Bunched at the top
Three-team coin flip could decide playoff seedings
By Matt Middleton | Staff Writer
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Should the three teams tied atop Region 3-AAAA win their next two games, each coach will soon be gripping what they hope is a lucky coin.

Evans, Hephzibah and Lakeside all have one region loss and are expected to finish the season that way. Should they all finish 8-1 in the region, a coin flip would determine the playoff order. All three teams would be declared region champions.

Cross Creek athletic director Lisa White, the region secretary, and coaches described the potential coin flip like this: each coach will flip a coin, and the one who flips a side opposite the other two will get the top playoff seed. The order for the second and third playoff spots will then go to head-to-head competition among the remaining teams.

It will all be settled in one flip, provided all three don't land on, say, tails. White said a time and location for the coin flip has not been set.

The top two teams in the region earn at least one home playoff game; the third and fourth open on the road.

Though coaches were loath to look ahead none were strongly against the coin toss. Lakeside coach Jody Grooms wished the tiebreaker came down to a criterion such as margin of victory or points allowed among the two games the co-champions played against each other -- his team would come out on top in all scenarios -- but said that can't be changed.

"I wish we would have done a better job as coaches when we sat down determining the system," he said. "We went with (options) A and B and really didn't explore C, D and E. But we're going to work with the best we got right now. I'm fine with it."

Said Evans coach Marty Jackson: "If we get to that point, I'll be happy with it. It is what it is."

Georgia High School Association rules allow teams to break ties by playing a mini-game -- essentially a standard game, only with five-minute halves -- but that is not written into Region 3-AAAA's bylaws, coaches said.

Beyond finishing the year with two wins, the teams can do little but hope someone else loses. Evans and Hephzibah finish with the same two opponents: Richmond Academy and Cross Creek. Lakeside plays Butler and Josey.

"All you can do the next two weeks is handle your business and see what happens," Hephzibah coach John Bowen said after his team lost to Evans last week, setting up the logjam at the top. "We have to be ready."

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425 or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.

From the Thursday, October 29, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle
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