Kingston ends SHS’s playoff hopes

Zack Sexton celebrates his fumble recovery for a touchdown with teammates Brandon Carson and Nick Lay during the second quarter of Scott High's 21-0 win at Northview Academy in Sevierville, Tenn. on Friday, October 12, 2018 | LeEtta Boyatt/IH

Three weeks ago, Kingston left Scott High’s playoff chances on life support by staging a fourth quarter comeback and handing the Highlanders a gut-wrenching defeat in Huntsville after scoring a touchdown in the final minute.

Last week, the Yellow Jackets ended those playoff hopes entirely with a 35-21 win at Pigeon Forge.

The Highlanders had done their job, stunning Northview Academy with a 21-0 win in Sevierville one week earlier, but could only watch on Friday as Kingston took care of its business against the Tigers.

Earlier in the night, Austin-East did its part to help the Highlanders’ postseason chances, drilling Northview Academy 52-10. But despite grabbing an early lead, Pigeon Forge was not able to hang on against Kingston.

The Tigers had already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, making Friday’s regular season finale at Highlander Stadium more about pride than anything else. 

Meanwhile, Kingston’s win over Pigeon Forge means nothing to the Yellow Jackets if they aren’t able to stage an upset win over Gatlinburg-Pittman this week. A win over the Highlanders would give the Yellow Jackets the third region win they need to get to the playoffs. Otherwise, Northview Academy will take Region 2-3A’s fourth and final playoff spot. Kingston is actually a half-game ahead of Northview entering this week’s action, but Northview has the head-to-head tiebreaker, by virtue of its earlier win over the Yellow Jackets.

Another critical game this week finds Alcoa and Austin-East squaring off. The winner will be the No. 1 playoff seed from Region 2-3A, while the loser will be the No. 2 seed. Gatlinburg will be the No. 3 seed, unless the Highlanders lose to Kingston, in which case the Yellow Jackets will be the No. 3 seed while G-P finishes as the No. 4 seed.

In Region 1-3A, Johnson County and Unicoi County will be the top two seeds, with a game between the two this week determining which is No. 1 and which is No. 2. Chuckey-Doak will be the No. 3 seed and can hand Claiborne the No. 4 seed with a win over West Greene this week. However, if West Greene defeats Chuckey-Doak, the Buffaloes will slip in as the No. 4 seed by way of the tiebreaker, and Claiborne will be eliminated from postseason contention.

In Class 2A, Meigs County and Oneida are the top two seeds in Region 2, with the Tigers hosting Sullivan North and the Indians likely hosting Happy Valley in the first round. The Warriors bounced Oneida from the postseason last year, handing the Indians their first shutout in a decade.

The only thing that can prevent Happy Valley from traveling to Oneida next week is if Cosby beats Hampton this week — an unlikely prospect. 

At the top of Region 1-2A, South Greene awaits this week’s matchup with Rockwood and Cumberland Gap to see which team it will face in the first round of the playoffs. If Rockwood wins, as expected, Wartburg will travel to South Greene. If Cumberland Gap were to spring an upset, it would be Rockwood traveling to South Greene, with the Panthers taking the No. 3 seed in Region 2.

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