With the regular season nearing an end, the top seeds from each of the Class AAA regions are beginning to come into focus. There are clear front-runners in some regions and more work to be done in others during the next two weekends.
Region 6 is a bit more complicated than the rest because of the subregion breakdown. The Region 6-North/South leaders are all tied at 3-0, which sets up a fantastic weekend of football from the northern area of the state.
Bremen and Calhoun are the leaders in the South, and are both ready for a playoff-like atmosphere Friday.
“It’s crazy man,” Bremen coach Davis Russell explained. “(Bremen) and Calhoun are playing for the South sub-region championship this week, and this place is going to be electric.”
The 10-team region was sub-divided into North/South after the 2015 season, which put Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, North Murray, Ringgold, Murray County and Coahulla Creek in the North and Calhoun, Bremen, Adairsville, Sonoraville and Haralson County in the South.
On the North side of the region, LFO and North Murray lead at 3-0 and play Friday to determine the No. 1 seed going into the Region 6-AAA play-in game.
“(On the South side) Adairsville will be the No. 3 seed, barring an upset, and Sonoraville will be the No. 4 seed down here,” Russell said. “Up top, North Murray and LFO are playing for their championship this week. LFO upset Ringgold earlier this year, so that’s why LFO is in position to play for it. Ringgold, I believe, has already locked in the No. 3 seed, and Murray County has locked in the No. 4.”
The seedings are crucial for the play-in game because the winners will determine the four seeds from the two sub-regions that advance to the playoffs.
“The play-in game is that No. 1 plays No. 4, No. 2 plays No. 3, No. 3 plays No. 2 and No. 4 plays No. 1. And, this year, the North is hosting all of the play-ins this year. The winners out of those games go to the playoffs. Essentially, you could be 9-1 and be sitting at home.”
The main difference for the team in the two sub-regions is that the playoffs, for them, start a week or so earlier than the rest of the state.
“The subregions cause the playoffs to start a week early because Week 10 is a playoff game,” Russell said. “In a subregion that just has five teams, you can’t slip up. For example, Ringgold is one of the best teams in the North subregion, and they were upset and now they’re locked in a three-seed. It’s just different.”
For the rest of the state, things aren’t as confusing, but there will surely be some speculating during the next few weeks. Here is where things stand:
Scenario: No. 6 Crisp County is 2-0 and leads the region over Cook (2-1). Crisp and will face the two last-place teams – Dougherty (1-2) and Worth (0-2) — in the final two games of the season. Assuming the Cougars go 2-0 through the last two games, they will be the No. 1 seed and will repeat as the 1-AAA champions.
This week: Crisp will face Dougherty at home and is a clear favorite. Cook has non-region Berrien before facing Monroe in its final region game.
Scenario: Liberty County (3-0) and Appling County (3-0) are the leaders and will meet Nov. 3 in the final regular-season game that should determine the No. 1 seed … if the games Friday go as they should.
This week: Liberty will face Brantley County (0-3), and Pierce will face Appling County (2-1). Liberty has the easier task against Brantley. Pierce is facing an Appling team that is coming off a 42-27 victory against Brantley.
Scenario: No. 5 Jenkins is looking for a repeat as the 3-AAA champion and has a 5-0 region record. The Warriors, however, will face two of the three challengers — Windsor Forest and Beach — in the final two games of the regular season
This Week: If Jenkins is victorious against Windsor Forest and Beach loses to Southeast Bulloch, that would give Jenkins a 6-0 region record and the region title.
Scenario: No. 2 Peach County (4-0) will repeat as the region champion and unless it suffers one of the largest upsets in the state this season, regardless of classification.
This Week: The Trojans, coming off an 82-0 victory against Kendrick (1-3), will host Pike County (3-1) after beating them 45-7 last season.
Scenario: Top-ranked Cedar Grove has McNair and Redan left between it and the Region 5 title. The Saints have pretty much dominated competition during region play and should take this region’s No. 1 seed. Lovett (4-1) is almost a lock for the No. 2 seed as all other challengers have two region losses. The Lions will face Pace Academy this week, and a victory will protect its No. 2 seed.
This Week: Cedar Grove is riding an 18-game winning streak into the game against McNair.
Scenario: No. 3 Greater Atlanta Christian (5-0) is a near lock for the region title with Dawson County (4-0) standing in the Spartans’ way.
This Week: GAC has an off week and Dawson plays Lumpkin County (1-3). If Dawson wins, which it should, GAC and Dawson will meet Nov. 3 for the region title.
Scenario: No. 10 Morgan County (3-0) leads the region. The Bulldogs won the title last year after defeating Franklin County (1-2) and Jackson County (1-2) in the final two games. This season, Morgan will again face Franklin and Jackson to close the regular season, and if the Bulldogs go 2-0 through the final two games, no other contenders can catch them. Monroe Area and Hart County are 2-1, and if Morgan County doesn’t falter, they will be playing for the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds.
This Week: Morgan has Franklin County, and Monroe Area and Hart County will play for the No. 2 seed.