It’s been a weird year for New Hampstead High School Savannah, which has secured its first-ever spot in the state playoffs.
Three weeks ago students at the school had to hunker down and survive Hurricane Matthew. Then there was the matter of a jumbled schedule, forcing the Phoenix to play multiple games in a week.
The result of the turmoil? Maybe a region championship.
New Hampstead beat South Effingham 36-29 on Monday night by scoring two touchdowns with 14 seconds with about three minutes left in the game.
That means the Phoenix (3-5-1) can win the Region 2-AAAAA championship if it closes the season with a victory over No. 6 Ware County (5-3).
New Hampstead has gotten great production out of senior quarterback Calvin Turner Jr., who has rushed for 1,193 yards and 13 touchdowns and has thrown for 968 yards and six touchdowns.
New Hampstead is coming off a 7-3 season while playing a non-region schedule. It has a new coach in Phillip Richards, who graduated from Savannah’s Windsor Forest. Richards was an assistant coach in Alabama before coming home to head up the program.
Here’s a look at the other playoff races throughout Class AAAAA:
Region 1: Three teams are tied for first place in this five-team region: Bainbridge, Thomas County Central and Warner Robins. If Thomas County Central beats Harris County, the Yellow Jackets will win the region title. That’s because TCC has already beaten Warner Robins and Bainbridge, the two teams it could wind up tied with.
Region 2: Ware County is undefeated in the region and will sew things up with a win over New Hampstead, which has two games this week (South Effingham on Halloween) and would take first place by sweeping both.
Region 3: There is a three-way tie for first place in this very competitive league between Griffin, Starr’s Mill and Whitewater, who each have one league loss. If all three teams win their final game, there would be a three-way tie.
Region 4: Stockbridge has won the regular-season championship and Woodland will be the No. 2 seed if it finishes the season by beating Locust Grove. Jones County and Ola will have the other two spots with wins.
Region 5: Arabia Mountain climbed a big mountain by beating Southwest DeKalb last week to clinch the region championship. SWD will be No. 2, if Arabia Mountain finishes the season with a win over Lithonia. The final playoff spot will go to the winner of the Chamblee-Miller Grove game.
Region 6: Grady is the regular-season champion and Carver is No. 2. Unless Banneker finds a way to upset Grady, there could be a three-way tie for the final two spots between Banneker, North Springs and Riverwood.
Region 7: Barring any upsets in the final week, there will be a three-way tie for first between Carrollton, Kell and Rome. Since no one swept the other two opponents, the outcome will be decided by point differential and the order would be Rome, Carrollton and Kell. Villa Rica will be No. 4.
Region 8: Buford won the title by beating Loganville last week, leaving the Red Devils as the No. 2 seed. Clarke Central has sewed up the third spot. The final playoff spot will be between Cedar Shoals, Flowery Branch and Walnut Grove.