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Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Early peek at the region-by-region playoff picture

Now that all teams have played three or four games, fans can take a look at their regions to determine if their school might be in the playoff picture.

Here’s a region-by-region analysis, based on the first month of the season.

Region 1: Warner Robins, thanks largely to the addition of the Fromm Brothers, has already beaten Northside and Peach County and will be the team to beat. Bainbridge has bounced back after losing the season opener to Class AAAAAA No. 2 Lee County and scored two straight impressive wins. Veterans may be the most improved team in the five-team league and could produce its first winning season since 2013.

Region 2: Ware County has the toughest schedule; the Gators have games remaining with Northside and Lowndes. Wayne County has already beaten Valdosta and had its game with Brunswick rained out. Looks like their Oct. 27 meeting in Jessup may determine the region champion.

Region 3: Griffin and Starr’s Mill are both ranked in the top 10. If that form holds, the region will be decided when they play on Sept. 29 at Starr’s Mill. McIntosh (4-0) and Morrow (3-1) have thrust themselves in the playoff conversation but will have to prove it by beating a contender; McIntosh plays Starr’s Mill on Oct. 13 and Morrow plays Starr’s Mill on Sept. 22. Perennial playoff team Whitewater is likely to be in the mx and Fayette County is looking to return to postseason after missing last year.

Region 4: State-ranked Jones County and Stockbridge appear to be the class of a very good league. They play on Oct. 27 in Gray in a game that could determine the region title. Dutchtown has an excellent defense and looks like the third-best team. That leaves some pretty decent teams to fight for the final spot: Locust Grove, despite getting smoked by Jones County; Eagle’s Landing, which has some firepower; and Woodland, although the Wolfpack is in a hole after an unexpected loss to Hampton.

Region 5: Arabia Mountain won the league a year ago and appears to be the favorite again, despite a 9-0 loss at Class AAAAAA Dacula. It may come down to the Oct. 27 meeting against Southwest DeKalb, which has had an inconsistent season. The rest of the tea leaves are hard to read, as Miller Grove, Lithonia, Columbia and Chamblee have been inconsistent.

Region 6: Banneker has rushed to the forefront with a 3-0 start and an impressive non-region win over Whitewater. The Trojans will get a test this week from Riverwood (1-2), which played a difficult schedule. Despite a surprising loss at Alexander, Carver has too much talent to miss the playoffs. That leaves Decatur, Grady and Jackson in the picture for the final spot.

Region 7:  The best league in the state includes reigning champion Rome, Carrollton and Kell – all Top 10 teams. That leaves a group of very similar teams fighting for the final spot: Hiram, Villa Rica, East Paulding and Paulding County. Head-to-head will be very important for those four clubs.

Region 8: Buford is again the class of the league, but the other three spots are very much in play. Clarke Central was second a year ago and may be headed that way again, if it can knock off rival Cedar Shoals on Sept. 22. The Jags are trying to return to the postseason after missing a year, as is Flowery Branch, under first-year coach Ben Hall. The wild card is Loganville, which was ranked 10th in the preseason poll but has lost its first three games.






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