It's plain and simple for the Cullman Bearcats, Holly Pond Broncos and West Point Warriors next week.
A victory will extend their season into the second weekend in November.
All control their own destiny with the final Friday of October ending the regional format in the 2017 AHSAA football season.
Cullman was the one that needed to win in Week 9 or face the wrath of a 15th playoff appearance in 17 seasons with Mark Britton in command would become questionable.
The Bearcats showed plenty of heart to go with effort in overcoming a 34-21 halftime deficit to defeat Southside-Gadsden 42-40 Friday night on the road.
Mark Stephens was inserted into the role as interim coach with Britton undergoing surgery for kidney cancer that was diagnosed in late September.
Cullman was coming off a heartbreaking 19-16 loss at Pell City on October 6 in double OT that dropped them from a potential second place finish in 6A, Region 7.
By taking down Southside, the Bearcats are 3-2 and have the third seed locked up as long as they prevail next Friday at Oliver Woodard Stadium vs. the Brewer Patriots.
Holly Pond was controlled at home by the superior team from 3A, Region 6 in Fultondale 55-14. Now the Broncos must regroup with a playoff berth hanging in the balance this week when Mike Bates and his squad invade Mark Smothers Stadium to meet the Vinemont Eagles.
Vinemont was hoping to remain alive for a playoff berth, but could not slow down Susan Moore and lost 55-21. Now the Eagles can create plenty of adventure for the final week of the region standings if they outperform Holly Pond. A Bronco loss and a Susan Moore upset of J.B. Pennington would sent Susan Moore in as the fourth seed from Region 6.
The Broncos last season won a tight game from the Eagles 27-22 that enabled them to punch a playoff berth for the first time since 2011. This time they travel in trying to clinch and also seeking a second consecutive six-win season under Bates after they had lost 29 consecutive games from 2013 to Week 9 of the 2015 season.
West Point returned to the winning side on Friday by a 37-0 shutout of Good Hope. The Warriors' success in 2017 has been demonstrated by winning away from West Point Stadium.
Don Farley's squad is 4-0 in road assignments, closing out 5A, Region 6 play this week with a journey into Walker County to play Curry. The Warriors are 3-2 in the region with Curry 2-3. Corner has completed its region format, finishing 3-3 with West Point getting them in the tiebreaker by a 49-42 win on September 22.
Corner defeated Curry a couple of weeks ago with the simple task of win and a game for November 10 will be added to the schedule.
Winning all road games in one season is a great accomplishment, especially when a ball club had to put new running backs into the lineup after Cameron Moore and Alex Hernandez graduated following the 2016 season.
Hunter Persall has been nothing short of quality, rushing for 876 yards in four games covered by Sportspage so far this fall.
Word was Persall got banged up by a physical Mortimer Jordan unit the week before and ran only one time in the second half in a game the Warriors fell 41-7 to drop them into third place.
Persall went to work against Good Hope, saving his best with an 87-yard dash down the left sidelines, leaving Raider tacklers behind as he had 131 yards in the second quarter, 182 by the break and helped his team get control of the game, turning a 7-0 advantage to 24-0 at halftime.
The Warriors accomplished their first shutout since a 49-0 blanking of Hanceville in the middle of the 2015 season. West Point's defense has been good in 2017, surrendering just 34 points in four games on the road. Hamilton scored 13 against the Warriors in the opener, then West Point allowed Springville one touchdown and Fairview accounted only 14 points during their homecoming with the Warriors two weeks ago.
West Point is on the verge of its fourth consecutive winning season for Farley and being a playoff qualifier in the same process. The Warriors have been averaging at least four wins in regional play per season since 2014 and have conquered at least six opponents per schedule. The Warriors were without a winning campaign between 2009 to 2013 and have rededicated themselves by having a stout running attack and hard hitting defense in the last four years.
Holly Pond and West Point can celebrate clinching a playoff berth in 2017 by winning this week as road teams. Holly Pond is at Vinemont to end 3A, Region 6 with West Point going down to Curry for a 5A, Region 6 encounter.
Cullman has Brewer coming to campus for the finale in 6A, Region 7. The Bearcats have won three straight on the home turf after opening the season in a 31-25 setback to arch rival Hartselle.
Brewer is undefeated outside the region, but winless in five games in Region 7, now having to come from down in Florette and try and take down the emotionally driven Bearcats.
Elsewhere for Week 10;
Fairview plays at Springville, trying to avoid a winless slate in 5A, Region 6. The Aggies are 0-5 and 2-5 for the season. This will be their final road game in 2017.
Good Hope heads to Dora. The game looms large for Dora after the Bulldogs lost to Haleyville 20-14 Friday. Dora is 3-2 along with Haleyville, while Cordova has closed out region play at 3-3. Winfield is 2-3, waiting to play at Hamilton next week with Dora going from possible finishing second in the region to being knocked out of the playoff picture if the Raiders put together a solid effort and win in Walker County.
A concern for the Raiders is starting QB Bailey Quick had an apparent shoulder injury in the West Point game and RB/LB Matt Dixon left in the fourth quarter with a twisted ankle.
Cleveland comes to Cold Springs, knowing they could be the No. 1 seed in 2A, Region 7 with a win after the Panthers upset Tarrant 21-14, knocking them from the ranks of unbeaten in the region.
Cleveland is 4-1, Tarrant has finished region play at 5-1 and Falkville is 4-1 with a trip to Tanner this week. Cold Springs played hard with Tanner, but fell 28-14 when the Rattlers produced two touchdowns in the final quarter to snap an even score.
Hanceville has the week off. Bulldogs have gone through eight consecutive losses. They will conclude the season November 3 meeting Good Hope at Ray Talley Stadium.
Photo of Cullman shaking hands with Southside-Gadsden after 42-40 win Friday night.
Photo by Cullman High School.