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7A review: Five teams clinch region titles

Five Class AAAAAAA teams clinched region titles Friday while three others must win next week seal their No.  1 seeds.

Congrats to region champions Lowndes (Region 1), Westlake (Region 2), North Gwinnett (Region 6), Brookwood (Region 7) and Archer (Region 8).

In regions 3 and 4, there will be winner-take-all games to decided No. 1 seeds next Friday. Those are McEachern at Hillgrove (R3) and Woodstock at Walton (R4). In Region 5, South Forsyth plays at West Forsyth with Milton still holding out hope of West winning and being part of a three-way tie for first.

Here’s a quick region-by-region look at what happened Friday night:

Region 1 – Lowndes defeated Colquitt County 51-45 in two overtimes after trailing 35-14 in the first half. That gives Lowndes its first region title since 2010. Lowndes actually clinched the No. 1 seed when it scored a touchdown in the second overtime for a 51-45 lead. That’s because the worst that Lowndes could do was finish tied for first, and the 51th point gave Lowndes the edge in the region’s tiebreaker procedures. Now, if Tift County defeats Camden County next week, as expected, the seeds from this region will be Lowndes, Tift County, Colquitt County. Camden County will not make the playoffs.

Region 2 – Westlake (6-3, 4-0) clinched its fourth straight region title with a 48-27 win over last-place Wheeler, which led into the fourth quarter. More interesting was Campbell’s 28-14 victory over East Coweta, which is now in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996. The Indians need to beat arch-rival Newnan next week to salvage that streak. Meanwhile, Pebblebrook beat Newnan 27-14 and is in position for the No. 2 seed, which would mean hosting a playoff game for the first time since 2006 and getting a visit from Colquitt County.

Region 3 – McEachern (7-2, 4-0) and Hillgrove (6-3, 3-1) will play for the region title next week. McEachern beat Marietta (6-3, 2-2), and Hillgrove beat North Cobb (5-4, 1-3), on Friday. North Paulding (7-2, 2-2) also is in play here. This region is likely to get the at-large berth into the playoffs, meaning its fifth-place team would qualify and play the Region 1 champion, Westlake, in the first round.

Region 4 – Third-ranked Walton (9-0, 4-0) won 42-21 over Etowah (4-5, 2-2), and Woodstock (6-3, 3-1) won 37-10 over Roswell (2-7, 1-3). That means that Woodstock’s game at Walton next week is for the region title. Roswell – the state runner-up the past two seasons – will miss the playoffs unless Etowah beats Lassiter (6-3, 2-2) next week and Roswell beats winless Cherokee.

Region 5 – Ninth-ranked South Forsyth (8-1, 4-0) and West Forsyth (7-2, 3-1) both won Friday and will meet next week for the region title. South, ranked No. 9, will be the clear favorite despite winning only 21-17 last season. If South wins, the seeds will be South Forsyth, Milton, West Forsyth, North Forsyth. West can force a three-way tie for first that includes Milton.

Region 6 – Fifth-ranked North Gwinnett (8-1, 5-0) clinched the region title with a 45-6 victory over Collins Hill (5-4, 3-2). Mill Creek (6-3, 3-2) and Mountain View (8-2, 4-2) join Collins Hill with two region losses, and that’s likely to remain that way, forcing tiebreakers to decide their playoff seeding behind North Gwinnett.

Region 7 –  Seventh-ranked Brookwood (7-2, 5-0) clinched the region title with a 28-6 victory over Norcross (4-5, 3-2). Parkview (6-3, 3-1) earned the No. 2 seed with a 56-26 victory over Meadowcreek (7-2, 3-2). Norcross and Meadowcreek will play next week to decide No. 3 and No. 4.

Region 8 – Second-ranked Archer (9-0, 4-0) clinched the region title with a 14-0 victory over South Gwinnett (3-6, 2-2). Unless South Gwinnett can upset fourth-ranked Grayson (8-1, 3-1) next week, the seeds will be Archer, Grayson, Newton, South Gwinnett.


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