The Griffin Bears, back in the rankings this week at No. 10, continue to into a team that appears ready for the state playoffs.
Griffin (7-1) has won three straight since its loss to Whitewater and is in a three-way tie with Whitewater and Starr’s Mill for first place in Region 3. If those three teams wind up tied, the league uses point differential to break the tie and right now the Bears would be third.
“We can’t worry about that,” coach Antonio Andrews said. “We’ve got to keep playing and keep getting better.”
Griffin has a test this week against McIntosh (5-2), a team very much alive in the playoffs. The Chiefs have lost two straight and finish the season against Whitewater. Another loss puts the postseason chances for McIntosh in jeopardy.
Griffin has battled through some injury problems – the Bears had seven players out against Morrow two weeks ago – and has watched its young offense begin to develop. The defense, which Andrews was banking on to carry the team early, has done its job and “is continuing to get better.”
Here’s a region-by-region look at the playoff races:
Region 1: No. 4 Warner Robins celebrated the program’s 500th victory last week by winning No. 501. The Demons (8-0) are off this week and await a showdown with No. 7 Bainbridge on Nov. 3. Bainbridge could ensure the season finale is for all the marbles if the Bearcats can get past undervalued Thomas County Central this week. This week’s game between Veterans and Harris County could determine the final playoff spot.
Region 2: No. 9 Wayne County (5-1) and Ware County (2-4) are steaming toward a showdown on Oct. 27 in Jessup, with the winner likely to win the championship. New Hampstead must play the two region favorites, including Wayne County this week, but can finish no worse than third.
Region 3: No. 8 Starr’s Mill, Griffin, Whitewater and Fayette County each have one region loss. Fayette County has the toughest road, with games left against Whitewater and Starr’s Mill, but the Tigers would likely secure a postseason spot with a win this week against Morrow.
Region 4: No. 3 Stockbridge and No. 5 Jones County will play on Oct. 27 in Gray in a game that will likely decide the region championship. The favorites for the final two spots are Dutchtown, Ola and Eagle’s Landing. Dutchtown and Ola both have games remaining with Jones County, but Eagle’s Landing has already played the two leaders.
Region 5: Arabia Mountain and Southwest DeKalb will likely determine the regular-season championship when they meet on Oct. 27 at Godfrey Stadium. Third place will likely be decided this week when Columbia plays Miller Grove at North DeKalb.
Region 6: Carver can virtually nail down first place with a win over Banneker on Friday at Lakewood Stadium. Jackson has won three straight and is guaranteed second place if the Jaguars win out. The fourth spot is very much in flux, with Decatur, North Springs, Riverwood and Lithia Springs all in the mix.
Region 7: Defending state champion and No. 1 Rome has essentially nailed down the region championship. Second place should be determined this week when Carrollton travels to No. 6 Kell; both have lost to Rome. The game between East Paulding and Paulding County in the season finale could determine the No. 4 team.
Region 8: Clarke Central is at Flowery Branch this week, with the winner likely to be the No. 2 team. Buford has already beaten Clarke and plays Flowery Branch on the last week. The final playoff spot will likely be decided this week when Loganville plays at Cedar Shoals.