Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

7A preview: Six second-place teams get their chance at No. 1 on Friday

Six Class AAAAAAA teams that are tied for second place will get their shot at their region leaders on Friday.

According to the computer Maxwell Ratings, the tied-for-seconds aren't looking too good.

Here are the six and their projected margins of victory. The region leader is on the left and favored in all six.

Is this rat poison or what?

Archer at South Gwinnett -32

Brookwood vs. Norcross -14

Lowndes vs. Colquitt Co. -24

McEachern vs. Marietta -15

North Gwinnett at Collins Hill -24

Walton at Etowah -29


Here’s a region-by-region look at what’s happening Friday:

Region 1 – Tied-for-second Colquitt County (7-2, 1-1) controls its destiny in its game at Lowndes (9-0, 2-0) on Friday. If the Packers win – and hold Lowndes to less than 49 points – the region title is theirs. The region’s tiebreaker in the event of a three-way tie is points allowed in games involving the tied teams. The third wheel, of course, if Tift County (8-1, 1-1). The short of it is this: Lowndes can win the title only with a victory. Most think that will happen. Not sure above covering the 24, though.

Region 2 – Westlake (5-3, 3-0) will clinch the No. 1 seed with a victory over last-place Wheeler (2-6, 0-3). More intriguing now is the battle for second. Newnan (3-5, 2-1) travels to Pebblebrook (4-4, 2-1). Pebblebrook – favored by seven points - has not been seeded as highly as No. 2 (which means getting a home playoff game) since 2006.

Region 3 – On hand, this is the most competitive and unpredictable region. On the other, it look pretty certain, according to Maxwell’s projections of the at-large bid, that five teams from Region 3 are going to make the playoffs. So nobody should be sweating it. McEachern (6-2, 3-0) should win this week against tied-for-second Marietta (6-2, 2-1). Marietta is still without its star QB Harrison Bailey. Then, Hillgrove (5-3, 2-1) is favored by one in its visit to North Cobb (5-3, 1-2). If McEachern wins and Hillgrove loses, the region title is McEachern’s, and there’s likely to be a four-way knot for second place. If McEachern and Hillgrove win (which is what this blog expects), they’ll play for the title next week.

Region 4 – The most pivotal game in this region is Roswell (2-6, 1-2) at Woodstock (5-3, 2-1). The winner is likely to make the playoffs. The loser is probably going to have three region losses and will need complicated tiebreaker help to get it.  Walton (8-0, 3-0) can clinch the region title with a win over tied-for-second Etowah (4-4, 2-1) and a Woodstock loss.

Region 5 – West Forsyth (6-2, 2-1) is the only team that realistically can catch South Forsyth (7-1, 3-0). Don’t expect that to happen, but West can make it interesting by beating North Forsyth (5-3, 2-1) this week. South plays West next week.

Region 6 – North Gwinnett (7-1, 4-0) can clinch the region title with a victory over tied-for-second Collins Hill (5-3, 3-1). This region appears headed toward a three-way tie for second among Collins Hill, Mill Creek and Mountain View. Coin flips to follow.

Region 7 – Two nice games in this region Friday. Brookwood (6-2, 4-0) gets a visit from tied-for-second Norcross (4-4, 3-1), and Meadowcreek (7-1, 3-1) travels to Parkview (5-3, 3-1). Maxwell favors Brookwood by 14 and Parkview by 19. If those predictions hold, Brookwood is the region champion, and Parkview is the runner-up. Norcross and Meadowcreek would settle third and fourth next week.

Region 8 – Archer (8-0, 3-0) plays tied-for-second South Gwinnett (3-5, 2-1), and there’s no evidence this game will be competitive. Barring big upsets, the seeds are going to be Archer, Grayson, Newton and South Gwinnett.

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