IN THIS CORNER

Last week’s headline to this column read “Huge win by West on Monday sets up a doozy of a scenario.”

Swansboro may have squashed that doozy of a scenario last Friday.

Many county football fans hoped to see a conference championship on the line in the regular season finale next week when West Carteret travels to Croatan.

The scenario required Croatan to defeat Swansboro last week.

Croatan, however, fell 42-38 in a barnburner to the Pirates, and that created a mess, or exciting drama, depending on how you look at it.

Talk about exciting drama … had Croatan defeated Swansboro, and Swansboro turned around this week and beat West, with White Oak beating Richlands, and Croatan beating Dixon this week, we would have entered the final week of the regular season with West, Croatan, Swansboro and White Oak each sporting 3-1 league marks. And West would have visited Croatan and White Oak would have traveled to Swansboro in the final week to produce two quasi-conference championship games.

But, alas, we’re left with other things to ponder.

The Cougars are now 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the 3A Coastal Conference. They seem to be completely out of the mix with two games to go and two checks in the loss column.

Of course, Croatan could also conceivably beat Dixon (1-5, 0-3) and West and still finish with two checks in the loss column at 3-2.

The Patriots (5-2, 3-0) could also finish 3-2 in the league with back-to-back losses to Swansboro and Croatan.

The Pirates (4-3, 3-0) also face a scenario where they finish 3-2 in the league with losses to West and White Oak (6-2, 2-1).

White Oak could beat Richlands (0-6, 0-3) this Friday and then lose to Swansboro in the regular season finale to create a scenario where it finishes at 3-2 in the league.

Of course, not all of those of teams are finishing with two losses in conference play. Each has its own scenario to end up there, though.

My gut says West wins out and finishes 5-0 in the league to capture its first conference championship in 57 years with an unblemished mark.

But I overlooked Swansboro last week, so dare I do it again this week?

And while Croatan has been decimated by injuries, the following week against West would present an intense county matchup, and they say you throw out the records in rivalry games.

Perhaps the scenario is Swansboro beating both West and White Oak to win out and earn a conference championship with an unbeaten mark.

Like West, the Pirates have won just one league title in their history, although theirs didn’t come 57 years ago.

Swansboro captured its lone championship crown in 1988 with … Croatan tennis coach Jim Sheehan coaching the team and Croatan girls golf coach and East Carteret School Resource Officer (SRO) Fred Meadows playing quarterback.

Let’s say Swansboro goes 5-0 in this scenario, West beats Croatan to finish 4-1, White Oak goes 3-2 with a win over Richlands and a loss to Swansboro, and Croatan goes 2-3 with a win over Dixon and a loss to West.

But who the heck knows?

The only thing I’m certain of in this conference anymore is that I’m certain of nothing anymore in this conference.

I do know this: the winner of the West-Swansboro matchup is guaranteed at least a share of the league title, so either one team is getting its first conference championship since 1964, or one is getting its first since 1988.

The final week of the regular season featuring White Oak at Swansboro and West at Croatan will determine if its shared, or not.

(Send comments or questions to jj@thenewstimes.com or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)

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