Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Let the playoffs begin ... Who’s in? Who's out?

The final three region championships were settled on the final week of the regular season and the playoff pairings have been determined. There are 32 teams advancing to postseason. It took 10 games to eliminate 24 teams (Clarkston and Cross Keys don’t count because they played non-region schedules.)

The remaining titles were claimed by Warner Robins (Region 1), Buford (Region 8) and Starr’s Mill (Region 3). Warner Robins and Buford won their titles with head-to-head battles on Friday. Starr’s Mill won its finale and prevailed in a three-way tiebreaker over Whitewater and Griffin based on point differential.

When the playoffs begin this week, there will be one team with one victory (South Effingham), two teams with losing records and five teams with a .500 or worse record.

No team will be making its first trip to the playoffs. Paulding County is going to the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Here’s the list of each region’s playoff participants.

Region 1: Warner Robins, Bainbridge, Harris County, Thomas County Central.

No. 4 Warner Robins (10-0) whipped Bainbridge 35-6 to win its first region championship since 2013. Dylan Fromm threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns for Warner Robins. Bainbridge running back Dameon Pierce, a Florida commitment, rushed 26 times for 121 yards and one touchdown. Read Mike Lough’s game story here. It was the first 10-0 season for the Demons since 2000. They will open the playoffs against South Effingham.

Region 2: Wayne County, Ware County, New Hampstead, Effingham County

No. 7 Wayne County completed an 8-1 season with a 44-14 win over Statesboro. Wayne County rolled up 560 yards as quarterback Garrett Overholt threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets open the playoffs against Thomas County Central.

Region 3: Starr’s Mill, Whitewater, Griffin, McIntosh

No. 8 Starr’s Mill won the three-way tiebreaker to earn the region title. The Panthers closed the season with a 44-13 win over Fayette County and will play Dutchtown in the opening round of the playoffs.

Region 4: Stockbridge, Jones County, Eagle’s Landing, Dutchtown

No. 3-ranked Stockbridge (10-) completed its third straight unbeaten season with a 42-9 win over Union Grove. DeVeonne Quinn scored two touchdowns to lead the Tigers, who haven’t lost a regular-season game since Sept. 26, 2014. Stockbridge will meet McIntosh in the first round.

Region 5: Arabia Mountain, Southwest DeKalb, Miller Grove, Columbia

Arabia Mountain (8-2) had already sewn up first place. Southwest DeKalb nailed down second by beating Columbia. Miller Grove took third on a tiebreaker (winning percentage against AAAAA competition) and Columbia got the final spot based on its win over Lithonia.

Region 6: Carver, Jackson, Banneker, North Springs

Carver and Jackson had already clinched the first two spots. Banneker beat Grady to take third place and knock the Grey Knights out of the playoffs. North Springs beat Lithia Springs, leaving the Spartans tied for fourth with Decatur. North Springs won the tiebreaker based on its regular-season win over the Bulldogs.

Region 7: Rome, Carrollton, Kell, Paulding County

The defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Rome Wolves whacked Woodland 62-0 and extended their winning streak to 22 games. Quarterback Knox Kadum threw three touchdown passes and Jamious Griffin and Jalynn Sikes each ran for scores. Rome had 353 total yards. Rome opens the playoffs against Cedar Shoals.

Paulding County earned the fourth playoff spot with a 19-14 win over rival East Paulding and earned its first trip to the postseason since 2007. Smael Mondon ran for two touchdowns and Brantley Mauldin threw a 14-yard touchdown to Jason Ledford with two minutes left for the game-winner.

Region 8: Buford, Flowery Branch, Clarke Central, Cedar Shoals

No. 2 Buford (8-1) defeated No. 9 Flowery Branch to earn the region championship. Read the game story here.  Cedar Shoals beat Walnut Grove 21-3 for its third straight win and earn a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.


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