Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Five schools earn first trip to the playoffs

Five schools may have set aside a little time this weekend for some celebration.

Arabia Mountain, Miller Grove, Ola, Walnut Grove and New Hampstead each earned their first trip to the state playoffs on the final week of the regular season.

Miller Grove (4-6) beat Chamblee 33-0 and claimed the final playoff spot in Region 5. The DeKalb County school has been playing football since 2005 and always been on the cusp of making the playoffs. Miller Grove earned a date at No. 4 Rome in the first round.

New Hampstead (3-6-1) lost its season finale 49-14 to Wayne County and will be the No. 3 seed from Region 2. The Savannah team went 7-3 last year and missed the playoffs. New Hampstead opens the playoffs at No. 9  Woodland in Stockbridge.

Ola (6-4) won four of its final five games and beat Hampton 41-0 on the final week of the season. The Henry County team has been playing football since 2006 and finished over .500 for the first time to earn the No. 4 seed from Region 4. The Mustangs will travel to No. 6 Ware County in the first round.

Walnut Grove (4-6) beat Cedar Shoals 25-18 on the final week to secure the No. 4 playoff spot in Region 8. The Walton County school has been competing since 2009. The Warriors will play at No. 7 Grady in the first round.

Arabia Mountain clinched its first playoff spot and its first region championship two weeks ago. The DeKalb County school has been in existence since 2009. The Rams won Region 5 and will open the playoffs at home against Villa Rica.

All the region championships were finalized and there were no real surprises on the final night of the regular season. No ranked teams lost, there were no upsets and the playoff brackets have been determined.

How the regions finished:

Region 1: Thomas County Central secured first place with a 47-27 win over Harris County. Bainbridge beat Warner Robins to take second place, leaving Veterans as the fourth seed.

Region 2: Ware County beat New Hampstead 49-14 to nail down first place and drop the Phoenix to No. 3. Wayne County earned the second seed with a 49-14 win over Statesboro, which finished 0-10 for the first time in school history. South Effingham is No. 4,

Region 3: Starr’s Mill, Griffin and Whitewater each won their finale to create a three-way time. Starr’s Mill won the tiebreaker and the No. 1 seed, while Griffin got the No. 2 seed. Riverdale, which lost its final three games, garnered the final spot.

Region 4: Mighty Stockbridge rolled to a 45-7 win over Union Grove to complete its second straight unbeaten regular season and third region championship. Woodland, Jones County and Ola round out the top four. Ola will be making its first playoff appearance.

Region 5: Arabia Mountain meets Lithonia on Saturday, but the Rams had already clinched the top seed. Southwest DeKalb is No. 2, Lithonia No. 3 and Miller Grove is No. 4. Miller Grove will be making the playoffs for the first time.

Region 6: Grady had already won the region title but the Gray Knights beat Banneker 20-14 and knocked the Trojans out of the playoffs. Carver, Riverwood and North Springs earned the other three spots.

Region 7: The SEC of Class AAAAA ended with Rome, Carrollton and Kell all winning their final game and finishing in a three-way tie for first. Rome won the tiebreaker and will be the No. 1 seed. The worst luck belongs to Carrollton, which ended up in the portion of the bracket with Buford. Villa Rica is fourth.

Region 8: Buford had already won the region championship. Loganville and Clarke Central were already in. The final playoff spot went to Walnut Grove, which beat Cedar Shoals 25-18 to secure the school’s first postseason appearance.



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