Eufaula’s football team is back in a familiar spot — in the playoffs.
The Tigers maintained the longest playoff streak of Dothan Eagle coverage teams, earning their 22nd straight postseason appearance by finishing second in Class 6A, Region 2.
The Tigers host Blount on Friday night in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
The last time the Tigers didn’t make the playoffs was in 1997. The streak is the eighth longest active streak in the state. Luverne, with 37 straight appearances, has the longest streak in the state.
The second longest active streak in the Dothan Eagle coverage area belongs to Elba with 13 straight, followed by Goshen with 12 and Charles Henderson with 10.
All three plus Eufaula will have participated in the playoffs this entire decade. Elba last missed the playoffs in 2006, Goshen last missed in 2007 and CHHS in 2009.
Other playoff streaks that continued are Pike County (7), Daleville (6), Ariton (5), New Brockton (5), Abbeville (4), Lakeside School (4), Providence Christian (3) and Northside Methodist (2).
Long droughts over: Zion Chapel, Rehobeth and Geneva are ending lengthy state playoff droughts with a berth this season.
Zion Chapel is snapping seven years without a playoff appearance back to a 2011 playoff game, while Rehobeth and Geneva are ending four years not in the playoffs back to 2014 appearances.
Teams back in the playoffs after missing two years are Enterprise, Opp and G.W. Long. Two teams — Dale County and Abbeville Christian — are back in after missing last season.
The drought continues: The longest playoff drought in the coverage area now belongs to Barbour County at six years. The Jaguars, who have lost 60 straight games, last made the playoffs in 2013, ironically the last year they won a game.
Ashford and Cottonwood extended playoff droughts to five straight years, last making postseason in 2014. Kinston now has a four-year playoff absence to 2015 and Carroll, Slocomb, Houston County and Samson have two-year droughts to 2017.
Streaks snapped: Wicksburg, Pike Liberal Arts and Geneva County had multiple-year playoff streaks come to an end. Wicksburg had a four-year playoff tenure end, while Pike Liberal Arts had three straight appearances and Geneva County two consecutive playoffs.
Other teams that made the playoffs last year that failed to make it this year are Headland and Houston Academy.
Rare home playoff game: Rehobeth’s nine-year-old, on-campus stadium has never seen a state playoff game and the program itself hasn’t a home one in more than a decade.
That will change Friday.
For the first time since 2005 when the Rebels played at W.F. Andrews Field behind the current middle school, a playoff game comes to Rehobeth.
That was also the last time the Rebels won a state playoff game and in an interesting twist, the opponent that night 14 years ago — the same as this week’s opponent, Jackson. Rehobeth edged the Aggies 21-20 in that 2005 opening-round playoff tilt.
Dothan’s Rip Hewes Stadium, meanwhile, hasn’t seen many playoff games at its site in the last 20 years, but will see its first one since 2015 when the first-year Dothan Wolves host Spanish Fort. The former Dothan Tigers hosted Northridge in the game five seasons ago, falling 48-21.
The Tigers also hosted in 2014 against Oxford and Houston Academy moved a game against Flomaton to the stadium in 2008.
Prior to that, the stadium had a drought back to 1999 when the Northview Cougars played and lost to McGill-Toolen in the playoffs.
Georgia play: While teams in Alabama open the state playoffs, the Dothan Eagle’s two Georgia teams — Early County and Seminole County — have one final week of regular-season play.
Both play a region game. Early County, which earned a state playoff berth last week, plays Thomasville in Region 1-AA action, while Seminole County hosts Miller County in Region 1-A play.
Unbeaten at home: Dothan and Rehobeth hope the friendly confines of home continued to be just that — friendly.
Both programs along with Pike County finished the regular season undefeated in home games.
Dothan won all five of its games at Rip Hewes Stadium, while Rehobeth won all six of its games at home.
It’s the first time since 1997 that a Dothan team finished regular-season unbeaten at home. That year, the Dothan Tigers went 5-0 during the regular season before losing a second-round playoff game at home. The next year, Dothan won all of its regular-season games on the field at home, but later had to forfeit those wins.
Rehobeth finished unbeaten at its current stadium for the first time and at home in any facility overall since 1993.
Pike County, meanwhile, finished the regular season 5-0 at home. The Bulldogs finished 6-0 at home (including playoffs) in 2015.
Ranked teams entering postseason: The Dothan Eagle coverage area has only two teams ranked going into the postseason.
Those teams are Pike County at No. 2 and Providence Christian at No. 8, both in Class 3A. A year ago, Pike County dropped out of the rankings in the final poll, while PCS entered the postseason at No. 10.
Dothan nearly moved into the poll this week, but missed by three points from jumping in. The Wolves (8-2) are the first team in the other receiving votes in Class 6A. Eufaula is right behind Dothan. Ariton in Class 2A and Elba in Class 1A also received votes this week, but are not in the top 10.
A year ago, the coverage area had four ranked teams entering postseason. In addition to Providence Christian, Headland (No. 10, 4A), Abbeville (No. 6, 2A) and Elba (No. 10, 1A) were ranked.
Facing ranked teams: Nine area teams open the postseason against a ranked team, including two facing a No. 1 ranked club.
The two facing No. 1 teams are Enterprise in 7A against McGill-Toolen and Dale County in 4A against UMS-Wright.
Other teams playing ranked foes are Eufaula in Class 6A (No. 8 Blount), Charles Henderson in 5A (No. 8 Faith Academy), Opp in Class 3A (No. 4 Flomaton), Zion Chapel (No. 6 Reeltown) and Daleville (No. 8 Leroy) in Class 2A along with AISA teams Northside Methodist (No. 7 Tuscaloosa Academy) and Abbeville Christian (No. 8 Southern Academy).
Biggest turnarounds in state: Two Wiregrass teams earned the distinction of having the biggest turnaround in the state from last year.
Those teams are Rehobeth and G.W. Long. Rehobeth had a seven-win difference from last year’s 0-10 record to its current 7-2 mark. G.W. Long had a six-win surge from 2-7 to 8-2.
Big drop: Pike Liberal Arts had one of the biggest drops in record from last year to this year, falling by seven wins from 10-2 to 3-7. North Jackson had the biggest drop in the state from 10-0 to 2-8. Jackson-Olin, St. Luke’s and Weaver, like Pike Liberal Arts, dropped seven wins from their 2018 record.
Double record: Geneva County set two school scoring records — the most points scored and most points allowed during a season.
The Bulldogs scored 447 points, surpassing their previous school best of 413 in 1992. However, they also allowed their most points in a season with 405, moving past the previous high of 386 in 2002.
Dubious school records: Barbour County, Ashford and Houston County all set a school record for most points allowed in a season.
Barbour County allowed 660 points, which is also a state record by a team. The Jaguars gave up 54 or more points in all 10 games.
Ashford allowed 389 points, surpassing the previous most allowed of 338 in 1969. Houston County allowed 478, moving past 451 allowed in 2015.
Unbeaten and winless: Only one Dothan Eagle coverage team finished the regular-season unbeaten and only one finished winless.
Pike County (10-0) was the unbeaten, while Barbour County (0-10) was the winless.