Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Valdosta loses region opener; big wins for Mays, Brunswick

Region play is in full swing in Class AAAAAA now that Regions 2 and 8 got in on the act this weekend.

Coffee (1-AAAAAA) and Richmond Hill (2-AAAAAA) are the only teams in the classification that have not played a region game. Both were off on Friday and begin league play next week, Coffee at Houston County and Richmond Hill at Bradwell Institute.

Here’s a look around the regions at how Friday’s games impacted the playoff and region title chases:

*Region 1: Defending state champion Valdosta, which went 4-0 in region play last season, got off to an 0-1 start with a 16-7 loss to Northside-Warner Robins. Neither team scored on offensive touchdown – Northside recovered a fumble in the end zone, and Valdosta returned an interception. The victory put Northside in a tie for first place with No. 2 Lee County, and the two will meet next weekend.

*Region 2: Brunswick, the only team from the five-team region that didn’t advance to the playoffs last year, made a statement with a 64-21 victory over previously unbeaten Bradwell Institute in the teams’ region opener. Jamarius Stevens threw a 65-yard TD pass to D.J. Whitfield on the first play of the game. Brunswick is tied for first place with Glynn Academy, which it will face next weekend.

*Region 3: Grovetown is alone in first place at 2-0 after its 42-39 win over defending region champ Heritage-Conyers. Grovetown, which began its program in 2009 and made the playoffs for the first time last year, is seeking its first region championship. Evans and Lakeside-Evans won their region openers Friday night and trail the Warriors by a half-game. Grovetown host Evans next weekend.

*Region 4: Most of the region had the week off, but Mundy’s Mill picked up its first victory of the season and ended a nine-game losing streak when it beat Osborne 55-6 in a non-region game. The region returns to a full schedule next weekend, with Tucker vs. Lovejoy highlighting the schedule. Tucker is tied with Stephenson for first place, with third-place Lovejoy a half-game behind them.

*Region 5: Mays ended Douglas County’s hopes for an unbeaten season with a 35-3 victory in a game between top-10 teams that were both undefeated in region play. Douglas County, which was trying to get to 7-0 for the first time since the 2002 team went 10-0 in the regular season, fell into third place. The win leaves Mays in a first-place tie with Alexander, which got past Tri-Cities 28-21.

*Region 6: Harrison QB Justin Fields capped off a banner day in which he committed to Georgia by passing for five touchdowns and running for two more in a 63-41 victory over Sprayberry. Harrison, Sequoyah and defending region champ Dalton are tied for first place with 3-0 region records. Fourth-place Allatoona is 2-1. Barring a major upset, those will be the region’s four playoff teams.

*Region 7: Alpharetta (beat Pope 37-14), Chattahoochee (beat Johns Creek 38-31) and Centennial (beat Northview) are beginning to pull away from the pack. Alpharetta is 4-0 in the region, and Chattahoochee and Centennial are both 4-1. Fourth-place Pope is 2-2 and has a slight lead over a group of four three-loss teams. One of those teams is John’s Creek, the defending region champion.

*Region 8: Winder-Barrow is one of the three remaining unbeaten teams in AAAAAA (Lee County and Richmond Hill are the others) and 2-0 in region play after holding on for a 24-21 win over Lanier. The Bulldoggs led 24-14 with 1:03 remaining but needed a blocked field-goal attempt on the final play of the game to preserve the victory. Dacula and Gainesville won region openers Friday.

*Standings: Here’s a look at the region standings after Week 8:

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