Here’s a region-by-region look to Friday’s games in the high class. It includes the projected margins of victory courtesy of the computer Maxwell Ratings.
Some great rivalry games this week with big stuff on the line – Lambert vs. West Forsyth in Forsyth County, Cherokee vs. Woodstock in Cherokee County and Parkview vs. Brookwood in Gwinnett County. And Mill Creek vs. Mountain View for first in their region, although MV is up against it in that one.
Region 1 – You might call Friday’s games the region semifinals: Colquitt County (4-4, 1-0) at Tift County (5-3, 0-1) and Camden County (2-5, 0-1) at Lowndes (7-1, 1-0). That’s assuming the favorites win. Then Lowndes would face Colquitt for the region title next week in Moultrie. Note that Lowndes and Colquitt have a bye week ahead of the state playoffs. Also note that Region 1 has very little chance of getting four teams in the playoffs under the new GHSA rule that guarantees only three in four-team regions. The only real shot is if Camden beats Tift and finishes third. That way, Tift could get the wild card. Camden won’t.
Colquitt County at Tift Co. -16
Lowndes vs. Camden Co. -27
Region 2 – Westlake (4-2, 2-0) is the region front-runner, but Newnan (3-4, 1-1) – Westlake’s opponent Friday – or Wheeler (3-4, 1-1) also could win at least a share of the title by winning out. Westlake plays Wheeler next week. East Coweta (5-2, 1-1) and Pebblebrook (4-3, 1-1) play each other Friday, and the winner remains in position to get into one of those three-way ties if Westlake stumbles. Westlake has beaten both.
East Coweta at Pebblebrook -22
Wheeler vs. Campbell -32
Westlake vs. Newnan -14
Region 3 – Assuming no upsets this week, fourth-ranked McEachern (6-1, 2-0) and Hillgrove (4-3, 2-0) will remain headed for a Nov. 4 showdown for the region title. But, Hillgrove faces ninth-ranked North Cobb (5-2, 1-1) next week, so North Cobb hasn’t abandoned hope of a three-way tie in the end. Interesting that the Maxwell Ratings give North Paulding a better chance of beating McEachern than Marietta of beating North Cobb. North Paulding and Marietta probably will decide the fourth and final playoff berth in their game Nov. 4.
Hillgrove at Kennesaw Mountain -25
McEachern vs. North Paulding -19
North Cobb vs. Marietta -26
Region 4 – The good news is that the Maxwell Ratings are about 59 percent confident that the fifth-place team in Region 4 will get the wild-card playoff berth. (Since Region 1 has only four teams, the GHSA is awarding the 32nd state playoff berth to the best fifth-place finisher, or the No. 4 from Region 1, whichever has the best points rating.) So, the game between Walton (3-4, 0-2) and Lassiter (5-2, 0-2) might not be do-or-die after all. Still a big game. But the top game in this region, clearly, is Cherokee (4-3, 2-0) at Woodstock (5-2, 2-0). The winner is almost definitely going to get a home playoff game in the first round and could win the region with a win later vs. No. 1-ranked Roswell (7-0, 2-0). The Woodstock-Cherokee is the best Class 7A game this week, IMO. Woodstock receivers Noah Firth and Louis Hall have 17 TD catches between them. Cherokee’s Montrell Washington has 1,092 yards from scrimmage (436 rushing, 656 receiving).
Woodstock at Cherokee -2
Lassiter vs. Walton -10
Roswell at Etowah -36
Region 5 – Lambert (4-3, 2-0) travels to West Forsyth (6-1, 2-0) on Friday, and the winner is in sole possession of first and likely will take the region crown. It would be Lambert’s first. West Forsyth won its only title in 2012. West Forsyth is a big passing team. Kiernan Hamilton has thrown for 1,684 yards and 16 touchdowns. Lambert is balanced. Richie Kenney has thrown for 1,355 yards. Justin Bruno has rushed for 720. Should be a fun time between these Forsyth County rivals. Meanwhile, the 1-1 teams (North Forsyth-South Forsyth) and the 0-2 teams (Milton-Forsyth Central) also play Friday.
West Forsyth vs. Lambert -9
Milton vs. Forsyth Central -20
South Forsyth vs. North Forsyth -13
Region 6 – Second-ranked Mill Creek (8-0, 4-0) can become the first to clinch a region title with a victory at home Friday vs. Mountain View (7-1, 3-1). Looking at common opponents, it’s easy to see why Mill Creek is a 28-point favorite. North Gwinnett (4-3, 2-1) plays Peachtree Ridge (2-5, 1-2). If North wins, North is likely to get the No. 2 season ahead of Mountain View, as North has beaten the Bears. That’s assuming Mill Creek beats Mountain View.
Mill Creek vs. Mountain View -28
North Gwinnett at Peach. Ridge -8
Discovery vs. Duluth -5
Region 7 – Eighth-ranked Parkview (5-2, 2-1) plays at 10th-ranked Brookwood (5-2, 3-0) in a renewal of the Five Forks Trickum rivalry. It’s the first time they’ve played as ranked teams since 2005. If Brookwood wins, that sets up what likely would be a region title game vs. fourth-ranked Norcross (7-0, 3-0) next week.
Norcross at Berkmar -42
Parkview at Brookwood -3
Central Gwinnett at Meadowcreek -38
Region 8 – Not much to see here. Grayson (6-1, 3-0) is cruising toward the region title. Newton (4-2-1, 1-1) is credible but a 32-point underdog.
Archer at Rockdale Co. -36
Grayson vs. Newton -32
South Gwinnett at Shiloh -15