The Bleckley County Royals finally overcame their fiercest rival.
On Friday, the No. 7 Royals withstood a furious rally and defeated the Dodge County Indians, 41-34, to improve to 7-2, 4-1 in Region 3, clinching second place and home-field advantage in the first round. The Royals led 27-6 at halftime. The win snaps a five-game losing streak to the Indians dating back to 2014.
Dave Whitaker has the game story for The Bleckley Progress.
The Indians (4-6, 3-3) remain in fourth place in the region and should still qualify for the playoffs in what is considered a down year for the program under first-year coach Ken Cofer. Their regular season is over with their bye next week, and it’s their first losing regular season since 2013. They were a combined 20-3 the last two seasons including the playoffs.
There were also two major upsets of ranked teams on Friday: Jeff Davis beat No. 6 Swainsboro 21-14, and Northeast beat No. 9 Washington County 26-13 (see the bullet below for details on Washington County).
In Hazlehurst, the Swainsboro Tigers needed a win to clinch the region but unranked Jeff Davis — a 29-point underdog according to Maxwell’s projections — played the role of spoiler. The Tigers are now 7-2, 4-1 and fall into a tie for first with Metter (8-1, 4-1), which beat Vidalia 21-3 on Friday.
The good news for the Tigers is they hold the tiebreaker over Metter because they beat them 14-7 on Oct. 4. So, if they beat Toombs County (6-2, 3-2) next week, they’ll win the region for a second straight year. If they lose and Metter beats Jeff Davis (7-2, 3-2), then Metter wins the region.
However, there could be chaos in Region 2.
Vidalia (6-3, 3-2) is likely to beat Bacon County (1-8, 1-4), so if Swainsboro and Metter lose then Swainsboro, Metter, Toombs County and Vidalia will all be 4-2. In that event, Swainsboro coach Scott Roberts said there will be a discussion among the 2-AA coaches.
Roberts issued the following statement when asked about that scenario:
“In a three-way tie, it is point differential between the three teams — capped at 15 (points) for a game — to get the highest seed, then it goes back to head to head for the other two. I'm sure we'll have some clarification this week for four-way (tie).”
Correction: If Swainsboro and Metter lose, and Vidalia win, five teams will have 4-2 region records: Swainsboro, Metter, Vidalia, Toombs County and Jeff Davis, meaning there will be more teams than playoff spots. A conversation will be had to sort the mess, according to two region coaches.
ToombsNow has details of the Jeff Davis win, including a breakdown of the head-to-head matchups of the region’s top four teams.
Finally, Hapeville Charter and Jefferson County clinched their regions.
For No. 4 Hapeville Charter (7-1-1, 6-0 in Region 6), the 41-18 win over Washington served as a formality to what was a foregone conclusion: that the Hornets would win 6-AA for a fourth straight year.
In Louisville, the unranked Jefferson County Warriors rode a seven-game win streak to another region title after starting the season 0-2. They beat Westside-Augusta 41-7 for their second straight 4-AA title and their third region championship since 2015. The Warriors are 7-2, 7-0.
Here’s how the rest of the top 10 faired:
- Top-ranked Rockmart throttled Gordon Central 45-7 to move to 9-0, 6-0 in Region 7. Kevin Myrick has the game story for the Rome News-Tribune.
- On Thursday, the No. 2 Callaway Cavaliers made easy work of Jordan, winning their regular season finale 51-0 for their third consecutive shutout. Kevin Eckleberry has the story for The LaGrange Daily News.
- In non-league play, the No. 3 Dublin Fighting Irish hosted Florida’s Suwanee and beat them 77-48 to move to 9-0. The points total tied a program record set earlier this season, when they beat East Laurens 77-13 on Sept. 27. WMAZ has highlights.
- In Region 8, the No. 5 Rabun County Wildcats beat Oglethorpe County 49-0, improving to 9-0, 6-0. It was their first shutout of the season. AccessWDUN has details.
- The No. 8 Union County Panthers made easy work of Social Circle, 41-6, to move to 9-0, 6-0 in 8-AA, setting up the much-anticipated showdown with Rabun County next week, which will determine the region championship. AccessWDUN and Brett Fowler for The Walton Tribune have details.
- No. 9 Washington County lost Northeast 26-13 in Region 3. The Golden Hawks are 6-3, 4-2.
- On bye: No. 10 Thomasville
Follow the AJC’s Class AA coverage on Twitter.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.