Region 6-AAAAAA isn’t one of those subdivided regions in the smaller classifications that have “play-in games” to determine their playoff teams.
However, this week’s matchup between Sequoyah and South Cobb in Austell might qualify as one such game.
If Dalton, Harrison and Allatoona are locks for three of the eight-team region’s playoff berths, as many believe they are, that leaves only one spot in the postseason.
River Ridge, Creekview and Sprayberry haven’t shown that they will challenge for that spot. All three are 0-2 in the region, and all have lost handily to either Sequoyah or South Cobb.
That leaves the Chiefs and the Eagles as the two primary candidates for what is likely one playoff berth.
Sequoyah was the region’s No. 4 seed last year, but the Chiefs (4-1, 2-0) probably have higher goals this season, as they are tied with Dalton and Harrison for first place, one game ahead of South Cobb and Allatoona.
South Cobb (2-3, 1-1) went 1-9 last year but appears vastly improved. The Eagles went 1-2 (the losses were by a total of nine points) against Class AAAAAAA teams to start the season, lost their region opener 42-16 to Allatoona in a game that was 18-16 at halftime, then beat Sprayberry 35-21 last week. The Eagles made eight playoff appearances in a 13-year span between 1999 and 2011 but haven’t been back since.
Here are five other questions hanging over the heads of Class AAAAAA teams this week, along with the games that will begin to answer them. All games are Friday.
1. Who becomes the front-runner in Region 5?
- Douglas County at Mays (Lakewood Stadium): Douglas County and defending region champion Mays are the only Region 5 teams that are undefeated in region play and ranked in the Top 10, so the winner will be in the driver’s seat for the title. Unranked Alexander also is unbeaten in the region and faces Mays and Douglas County in the final two weeks of the regular season.
2. Who drops out of the Region 1 title chase?
- Valdosta at Northside-Warner Robins: Defending state champion Valdosta was the Region 1 winner last season, and Northside was the runner-up. However, the region favorite this year is No. 2 Lee County (7-0, 1-0), which plays Northside and Valdosta in the next two weeks. The loser of the Valdosta-Northside game would have to upset Lee County for any shot at a share of the region title.
3. Is Winder-Barrow ready to take the next step?
- Winder-Barrow at Lanier: Winder-Barrow (6-0 for the first time since 1989) has been playing football since 1955 but has never won a region title. A victory this week at Lanier (3-2), the only other team in Region 8 with a winning record, would be a big step. But both teams still have to deal with Dacula, which is 1-4 for the second consecutive season but won the region title last year.
4. Is Bradwell Institute for real?
- Bradwell Institute at Brunswick: Bradwell Institute is 6-0 for the first time since 2004, but the tough part of the schedule starts this week when the Tigers begin Region 2 play. Bradwell beat Brunswick 21-18 last year in a game that essentially determined the No. 4 playoff berth in the region. Brunswick (3-1) finished 5-5 but appears headed in the right direction in the first season under coach Sean Pender.
5. Is 5-0 really better than 0-5?
- Lakeside-Evans at Greenbrier: Lakeside is 0-5 heading into its Region 3 opener but has played teams with a combined record of 28-0. Greenbrier is 5-0, exactly where it was a year ago before going 1-4 in region games and missing the playoffs. One of those region losses came against Lakeside, which was 0-5 at the time. The computer Maxwell Ratings like Greenbrier this time, by five points.
*Worth noting: Georgia High School Football Daily has more complete previews of some of this weekend’s top games involving Class AAAAAA teams. Click here to read more about Douglas County/Mays, Valdosta/Northside and Winder-Barrow/Lanier.