Jefferson County might be 0-6, but Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis is uncomfortable heading into tonight's contest with the Warriors.
"It's do or die time for us," Lewis said. "If we win, we're in the playoffs. If we don't, we have to play Westside and Laney to get in."
The road to the Bulldogs' third straight Class AAA playoff appearance got tougher last week when they lost linebacker Josh Wilmoth (broken leg bone) for two weeks and running back Anthony Anderson (ankle sprain).
Running back and linebacker Kelvin Sturgis is banged up but will play. Fullback Larry Crawford quit the team two weeks ago.
"I don't know what we're going to do," Lewis said. "But we've played with adversity all year long."
So have the Warriors. Running backs Derrick Stone and Trivinsky Ruff broke their legs in preseason games, and Jefferson County never recovered, losing its first four games by a total of 25 points.
POINT TAKEN: Although Laney failed to convert three extra points in its 45-8 win against Josey, Wildcats coach Eric Parker has no plans to replace starting kicker J.K. Sabb with sophomore Curtis Sapp, who connected on the final extra-point attempt of the game.
"We've actually been pretty consistent with our extra points," said Parker, whose team playsRichmond Academy tonight at 7:30. "We haven't been real strong at it before (this season), but we just had a couple of them blocked against Josey."
GOOD IDEAS: Jones County coach Jeff Lee has a good idea on how to compete with No. 1 Thomson at 7:30 tonight.
"You talk to the officials before the game and ask them to make it a 36-minute game instead of a 48-minute game," Lee said. "You try to make the field a little bit longer and the clock a little bit shorter."
Then Lee, whose squad made the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs last year but lost 21 seniors and 17 starters off that team, turned serious.
"Other than that," Lee said, "I don't know what else you'd do."
PLAYOFF WATCH: With four weeks left in the season, the postseason picture in some regions is starting to clear up, but only a little.
In Region 3-AAAA, Thomson, Statesboro and Baldwin - not necessarily in that order - should take the first three playoff spots, while Glenn Hills, Greenbrier, Hephzibah and Burke County have the most realistic chance of grabbing the fourth position.
In 3-AAA, Washington County, Westside, Laney and Harlem likely will make the playoffs. In 7-A, Lincoln County should easily qualify, while Aquinas needs to win its final three games to have a chance.
Reach Josh Katzowitz at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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