Region 1-AAAAAA has generally been considered the top region in the state, regardless of classification, for most of the season.
After all, the five teams in the region – Valdosta, Northside-Warner Robins, Lee County, Coffee and Houston County – all spent considerable time in the top 10, and three have been ranked No. 1, including current top-ranked Valdosta. The region’s four playoff teams won their first-round games by an average of 45 points. And the team that didn’t make the playoffs, Houston County, spent seven weeks at No. 1 early in the season.
But Region 1 wasn’t the only Class AAAAAA region that went undefeated last weekend. The four playoff teams from Region 5 – Mays, Alexander, Northgate and Hughes – shared that distinction when they swept Region 7 in the first round.
Now they’ll go head to head with region bragging rights on the line. Friday’s second-round lineup includes Northgate at Valdosta, Hughes at No. 5 Northside, No. 8 Lee County at No. 3 Mays, and Coffee at No. 7 Alexander.
For the record, the computer Maxwell Ratings project a 2-2 split of the games this week. The computer favors Valdosta by 17 points, Northside by 11, Mays by seven and Alexander by 11 points.
Two other regions probably would like to get in on this conversation, as well. Three teams from Region 4 (Tucker, Lovejoy and Stephenson) and three more from Region 6 (Dalton, Harrison and Allatoona) survived the first round and hope to continue making noise.
That leaves Region 2 champion Glynn Academy and Region 8 winner Dacula as the only teams remaining in the bracket that don’t play in one of the above-mentioned regions.
Granted, how the top teams fare in the playoffs aren’t the full measure of a region’s strength, but the games provide one of the best tools available (much like the bowl season in college football and the NCAA Tournament in college basketball).
How do you see things shaking out this weekend?
Here’s the full schedule of second-round games:
(R6 #2) Harrison at (R4 #1) Tucker
(R1 #3) Lee County at (R5 #1) Mays
(R6 #3) Allatoona at (R2 #1) Glynn Academy
(R5 #4) Hughes at (R1 #2) Northside-Warner Robins
(R4 #3) Stephenson at (R8 #1) Dacula
(R5 #3) Northgate at (R1 #1) Valdosta
(R4 #2) Lovejoy at (R6 #1) Dalton
(R1 #4) Coffee at (R5 #2) Alexander