Golden Tigers remain in playoff hunt

For much of the past decade Russellville had been in contention for a home game in the first round of the playoffs by the time the last two region games rolled around on the schedule.

This year, however, the Golden Tigers are fighting hard for the fourth seed in Class 5A, Region 8.

Although fans are not used to a 2-5 record at this point in the season, the Golden Tigers have a good chance of reaching the postseason if they win their two remaining region games and get a little help.

Russellville is 2-3 in region play and is tied with Lee-Huntsville for fifth in the region standings. The Golden Tigers host the Generals this Friday for Homecoming. It is a game that will eliminate one of the teams from playoff contention.

If Russellville wins the game and the rest of the region games this week go as anticipated — Muscle Shoals defeats J.O. Johnson, East Limestone defeats Lawrence County and Athens defeats Columbia — Russellville would be tied with Johnson for the fourth seed in the region with 3-3 records in region play. Johnson would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker because the Jaguars beat the Golden Tigers 28-25 in double overtime.

To clinch a playoff berth without using tiebreakers Russellville would have to beat Columbia, which would give the Golden Tigers a 4-3 record in region play, and Lawrence County would have to beat Johnson to drop the Jaguars to 3-4 in region play. Under that scenario the Golden Tigers could finish as high as the three seed in the region if East Limestone defeats Athens, or drop to the fourth seed if Athens defeats East Limestone.

If Johnson defeats Lawrence County Russellville would need help to reach the playoffs.

If Russellville and Johnson win, the Golden Tigers would need East Limestone to defeat Athens. That would force a three-way tie between Russellville, Johnson and Athens for the two final playoff berths.

If Russellville wins the three-way tiebreaker, the Golden Tigers would be the third seed and Athens would be the fourth seed because it beat Johnson earlier in the season.

If Johnson wins the three-way tiebreaker, the Jaguars would be the third seed and Russellville would be the fourth seed because it beat Athens earlier in the season.

If Athens wins the three-way tiebreaker, the Golden Eagles would be the third seed and Johnson would be the fourth seed because it beat Russellville earlier in the season.

All of those scenarios require the Golden Tigers to defeat both Lee and Columbia.

If the Golden Tigers falter in either of their remaining region games, they would miss the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

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