The fine print of playoff tiebreakers can be messy in high school football. Ask Northgate.
It was a bummer last season when the Vikings’ football victory over Hughes at Henry Seldon Field, one that produced a jubilant postgame celebration while battling among three teams in Region 5-6A, turned out to be not enough to vault them into the postseason despite a 6-4 overall record.
That won’t be the case, however, following this year’s 10-7 win.
Northgate clinched a berth in the upcoming Class 6A state playoffs on Friday in Fairburn after beating the Panthers at their own game.
Namely playing tip-top defensively in a key region win where points were at a premium.
Northgate turned in a performance that included five interceptions, four of them by senior Chandler Cao, in a game where all 17 combined points were scored before halftime.
“It was good to win a tough close one like that,” said Vikings head coach Mike McDonald. “I knew these last two [games] would be tough, so it was good to get that Northgate (6-3, 5-2), which matched last year’s win total in McDonald’s first season at the school, can now concentrate on a trip to Mays next Friday to close the schedule without having to worry about clinching.
The two teams, both now 5-2 in the 5-6A standings, need wins to finish no worse than third.
The Vikings, who earned their third straight region win, have a chance to be seeded as high as second, but those odds took a hit when Creekside knocked off defending region champion Douglas County 24-23.
The Seminoles, who went winless a year ago, have reclaimed some of their swagger with four straight region wins, but only after Northgate earned a 35-33 victory on Sep. 14 in the Vikings’ first game on home turf.