Colquitt County running back Daijun Edwards (3) makes a move against McEachern defensive back Erwin Bryd (2) in the first half during the Corky Kell Classic game Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Photo: Jason Getz/For the AJC
Photo: Jason Getz/For the AJC

Ranking Georgia’s regions: 1-AAAAAAA, 3-AAAAAAA head the list

Two Georgia regions are among the best 10 football leagues in the country, MaxPreps recently reported. Regions 3 and 1 in Class AAAAAAA are the fifth- and sixth-best regions nationwide by MaxPreps' calculations. The local Maxwell Ratings also rank those regions 1-2 in Georgia, although Maxwell puts Region 1 higher.

Also interesting is that those two regions will play head-to-head in the first round of the playoffs. In fact, according to Maxwell, three of six classes that have pre-determined brackets will have their best two regions going against each other in the opening round. 

Matchups such as Camden County vs. Marietta, Troup vs. Blessed Trinity and Washington County vs. Brooks County are all potential first-rounders. 

Below are class-by-class rankings of Georgia regions and the four best teams in each, per Maxwell. The playoff brackets for the first round will pair regions 1 vs. 3, 2 vs. 4, 6 vs. 8 and 5 vs. 7. 

Class AAAAAAA 

As noted, the state's two best regions are paired in the playoffs. So are this classification's two weakest regions - 2 and 4. East Coweta and Westlake are projected to host and win first-round playoff games. Tift County, the 16th-rated team, stands only a 31.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, per Maxwell. That's because four-team regions are guaranteed only three playoff berths. The Blue Devils' difficult schedule will come back to haunt them unless they finish third or better. Maxwell expects the fifth-place team from Region 3 to get the at-large berth. That currently projects to be North Cobb, the No. 18 team in the class. 

1 - Lowndes (1), Colquitt Co. (2), Camden Co. (10), Tift Co. (16) 

3 - McEachern (3), Hillgrove (9), Marietta (12), North Paulding (15) 

8 - Grayson (4), Archer (7), Newton (13), Shiloh (25) 

6 - North Gwinnett (5), Mill Creek (8), Collins Hill (19), Mountain View (20) 

7 - Parkview (6), Norcross (22), Brookwood (31), Central Gwinnett (34) 

5 - Milton (11), South Forsyth (17), West Forsyth (26), North Forsyth (33) 

4 - Roswell (14), Walton (24), Etowah (27), Cherokee (29) 

2 - East Coweta (21), Westlake (23), Newnan (30), Pebblebrook (32) 

Class AAAAAA 

Region 1 is far and away the best region in this class. According to Maxwell, the average Region 1 team would be a 26-point favorite against the average team in the classification. Northside of Warner Robins is rated the No. 11 team in the class but fifth-best in the region and stands only a 49.9 percent chance of making the playoffs. Northside hasn't missed the playoffs since 1991. Region 6 is pretty tough, too. Its third-place finisher, currently seen as No. 7 Dalton, is projected to face No. 8 Lanier on the road in the first round. 

1 - Valdosta (1), Coffee (3), Lee Co. (4), Houston Co. (9) 

6 - Harrison (4), Allatoona (6), Dalton (7), Creekview (15) 

8 - Dacula (2), Lanier (8), Gainesville (29), Winder-Barrow (31) 

2 - Glynn Acad. (10), Brunswick (13), Rich. Hill (23), Effingham Co. (33) 

5 - South Paulding (14), Mays (17), Creekside (19), Douglas Co. (21) 

4 - Tucker (12), Stephenson (18), Lovejoy (26), M.L. King (32) 

7 - Johns Creek (16), Alpharetta (20), Pope (27), North Atlanta (34) 

3 - Evans (28), Grovetown (30), Lakeside (37), Heritage (44) 

Class AAAAA 

Nine of the highest-rated 11 teams are in regions 1, 4 and 7. That means teams the caliber of Stockbridge, Veterans and Kell could face road games in the first round. But those top regions aren't matched up against each other right away, so they'll still be favored to get through. Remember that state-champ Bainbridge won thee consecutive road playoff games last season. The only top-25 team projected to miss the playoffs is No. 25 Union Grove from Region 4. 

