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Glynn Academy, Heritage, Evans the teams to beat in Regions 2 and 3

(Daniel Varnado/Special to AJC)

(Daniel Varnado/Special to AJC)

Region play was supposed to begin in 2-AAAAAA last weekend, but Hurricane Matthew had other plans.

The bad weather forced postponement of the Glynn Academy-Effingham County and Brunswick-Bradwell Institute games, which will be made up later in the season. Now the region will kick off this weekend when Glynn Academy meets Brunswick and Richmond Hill takes on Bradwell Institute.

Region 3 was able to get all of its games in for the first full weekend of region play, and Evans and Heritage-Conyers emerged as the favorites in a relatively balanced league.

On Tuesdays, we’ve been taking a look at the playoff outlooks for every Class AAAAAA team as region play kicks off (or shortly after it starts). We conclude today with Regions 2 and 3.

Here’s a closer look at each team in those regions, broken down by playoff likelihood, in alphabetical order within each group:

Region 2-AAAAAA

Safest bets

*Effingham County (4-2, 0-0): The Rebels were supposed to have the first shot at Glynn Academy, but the weather has pushed that back. They’ll get their chance eventually, however, and might present the toughest challenge Glynn Academy will face. Effingham County’s two losses came against Coffee and Thomson in the first two games of the season.

*Glynn Academy (5-1, 0-0): The No. 10-ranked Red Terrors are the clear favorite to win the region title. Glynn Academy was the state runner-up in Class AAAAA last season, and it has won five straight since opening the season with a surprising 24-7 loss to Class AA No. 1 Benedictine. Glynn Academy hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2007 and won’t this year, either.

In the hunt

*Bradwell Institute (2-2-1, 0-0): The Tigers have the longest odds of reaching the playoffs. But in a five-team region, where one win might be enough to get you there, anything can happen. Bradwell was 0-10 each of the past two seasons and hasn’t played in a playoff game since 2009.

*Brunswick (3-2, 0-0): Regardless of their record, the Pirates always seem to be in the mix for the playoffs. And they have been particularly tough for Glynn Academy, winning 16 of the past 22 meetings (although Glynn won in 2014 and 2015). It would be a surprise if Brunswick doesn’t advance to the playoffs this year.

*Richmond Hill (5-0, 0-0): Yes, the Wildcats are undefeated, but it’s a little difficult to know what to make of their season so far. The computer Maxwell Ratings list them as the fourth-best team in the region. Richmond Hill will be favored against Bradwell Institute this week but closes the season with the three highest-rated teams in the region.

Region 3-AAAAAA

Safest bets

*Evans (4-2, 1-0): The Knights haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009, but they appear headed there this season under second-year coach Lemuel Lackey. Evans’ only loss against a Georgia team this season was a 20-19 setback against Washington County. The Knights face top challenger Heritage in the regular-season finale.

*Heritage-Conyers (3-3, 1-0): The Patriots are the highest-ranked team (No. 33 in AAAAAA) from this region in the Maxwell Ratings. Heritage was 1-9 last year but has bounced back nicely under first-year coach Corey Johnson and likely will be in the mix for the region title.

In the hunt

*Greenbrier (5-1, 0-1): The Wolfpack put together its first 5-0 start since 1997, but all those victories came against non-region competition. Things changed dramatically in region play when Greenbrier lost to Lakeside 7-0 last week. That’s going to be a difficult loss to overcome, but Greenbrier still has opportunities to play itself into the postseason.

*Grovetown (3-4, 1-1): The Patriots have never been to the playoffs in their eight-year history, but they have a real opportunity to go this year. They already have one victory in region play, and one more might be enough to get them in. Grovetown’s three non-region losses came against teams that were ranked or undefeated, and the Patriots were competitive in all three games.

*Lakeside-Evans (1-5, 1-0): The Panthers picked the perfect time to collect their first win of the season, beating Greenbrier last week to start off undefeated in region play, and will be favored against Alcovy this week. Lakeside has won at least five regular-season games for five consecutive seasons. If the Panthers do that again this year, they’ll be region champions.

Not this year

*Alcovy (4-3, 0-2): The Tigers’ four wins in non-region play came against teams with a combined record of 3-24, but Alcovy has shown drastic improvement over its 1-19 record the past two years. Still, the Tigers aren’t likely to win enough to reach the postseason.


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