Class AA blog: What to watch in Week 12

Before we jump into the preview capsules for the final week of the regular season, here’s an update on Region 2:

In the event of a five-way tie, all coaches — including from eliminated teams Bacon County and Bryan County — will vote on whether to use mini-games or points differential to settle tiebreakers. 

When reached for comment, GHSA associate director Kevin Giddens said the association will let the region decide how it wants to handle the five-way tie.

The original plan all along was to have mini-games, because the decision reached a year ago amongst region coaches was that, in the event there were more teams than playoff spots, that would be the tiebreaker. However, when that decision was reached, it wasn’t with the scenario of a five-way tie in mind. 

Now, some region coaches are concerned that five teams playing mini-games will beat up the region ahead of the playoffs. In that case, whichever team winds up with the No. 4 seed will have played three mini-games — nearly the equivalent of a full game. In other words, they will have essentially played two games in a three-day span before resting five days for Round 1, which would be played Saturday.

Vidalia coach Lee Chomskis finalized the format for potential mini-games on Thursday, making sure no team played more than three. 

Should the region vote against mini-games and use points differential, below are the points differential standings heading into Friday. Keep in mind that margin of victory/defeat is capped at 15 points, and that games against Bryan County and Bacon County are excluded since those teams have already been eliminated from postseason play. 

1) Metter 17

2) Swainsboro 12

3) Toombs County 3 

4) Vidalia minus-9

5) Jeff Davis minus-23

As you can see, using point differential to settle the tie puts Jeff Davis in a tough position because it’d need to beat a very tough Metter team by 15 points. If the Jackets won by 14, they’d be tied in point differential with Vidalia — the Indians are the only team that’s played the other four so their point differential will remain unchanged through Friday — and so the Indians would move on because they beat Jeff Davis head to head.

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Rabun County Wildcatsat Union County Panthers*

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Records, rankings: Rabun County is 9-0 overall, 6-0 in Region 8-AA and No. 5; Union County is 9-0, 6-0 and No. 7.

Last meeting: Rabun County won 56-28 in 2018.

Maxwell’s projection: Rabun County by 22

Notes: Like last year, this game matches two undefeated teams playing for the Region 8-AA championship. Rabun County quarterback Gunner Stockton passed for 279 yards, ran for 95 yards and accounted for six touchdowns in the Wildcats' victory last season. Stockton, rated by 247Sports as the No. 1 quarterback and No. 2 player overall among sophomores nationally, is the leading passer in Class AA with 2,399 yards and 35 touchdowns and has rushed for a team-high 669 yards and 11 scores. Braxton Hicks (38 catches, 780 yards, eight touchdowns), Sam Adams (29-454-12) and Sutton Jones (31-404-5) are the leading receivers. The Wildcats average 48.2 points and haven't had a game this season decided by fewer than 21 points. Union County's Pierson Allison, the second-leading passer in AA, leads an offense that averages 300.7 yards passing, 226.7 yards rushing and 44.7 points. Allison has passed for 2,361 yards and 26 touchdowns and run for 348 yards and six scores. The Panthers also have a 1,000-yard rusher (Jonah Daniel, 1,254 yards, 14 touchdowns) and a receiver closing in on 1,000 (Sawyer Drake, 958 yards, nine TDs).

*Courtesy of GHSF Daily

Toombs County Bulldogs at Swainsboro Tigers

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Tiger Stadium, Swainsboro

Records, rankings: Toombs County is 6-2, 3-2 in Region 2 and unranked; Swainsboro is 7-2, 4-1 and ranked No. 10

Last meeting: Swainsboro won 21-20 in 2018.

Maxwell’s projection: Swainsboro by 13

Notes: Despite all the region tiebreaker scenarios being discussed ad nauseam, the Tigers — just like last week when they lost to Jeff Davis — control their own destiny. All they have to do is beat the Bulldogs and Region 2 is theirs for the second year in a row. Last week’s stunning loss snapped a six-game win streak. They’ll want to get back on track with a win not only to avoid a potential five-way tie, but to also have some momentum going into the playoffs along with hosting the first two rounds. The Tigers and Bulldogs are 1-1 against each other the past two seasons, with last year’s game a nail-biter. In that game, the Bulldogs scored a touchdown inside the game’s final minute and went for a 2-point conversion to take the lead but failed. The Bulldogs come into this game fresh off a bye. Before that, they beat Jeff Davis 31-0 for their third shutout in their last four games. In fact, going back further, five of Toombs County’s wins have been shutouts, including Twiggs County (14-0), Hancock Central (24-0), Bacon County (38-0) and Bryan County (62-0). Swainsboro is led by senior quarterback Kade Youmans (92-of-163 passing for 1,459 yards and 21 touchdowns to five interceptions), junior running back Robert Allen (680 rushing yards, seven touchdowns on 110 carries) and junior receiver Cedric Seabrough (40 receptions for 558 and 10 touchdowns). The Bulldogs are led by senior quarterback Trey Cloud (69-of-105 passing for 910 yards and eight touchdowns to five interceptions), junior running back Derrick Mincey (630 yards and eight touchdowns on 89 carries) and junior receiver Chandler Lynn (17 catches for 281 yards and four touchdowns).

Model Blue Devils at Rockmart Yellow Jackets

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, The Rock, Rockmart

Records, rankings: Model is 5-4, 5-1 in Region 7 and unranked; Rockmart is 9-0, 6-0 and No. 1.

Last meeting: Rockmart won 61-6 in 2018.

Maxwell’s projection: Rockmart by 39

Notes: Throw out team records, rankings, Maxwell’s projection and the fact Model hasn’t beaten Rockmart since 2001. If the Blue Devils shock the world and beat Rockmart, and Chattooga beats Pepperell, the Blue Devils would be region champions. It would be their first region title since 1979, the last time they won a state championship. Or, if Model shocks the world with a win and Pepperell also wins, there will be a three-way tie for first place between Model, Rockmart and Pepperell, all at 6-1. In that event, Model will have beaten Rockmart but lost to Pepperell, and Pepperell will have beaten Model but lost to Rockmart. The tiebreaker would be the number of total victories of the non-region opponents each team beat. Rockmart beat Cedartown, Central-Carrollton and Heard County, which have a combined 11 wins with one game each remaining. Pepperell beat Pickens and Heritage-Ringgold, which have a combined 13 wins with only Heritage having one game left. Model was 0-3 in region play. If the non-region standings hold, Peperrell would take first. After first-place is determined, head-to-head is applied and since Model beat Rockmart, Model would take the No. 2 seed and the Jackets, despite all of their success, would become playoff road warriors. However, if two of Cedartown, Central-Carrollton or Heard County win and Heritage loses, both Rockmart and Pepperell with still be tied as both of their non-region opponents will have combined for 13 wins. In that event, Model would take third place since it has no non-region wins, and Rockmart would take first place because of its head-to-head win over Pepperell. Rockmart could also take first place if loses and the three non-region opponents they beat win and Heritage loses.

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