The 2016 regular season closed on Friday with three AA games determining a region champion. And the three winners were: No. 2 Fitzgerald over No. 10 Thomasville 33-20 in Region 1, No. 7 Screven County over No. 3 Jefferson County 49-34 in Region 4; No. 8 Pepperell over Chattooga 35-10 in Region 7.
We'll start with the Thomasville Bulldogs (5-4, 4-1 Region 1) at Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane (9-1, 5-0) game. For the Bulldogs, their quest to pull off one of the most improbable feats of the season came up short. In fact, the Purple Hurricane were on their way to a blowout win, up 20-0 before Thomasville made a run that made the game look respectable, at least from a scoreboard standpoint. The Bulldogs were pegged by Maxwell Projections as a 22-point underdogs.
For the Purple Hurricane, they're on a mission to complete a championship run that fell just one game short a year ago. Most of last year's runner-up core remains in tact for the Purple Hurricane, and with last year's AA championship, Pace Academy, now in a higher classification, they'll head into the playoffs as one of the favorites to win it all.
(For more on the Thomasville-Fitzgerald game, see Clint Thompson's game story for the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.)
In Region 4, the Screven County Gamecocks (9-1, 7-0) delivered one of the week's biggest upsets by winning at the Jefferson County Warriors (9-1, 6-1). It was an upset in the sense that the Warriors were a 21-point favorite according to Maxwell Projections, but the Gamecocks' stellar play all season places their win in a much more realistic context. They're now on a nine-game win streak heading into the playoffs and closed the regular season by snatching the region title from Jefferson County and ending the Warriors' bid for their first undefeated season since 2009.
In Region 7, the Chattooga Indians (6-4, 5-2) fell to Pepperell Dragons (8-1, 7-0), giving the Dragons their first region title since 2006. The Dragons are on a seven-game win streak and all victories came over league opponents, which they dominated all season long by outscoring 314-51.
(For more on the Chattooga-Pepperell game, see Tommy Romanach's write-up for Northwest Georgia News.)
Along with Thomasville and Jefferson County is another top 10 team that lost: the No. 9 Washington County Golden Hawks, who fell to Dublin 27-26. The Golden Hawks had already locked up a Region 3 title, so the loss is of no consequence other than it's probably better to enter the postseason on a winning note.
Here’s how the rest of the top 10 fared:
- No. 1 Benedictine moved to 10-0 as it beat Jeff Davis 48-7.
- No. 4 Callaway beat Jordan 42-12 and and are 10-0.
- No. 5 Rabun County finished 9-0 with a 55-14 win over Monticello. It was the Wildcats' first-ever undefeated regular season finish.
- No. 6 Vidalia finishes 8-2 after beating Bryan County 40-17.
Be sure to check in on Tuesday for the AA playoff predictions.
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