of the drama from next week’s games.
So, in a nutshell, these are the games to keep an eye on next week:
1.) Oneida at Coalfield. If the Indians win, they finish No.1 in the region, unless Wartburg defeats Monterey and Rockwood defeats York, in which case the Indians would finish No. 2. If the Indians lose, they finish No. 2, unless Rockwood loses to York.
2.) Wartburg at Monterey. If the Wildcats win, and if Oneida defeats Coalfield, the Indians are the No. 1 team in the region. Rockwood would finish No. 2 and Monterey would finish No. 3.
3.) York Institute at Rockwood. If Rockwood wins and Oneida loses to Coalfield, the Tigers finish No. 1 and the Indians finish No. 2. If York wins, Oneida finishes No. 1 regardless of its outcome against Coalfield. Monterey would finish No. 2 and Rockwood would finish No. 3.
If Oneida finishes No. 1, its first round playoff opponent will be Happy Valley. If Oneida finishes No. 2, its first round playoff opponent will be Cumberland Gap. There’s a significant gap between Happy Valley and Cumberland Gap; the Panthers won their regular season meeting, 36-12. However, there’s also a significant difference between Cumberland Gap and Region 1-2A’s No. 2 team, Hampton. The Bulldogs defeated Cumberland Gap 42-0.
By defeating Sequoyah, coupled with Monterey’s loss to Bledsoe County, Oneida assured itself of avoiding Hampton in the first round of the postseason. Both Hampton and Region 1’s No. 1 team, South Greene, are ranked in the Top 10 in the state.
Next week’s game against Coalfield will find Oneida playing for a second round playoff game at home, as well. Should the Indians finish first in the region, and win their first round playoff game, they would host the second round game, which would be against the winner of Hampton and Monterey. Should the Indians finish second in the region, and win their first round playoff game, they would travel for the second round to face South Greene, barring a major upset.