The upcoming playoffs are no longer a scenario for Class AAAA’s field of 52 teams. Thirty-two teams will make the postseason and with just two weeks of the regular season left, this week will make the playoffs a reality for more than half of the schools. In Region 1, Cairo can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win over visiting Columbus on Friday. The Syrupmakers are 5-0 in the eight-team region, while Northside-Columbus, Americus-Sumter and Carver-Columbus sit at 3-2. Hardaway, Westover and Columbus bubble the potential playoff seeding at 2-3.
Mary Persons scored a 24-0 win over second-place Upson-Lee to open the month and can clinch the Region 2 title with a home win over Perry this Friday. The Bulldogs have won 15 of their last 17 meetings with Perry and are heavily favored over the 3-5 Panthers.
Region 3 has the only true region title game this weekend. Thomson (8-0, 3-0) will host Burke County (7-1, 3-0) for a winner-take-all premier matchup. Thomson has been unstoppable this season, averaging 52.1 points per game offensively, while surrendering just nine points per contest. Thomson took last year’s matchup 35-28, however, Burke County owns the all-time series record 17-15 and has won the last 7-of-9.
While region championships are interesting, the final two weeks of the season wouldn’t be fully served without mentioning the teams fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. The most unprecedented do or die matchup comes out of Region 8 with winless St. Pius (0-8) visiting winless North Oconee (0-8). St. Pius needs a win over North Oconee and a win over Madison County next week to grab the No. 4 seed. North Oconee, however, could force a three-way tie at 1-9 if the Titans were to defeat St. Pius this week and St. Pius were to defeat Madison County in its finale. Since Madison County defeated North Oconee 26-14 last week, they can clinch a playoff spot against superior Oconee County on Friday, or they would have to play St. Pius next week for a spot in the playoffs. It’s hard to believe that two 0-8 teams are playing for a playoff spot, but this has been quite the year in Class AAAA.
Americus-Sumter at Carver-Columbus (K) Thursday
*Columbus at Cairo
Hardaway at Shaw
Westover at Northside-Columbus
Howard at Spalding
*Perry at Mary Persons
West Laurens at Upson-Lee
Hephzibah at Baldwin
*Burke County at Thomson
Richmond Academy at Cross Creek
Woodward Academy at Druid Hills (A)(D)
Salem at Eastside
Henry County at North Clayton (SC)
Sandy Creek at Cedartown
Troup at Central-Carroll
Chapel Hill at LaGrange (C) Thursday
Gilmer at Ridgeland
Pickens at LaFayette
Southeast Whitfield at Northwest Whitfield
Marist at Chestatee
White County at West Hall
Stephens County at Jefferson
Oconee County at Madison County
St. Pius at North Oconee