Just two weeks of regular season action separates us from the 2017 GHSA state playoffs and postseason seeding will be heavily influenced by this weekend’s 25 games.
Before I break down some of the biggest matchups in the state in Thursday’s blog, I want to look at what’s at stake in each of the eight regions. In Region 1, only Cairo and Northside-Columbus will take the field on Friday as two Thursday night games and a Saturday night showdown between Hardaway and Carver-Columbus set the region’s Week 10 stage. Only Americus-Sumter (5-0) controls its own destiny and the Panthers hold a 1.5 game lead over Northside-Columbus (4-1) and Cairo (4-1) after giving both programs their only region losses. When Northside and Cairo play on Friday, the winner will be guaranteed a top 2 seed at 5-1. The remaining five teams in the region are mathematically out of reach of a top 2 seed with Columbus, Hardaway and Carver-Columbus sitting at 2-3 and Westover (1-4) and Shaw (0-5) in the basement. If Americus-Sumter beats Columbus on Thursday, it will guarantee the program its first-ever region championship regardless what happens in its season finale with Carver-Columbus next week. Cairo at Northside-Columbus will be the game to watch as the log-jam below them gets sorted out.
In Region 2, Upson-Lee at West Laurens holds the most sway in the standings. Mary Persons sits at the top of the standings at 3-0 with West Laurens (2-1) and Howard (2-1) leading Upson-Lee (1-2) and Spalding (1-2). West Laurens already defeated Howard and its only loss came to Mary Persons, which will close its season out against Howard next week. If Mary Persons and West Laurens win out, they will take the top 2 seeds.
Thomson (3-0) and Burke County (3-0) will play for Region 3’s championship on Friday and Baldwin (1-2) can secure the No. 3 seed with a win at Hephzibah since Baldwin is the only one of the three teams currently sitting at 1-2 (Baldwin, Hephzibah, Richmond Academy) that has a chance to finish region play flawless outside of losses to Thomson and Burke County. Hephzibah lost to Thomson and Richmond Academy, and finishes the year with Burke County, while Richmond Academy lost to Baldwin and Burke County, and has to close the year with Thomson.
In Region 4, Woodward Academy is the region champion and top seed, but the rest is to be determined. Henry County must beat North Clayton to avoid elimination. If North Clayton wins, the Eagles would set up a season finale with Eastside that would determine the No. 2 and No. 3 seed. Salem can lose to Eastside this week and still get the No. 4 seed with a win against Druid Hills next week.
In Region 5, Cedartown comes off a huge victory over Troup and could help themselves lock up the No. 2 seed with a win over Sandy Creek. Sandy Creek (1-3) already lost to Chapel Hill (2-2), so the Patriots playoff hopes are out of their control with Cartersville (5-0), Troup (3-1) and Cedartown (3-1) already a game up on the 2-2 Panthers.
Heritage-Catoosa gets to enjoy a bye as the rest of Region 6 sorts itself out. Expect undefeated Ridgeland to cruise past 0-8 Gilmer to remain at the top of the standings, while Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield battle for the No. 3 seed with Pickens, who hosts Lafayette.
In the five-team Region 7, the four teams making the playoffs is already determined. Chestatee visits Marist to close its season, and even with a win would still be unable to catch the other four teams in the standings.
St. Pius, Jefferson, Madison County, Oconee County and Stephens County lead a crowded Region 8. Madison County’s matchup with Oconee County will set the score for the rest of the standings as St. Pius is the only team controlling its destiny.
Week 10 Schedule
Americus-Sumter at Columbus (CM) Thursday
Cairo at Northside-Columbus (K)
Hardaway at Carver-Columbus (K)(D) Saturday
Westover at Shaw (K) Thursday
Spalding at Howard
Mary Persons at Perry
Upson-Lee at West Laurens
Baldwin at Hephzibah
Thomson at Burke County
Cross Creek at Richmond Academy
Druid Hills at Woodward Academy
Eastside at Salem
North Clayton at Henry County
Cedartown at Sandy Creek
Central-Carroll at Troup (C)
LaGrange at Chapel Hill
Ridgeland at Gilmer
LaFayette at Pickens
Northwest Whitfield at Southeast Whitfield
Chestatee at Marist
West Hall at White County
Blessed Trinity BYE
Jefferson at Stephens County
Madison County at Oconee County
North Oconee at St. Pius