With three weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture is starting to become more focused. In many leagues, the top seed is firmly established, yet not written in ink. The real jostling continues for a spot in the playoffs and that much-valued homefield advantage for the first round.
Here is a look at each of the regions in Class AAAAA:
Region 1: Only one team will be eliminated in this five-team league. So far Harris County is the odd team out with two league losses, but those have come at the hands of region leaders Veterans and Warner Robins. The pecking order in this region – as well as the four qualifiers for the playoffs -- will come down to the final week
Region 2: Another five-team league that will go down to the wire. South Effingham (6-2) is the surprise team and is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. For the last two seasons the championship has been determined by the outcome of the season finale between Wayne County and Ware County. That could definitely be the case again.
Region 3: Riverdale (6-1) is the only undefeated team remaining in the league. The Raiders still have games remaining against defending region champion Starr’s Mill (5-3) and Griffin (7-1). All three of those schools should make the playoffs. The fourth spot is knotted up between McIntosh, Whitewater and Jonesboro, who each have losing records and will battle it out over the final three weeks.
Region 4: This league is trying to overtake Region 7 as the best in the state. Jones County (7-0), Dutchtown (6-1) and Stockbridge (6-1) remain the front runners. Rivals Dutchtown and Stockbridge play this week, with the loser almost assured of going on the road for the playoffs. Ola and Union Grove are both good teams that meet Friday with a possible playoff spot on the line; Union Grove has already beaten Stockbridge.
Region 5: Southwest DeKalb is the only team in the league with a winning record. The Panthers (6-1, 2-0) have lost only to Class AAAAAA Stephenson in a rivalry game and remained favored to take the league. Lithonia (2-5, 1-1) gets its shot at Southwest this week. Columbia (2-5, 2-0) outslugged Arabia Mountain (1-6, 1-1) last week and could be getting in line for a season-finale showdown with SWD.
Region 6: Riverwood can’t take a nap, but the Raiders (7-0, 4-0) are in line to win the school’s first region title after last week’s win over Carver. Riverwood still has games with playoff contenders Maynard Jackson and Grady. The season finale between Carver and Decatur may determine the No. 2 spot, should Riverwood not stumble. Jackson and Grady play this week, with the loser likely on the outside when the playoffs begin.
Region 7: All eyes are on Hiram for the last three weeks. The Hornets (5-2, 5-0) have run the table inside the league, but finish the season with heavyweights Rome, Kell and Carrollton. A win over any of those schools would cement a playoff spot – and possibly homefield advantage for the playoffs. Regardless, the Hornets are in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Carrollton (8-0, 6-0) has already beaten Kell and Rome and is closing in on its first region championship since 2011.
Region 8: Buford remains the class of the league, but hasn’t yet nailed down the title. Clarke Central will clinch the No. 2 spot if it defeats Johnson this week. That will leave the Clarke Central-Buford game on the final week to determine the region champion.
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