Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Parkview, Roswell usher change of guard to high class

Three reigning region champions - Brookwod, Walton and Lowndes - went down on Friday night in Class AAAAAAA. 

It’s what makes the highest classification fun.

Despite only 48 teams and regions ranging in size from just four to seven teams, there’s enough parity and balance to provide a fresh set of faces claiming region championships each year. 

There’s a decent chance that six of the eight champions will be new.

We might even know all eight No. 1 seeds after next week’s games. Big games loom as region-leaders Marietta and Hillgrove face off in Region 3 and Tift County and Colquitt County in Region 1. 

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Let’s take these likely new region champs one at a time:

*Parkview beat defending Region 7 champ Brookwood 31-2 on Friday. Parkview, ranked No. 4, is now 8-0 overall, 4-0 in region play. The Panthers can clinch the region next week with a victory over Meadowcreek (6-2, 2-2). Parkview hasn’t won a region title since 2004, nor gone 10-0 since 2002, the year of the Panthers’ last state title. 

*Roswell beat defending Region 4 champ Walton 32-31 on a two-point try in the final two minutes. Roswell (7-1, 3-0) can clinch the region next week with a victory over Woodstock (3-5, 1-2). Roswell was 3-7 last season after those back-to-back 14-1 finishes in 2015 and 2016. Walton entered this game ranked No. 2. 

*Tift County (6-2, 1-0) is now the primary challenger in Region 1 to No. 1-ranked Colquitt County (7-0, 1-0) after beating Lowndes 21-17. Tift and Colquitt play each other next week in Tifton. (Lowndes still has hope of a three-way tie, but it doesn’t seem likely.)

*Milton (6-2, 3-0) beat defending champion South Forsyth last week and can clinch Region 5 with a victory next week against Lambert (3-5, 0-3). 

*Grayson (6-2, 3-0) beat defending champion Archer last week and can clinch Region 8 with a victory next week over South Gwinnett (4-4, 2-1). 

*Hillgrove (8-0, 3-0) and Marietta (4-4, 3-0) will play each other next week at Hillgrove for the region title. Hillgrove is the defending champ. Don’t let Marietta’s record deceive anyone. Those losses came against elite opponents, and Marietta beat Hillgrove 28-17 last season.

Only two defending champions are safe: 

*North Gwinnett clinched Region 6 on Friday with a 41-0 victory over Duluth. 

*Westlake (6-2, 3-0) is a shoo-in for its fifth straight region title after a 47-21 victory over Newnan (4-4, 2-1) on Friday. Westlake needs to beat either Wheeler (6-2, 1-2) or Campbell (1-7, 0-3) to close the deal in Region 2. 

And if you’re curious, here would be the quarterfinal state-playoff matchups if the region champions advance through two rounds: 

*Grayson vs. Westlake 

*Milton vs. Hillgrove/Marietta 

*Parkview vs. Roswell 

*North Gwinnett vs. Colquitt County/Tift County (or Lowndes)

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