Houston County isn’t done yet.
The Bears, who spent much of the season ranked No. 1, had been virtually written out of the playoff picture because of an 0-2 start in Region 1-AAAAAA and the difficult task they faced in the final two weeks of the regular season. But Houston County avoided elimination for another week with a 45-35 victory Friday over No. 2-ranked Northside-Warner Robins.
Houston County quarterback Jake Fromm had 652 yards of total offense, according to the Macon Telegraph, against the top-ranked defense in Class AAAAAA. That total included 530 yards and four touchdowns passing and a career-high 122 yards rushing. Northside came in giving up just eight points per game, and Houston County’s 45 points tied for the most allowed by the Eagles in a game since 1993.
Houston County faces another big hurdle next week, however. The Bears must win at top-ranked Valdosta or they will miss the playoffs. A loss to the Wildcats would leave Houston County tied for fourth place in the five-team region with the loser of the Lee County-Coffee game, and the Bears would lose out on the tiebreaker either way because they lost to both teams. Only the top four teams from each region make the postseason.
Here are some of the other big stories from Class AAAAAA in Week 11:
*Region champions: Valdosta clinched the Region 1 championship with a 15-10 victory over 10th-ranked Coffee. The Wildcats are 3-0 in region play with one game left, and all four of the other teams in the region have two losses. Glynn Academy clinched the Region 2 title without having to take the field. Effingham County’s 32-21 victory over Bradwell Institute means that the worst Glynn Academy could do is finish tied with Effingham County for first place, but Glynn County would win the tiebreaker because of its 48-0 victory over Effingham earlier this week. The other title that was clinched came in Region 8, where Dacula took the championship with a 20-0 victory over Lanier. It capped quite a turnaround for Dacula, which went 1-4 against a difficult non-region schedule.
*Playing the waiting game: Centennial completed its regular season with a 51-21 victory over Pope and is in sole possession of first place in Region 7 with a 7-1 record, but the Knights are going to need some major help on their bye week if they’re going to get the No. 1 seed. Johns Creek (6-1) is right behind the Knights and plays Dunwoody (1-6) next week. A victory would move the Gladiators into a tie for first place, and Johns Creek would get the No. 1 seed by virtue of its 24-21 victory over Centennial on Sept. 16.
*Down to the wire: The championships in the other four regions will come down to the final weekend. Evans (Region 3), Tucker (Region 4), Mays (Region 5) and Dalton (Region 6) just need to win to claim the titles. In all four cases, however, a loss by the current leader is likely to produce a three-way tie for first place that would be broken by the regions’ various tiebreakers. Evans plays Heritage-Conyers, Tucker takes on Stephenson, Mays faces Northgate, and Dalton meets Allatoona.