Region play is finally under way in all eight Class AAAAAA regions with just four weekends remaining in the regular season.
Coffee of 1-AAAAAA and Richmond Hill of 2-AAAAAA are the final teams that have not played a league game, and that will end this week.
Here are six games on Friday that will have a direct bearing on which teams are in first place heading down the stretch.
*Brunswick at Glynn Academy: The winner of this matchup between city rivals will be alone in first place in 2-AAAAAA with two region games remaining. Glynn Academy is the defending region champion, while Brunswick is trying to return to the playoffs after a two-year absence. Brunswick leads the series 37-34-2, but Glynn Academy has won the past three meetings, including 35-28 last year.
*Evans at Grovetown: Grovetown started the season 1-3 but has won three consecutive games, including region victories against Alcovy and Heritage-Conyers to sit alone atop the Region 3 standings. Evans is 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the region after beating Alcovy last weekend. Evans beat Grovetown 26-24 last year in a game that essentially determined the region’s No. 2 and No. 3 seeds.
*Gainesville at Dacula: Defending Region 8 champion Dacula was 1-4 in non-region play but opened its region schedule with a 49-13 win over Apalachee last week. Gainesville, the third-place team in 2016, also started 1-4 but beat Habersham Central 30-27 in its region opener. The winner of this game will be tied for first place with seventh-ranked Winder-Barrow (2-0), which is idle this week.
*Northside-Warner Robins at Lee County: Northside and Lee County went 2-2 in Region 1 games last year, finishing two games behind Valdosta. Both teams won their region openers this season, and the winner of this battle between top-five teams will be in sole possession of first place with two games remaining. No. 6 Coffee will play its first region game, at Houston County, this week.
*Sequoyah at Dalton: Both teams made the playoffs in 2016 – Dalton as the Region 6 champion and Sequoyah as the No. 4 seed – and were seen as likely to return this year. Now they are both 3-0 in the region and tied with Harrison for first place. If Harrison beats South Cobb on Friday, the Hoyas will be tied with the Dalton-Sequoyah winner. Harrison meets both teams in the next two weeks.
*Tucker at Lovejoy: These were the top two teams in Region 4 last year, with Tucker earning the region title thanks to a 29-26 victory over the Wildcats. Lovejoy (3-1 in the region) already lost to Stephenson in region play, so the Wildcats must beat Tucker to have any shot at sharing the title. A victory by Tucker (3-0) likely sets up region-title showdown with Stephenson (3-0) on Nov. 3.
*Worth noting: Georgia High School Football Daily has more complete previews of some of this weekend’s top games involving Class AAAAAA teams. Click here to read more about Northside-Lee County and Brunswick-Glynn Academy.