Tri-County 3A Playoff Possibilities Heading Into Final Week

Article updated November 3rd

The Tri-County 3A Conference is entering its final week of the regular season and it appears that the playoffs are focused on three teams that seem destined to have post-season play. With one game remaining, Lee County sits in the drivers seat, with Union Pines and Southern Lee on the bus headed to the playoffs. The Tri-County 3A will receive two automatic spots in the playoffs with the possibility of more if teams finish with a ranking that is high enough to get into the 64-team playoff field.   Teams that play 11 games must drop a non-conference game to get a 10-game record for the playoffs.  Most playoff projections from the area experts have shown three Tri-County teams in postseason and that seems to be accurate as we get closer to the end of the regular season.    This Friday will settle it all and we will know everyone’s final fate by this coming Saturday. Below is a look at each team, playoff possibilities and WFJA’s prediction of who will get in.

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Lee County – (10-0, 4-0) – Ranked #9 in the MaxPreps State 3A Poll

Game Remaining: Nov 8 vs. Southern Lee

Best case – The Yellow Jackets beat Southern Lee and finish 11-0 and take a 10-0 record to the playoffs as the #1 seed from the Tri-County 3A.    Schedule strength will ultimately determine the Jackets state seeding, but Lee County will see home games in the playoffs should they win Friday night. Lee County currently is the #1 seed in the 3AA East and should they finish 11-0, Lee County could be home for the entire playoffs should they keep winning.

Worst Case – Lee County loses the Brick City Bowl and finishes in a tie for 1st at 4-1 with Southern Lee and Union Pines. This scenario could involve a draw to determine the 1, 2, and 3 seeds and anything could happen here. Lee County could go from #1 to #3 seed and that could significantly affect Lee County’s state seeding. Either way, Lee County is in the playoffs regardless of this Friday night.

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Southern Lee – (6-3, 3-1) – Ranked #49 in the MaxPreps State 3A Poll

Games Remaining: Nov 8 – @ Lee County

Best Case – Southern Lee could win the Brick City Bowl and finish 4-1 and go anywhere from a #1 to a #3 seed depending on what Union Pines does.    With a win this Friday, the Cavaliers could be in a draw for a #1, #2, or #3 seed. Southern Lee will go to the 3A Playoffs.

Worst Case – Losing to Lee County this Friday will put the Cavaliers at 3-2 in conference play and send the Cavaliers to the 3A Playoffs as the #3 team from the Tri-County 3A. With their current ranking of #49 in the 3A rankings, the Cavaliers should be in regardless of what they do this Friday.

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Union Pines – (7-3, 3-1) – Ranked #52 in the MaxPreps State 3A Poll

Games Remaining: Nov 8 – vs. Western Harnett

Best Case – The Vikings have Western Harnett at home this Friday and look to finish the regular season on a high note and host a 1st round playoff game. If the Vikings win this Friday, and Lee County beats Southern Lee, Union Pines will go to the 3AA playoffs as the #2 seed from the Tri-County 3A.

Worst Case – Should Southern Lee win at Lee County, the Vikings will end up in a 3-way tie for 1st and the draw will determine the Vikings final seeding. Either way, the Vikings 3A ranking of #52 and 8 wins will have Union Pines in the playoffs for the 1st time in years and possibly hosting a 1st round game.

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Harnett Central – (5-5, 1-3) – Ranked #85 in the MaxPreps State 3A Poll

Games Remaining – Nov 8 – vs. Triton

Best Case – Harnett Central could beat Triton at home this Friday and finish at 2-3 in conference play and 6-5 for the season. This is an improvement over the last few years for the Trojans but won’t be enough to make the playoffs. Harnett Central is currently ranked #85 amongst 3A teams and their ranking won’t help their case. Even with a win at Triton, the Trojans will be out of the playoffs.

Worst Case – Losing to Triton will finish the Trojans at 5-6, 1-4.  

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Triton – (3-7, 1-3) – Ranked #73 in the MaxPreps State 3A Poll

Games Remaining – Nov 8 – @ Harnett Central

Best Case – A win against Harnett Central will mean a 4-7, 2-3 final record and most likely the Hawk season will be done. Triton is currently ranked 73rd in the 3A ranks and a victory over the Trojans most likely won’t be enough to get their ranking into the 50s or lower 60s, which is what it will take to make post-season as an at-large team.

Worst Case – Losing to the Trojans will certainly end the Hawk season.

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Western Harnett – (2-8, 0-4) – ranked #106 in the MaxPreps State 3A Poll

Games Remaining – Nov 8 – @ Union Pines

Best Case – The Eagles best case finish is 1-4 if they can upset Union Pines on the road and that won’t be enough.   It has been a tough year for the Eagles after a 2-0 start in non-conference play but right now playing to get better for next year is where they are.

Worst Case – Western could finish at 2-9, 0-5 and will be out of the playoffs.