When it comes to deciding who makes the playoffs, tie-breakers can provide both relief and heartbreak.
Vancleave (4-7, 2-3) yet again found a way to get into the postseason thanks to its 31-28 upset win over East Central on Friday.
Despite beating Vancleave 43-14 the week prior, Pass Christian (5-5, 2-3) is the odd team out in Region 8-4A after a 42-20 loss to St. Stanislaus Friday. It was a heart-breaking development for the Pirates, who were seeking their first playoff bid since 2003.
Vancleave, Moss Point and Pass Christian all tied for third in 8-4A, but only four teams can reach the postseason. All three teams went 1-1 against each other this season, making the first tie-breaker of head-to-head competition irrelevant.
The second tie-breaker involves the three teams' records against the top teams in the region. St. Stanislaus (7-3, 5-0) earned the No. 1 seed and East Central (6-4, 3-2) came in second.
With Friday's win, Vancleave became the only team of the three with a win over a squad in the top two.
That gave the Bulldogs the No. 3 seed in the region.
Moss Point (5-5, 2-3) beat Pass Christian 19-0, giving the Tigers the fourth seed.
Moss Point will travel to West Lauderdale Friday in the first round of the playoffs and Vancleave will go to Mendenhall. East Central will host Northeast Jones and Quitman will be at St. Stanislaus.
The upcoming week will decide the final playoff spots in Class 5A and Class 6A.
Pearl River Central and Pascagoula are already guaranteed first-round home playoff games in 4-5A while Picayune will be going on the road.
Gautier (5-5, 3-3) is still alive for the final playoff spot in 4-5A, but it needs to beat Pascagoula Friday and hope Hattiesburg (7-4, 3-3) loses at Stone.
In 4-6A, Harrison Central (5-6, 4-2) is in a position where it can only guarantee itself a spot in the playoffs with a win Friday against Ocean Springs. The same can be said for St. Martin (9-2, 4-2) and D'Iberville (5-6, 3-3), who play each other in a big rivalry contest Friday.
All three teams are hoping the tie-breakers that caught up with Pass Christian don't come into play this week.
Gulfport (8-2, 6-0) is sitting pretty after its 24-7 win over Ocean Springs Friday night to claim the 4-6A title. The Admirals are a very different team than one that lost 31-14 at Petal in week two.
Ocean Springs is in the playoffs, but it will need to beat Harrison Central Friday to earn the No. 2 seed and a home game in the first round of the playoffs. If the Red Rebels win, they will be playing in Lyman in the first round.
Regardless of the outcome Friday, Ocean Springs is still a team capable of making a run in the postseason.
Contact Patrick Magee at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter@Patrick_Magee.