Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Updating the playoff races: Four teams one win away from region titles

The Class AAAAAA playoff picture is coming into focus with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

No team has clinched a region title, but four – Valdosta, Lakeside-Evans, Alexander and Dacula – can do it by winning this week.

However, several playoff berths have been locked up, including all four spots in Region 5-AAAAAA.

Here’s a look at where the playoff races stand in each region heading into Week 11:

*Region 1: Valdosta (2-0 in region) can claim the 36th region title in school history, but first since 2011, with a win this week against Coffee (1-1). Houston County (0-2) is likely to be the odd team out from this five-team region. The Bears, who were ranked No. 1 three weeks ago, must beat No. 2 Northside-Warner Robins (2-1) and No. 1 Valdosta in their final two games to avoid elimination.

*Region 2: Brunswick fell to 0-3 in the region with a loss to Bradwell Institute on Monday and is likely to miss the playoffs from this five-team region. The Pirates aren’t eliminated yet but will need a lot of help. The winner of Tuesday’s Glynn Academy (2-0) vs. Effingham County (1-0) game is the front-runner to win the region, but Richmond Hill (1-1) and Bradwell (1-1) are still in the hunt.

*Region 3: Lakeside-Evans (3-0), which went 0-5 in non-region play, can clinch the second region championship in school history and first since 2009 with a victory against Evans (3-0) this week. Evans would need to beat Heritage-Conyers (2-1) next week to avoid a likely three-way tie for first place. The winner of this week’s Grovetown-Greenbrier game probably takes the fourth position.

*Region 4: Tucker (5-0) can win the title with wins in its last two games, but a loss to Stephenson (4-1) in the finale likely creates a three-way tie that would include Lovejoy (5-1). Mt. Zion-Jonesboro, Drew and Jonesboro are tied for fourth place at 2-3. Drew has the easiest remaining schedule of the three and beat Mt. Zion, but the Titans probably need to beat Jonesboro in the finale to advance.

*Region 5: Alexander (6-0), Mays (6-0), Northgate (5-1) and Hughes (5-2) have clinched the fourth playoff berths. Alexander can wrap up the region title with a victory against Mays this week. Mays would need to beat Northgate in the finale to avoid a three-way tie for first place. Fifth-place Douglas County and sixth-place Creekside were eliminated with their losses last week.

*Region 6: Dalton (5-0) is likely to win the region title after beating Harrison (4-1) last week, but Allatoona (4-1) could force a three-way tie among the teams with a victory over the Catamounts on Nov. 4. All three have clinched playoff berths. Sequoyah (3-2), Sprayberry (2-3) and Creekview (2-3) remain alive for the fourth spot. Sprayberry’s game at Sequoyah in the finale could decide it.

*Region 7: Johns Creek and Centennial have one loss each, but Johns Creek can win the title with victories against North Atlanta (0-6) and Dunwoody (1-5) because it beat Centennial. Alpharetta (4-2) and Cambridge (5-2) are likely to finish in the third and fourth spots, although Chattahoochee remains alive and could still get a playoff berth if it beats Alpharetta in the season finale.

*Region 8: Dacula (3-0) can clinch the region title with a win against Lanier (3-0) this week. Lanier would still need to beat Gainesville (2-1) next week to avoid a likely three-way tie for first place. Gainesville clinches a playoff berth if it beats Apalachee (0-3) this week. The winner of Friday’s Winder-Barrow (1-2) vs. Habersham Central (0-3) game probably takes fourth place.

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