November 4, 2009 2:21:00 PM
Adam Minichino - email@example.com
Central Academy, Veritas, and Calvary Christian decided to Monday to settle things on the field.
Tied atop Mississippi Association of Independent Schools eight-man District I standings with 4-1 records, the teams had planned to use a coin flip Monday to decide the two teams that would advance to the playoffs.
But the teams instead will play a three-way tiebreaker at 5 p.m. today at East Central Community College to decide which teams will represent the district in the playoffs.
Veritas (6-4) and Calvary Christian (8-1) will play each other at 5 p.m., followed by Calvary Christian against Central Academy (6-2). Veritas then will play Central Academy.
The teams will begin each possession at the opponents'' 10-yard line. If the first team scores, the other team will have to equal that score to keep the game going.
Each of the three games will follow that format to determine the top two teams. If needed, a scoring tiebreaker from the games played Tuesday will be used.
Central Academy defeated Calvary Christian 42-20 on Sept. 21 in Macon. It beat Veritas 32-18 earlier in the season but then lost to Veritas 68-26 on Oct. 23 in Macon. That game counted in the District standings.
Central Academy coach Ronnie Sciple said the teams "chickened out" when it came to deciding the playoff teams by a coin toss. He much prefers the new format that will determine the playoff teams on the field.
"I am for it 100 percent," Sciple said. "I feel it is a whole lot better to be decided amongst the kids rather than the flip of a coin by a coach. I know it puts us a couple days behind preparing for the other team we''re going to face in the playoffs, and it puts them behind who they''re going to prepare for."
Sciple said representatives from all three teams gathered Monday morning at the MAIS office in Jackson. He said MAIS officials suggested the idea of using an overtime format to determine the playoff teams. The coaches then agreed that would be a better situation.
The decision didn''t give the teams a lot of time to prepare for today''s action. Sciple didn''t get back to Macon until after 3 p.m. Monday. He then had to tell his players of the decision and then help prepare them to face a pass-happy Calvary Christian team and a run-focused Veritas squad.
"We faced Calvary once and faced them last year and they do the same thing," Sciple said. "We went back to the defense we played the first time we played them and got it straightened out.
"We played Veritas twice and once we kept them in check and the other game they ran all through us. We''ll have to see if we''re ready to play or if we go through the motions. We don''t have time to regroup at halftime and try to do better. We have to be right when get there."
Central Academy will be without senior Hunter Campbell, who injured his hip in the Calvary Christian game. Sciple also said Jay Jones, who plays in the secondary and saw key action in the Calvary Christian game, is out with a broken leg. He said other players will have to emerge if the Vikings are going to continue their season.
"I think practice went pretty well (Monday), and I think they will respond good," Sciple said. "There is a lot of pressure on them. But I think having to get 10 yards works in our favor, too. We''re more of a running team and we have a big offensive line. I think it helps us. I may be wrong, but I think it will."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.