4 - Dutchtown (4), Jones Co. (5), Stockbridge (9), Ola (12) 

1 - War. Robins (1), Bainbridge (8), Veterans (11), Thomas Co. Cent. (19) 

7 - Carrollton (3), Rome (7), Kell (10), Hiram (22) 

2 - Ware Co. (6), South Effingham (14), Wayne Co. (15), Statesboro (17) 

8 - Buford (1), Clarke Central (13), Cedar Shoals (23), Loganville (40) 

3 - Griffin (16), Starr's Mill (18), Jonesboro (24), Riverdale (29) 

6 - Carver (20), Riverwood (28), Jackson (35), Banneker (39) 

5 - SW DeKalb (21), Columbia (31), Lithonia (42), Arabia Mountain (45) 

Class AAAA 

Region 7 was the "big two" when it was formed in 2016. No. 1-ranked Marist and two-time defending AAAA champion Blessed Trinity were joined last year by Flowery Branch (moved down in class) and Denmark (new school), and now it is AAAA's top league. And it will face AAAA's second-best region in the first round. Denmark, currently undefeated, could face Cartersville in the first round. Flowery Branch might play at Sandy Creek, or Troup at Blessed Trinity. The best team that won't make the playoffs, according to Maxwell, is No. 21 Cedartown, which Maxwell believes could win Region 6. 

7 - Marist (1), Blessed Trinity (3), Flowery Branch (7), Denmark (13) 

5 - Cartersville (2), Sandy Creek (5), Troup (10), Chapel Hill (12) 

2 - West Laurens (8), Howard (14), Mary Persons (17), Perry (22) 

3 - Burke Co. (6), Thomson (15), Baldwin (23), Richmond Academy (35) 

4 - Woodward Acd. (4), Eastside (20), Hampton (41), McDonough (43) 

8 - Oconee Co. (11), St. Pius (16), North Oconee (19), Madison Co. (30) 

1 - Cairo (9), Carver (18), Westover (25), Hardaway (31) 

6 - Northwest Whitfield (26), Ridgeland (29), Heritage (37), Pickens (38) 

Class AAA 

This class is well-balanced. Every top-25 team should make the playoffs. Seven of the eight regions have at least one top-10 team, and the one that doesn't usually does. That's Region 6. Calhoun is not currently a top-10 team for the first time this decade. Region 5 is historically strong in the playoffs. Expect a team such as Westminster or Lovett to get the No. 3 seed and threaten a Dawson County or North Hall. Note that four-team Region 1 is guaranteed only three playoff berths. According to Maxwell, Adairsville or another Region 6 team is in the best position to snag the wild card. 

5 - Cedar Grove (1), Westminster (6), Lovett (7), Pace Academy (16) 

2 - Pierce Co. (3), Liberty Co. (11), Appling Co. (15), Brantley Co. (35) 

4 - Peach Co. (2), Westside (18), Jackson (20), Central (29) 

7 - GAC (4), Dawson Co. (19), North Hall (23), Fannin Co. (26) 

8 - Jefferson (9), Hart Co. (12), Morgan Co. (21), Monroe Area (22) 

3 - Benedictine (8), Jenkins (10), Islands (17), Southeast Bulloch (30) 

1 - Crisp Co. (5), Monroe (27), Cook (31), Worth Co. (37) 

6 - North Murray (13), Calhoun (14), Haralson Co. (24), Sonoraville (25) 

Class AA 

This is another classification that will see its best two regions squaring off in the first round. Dodge County and Bleckley County are top-12 teams, according to Maxwell, and either could face Fitzgerald or Brooks County in the first round. The eight regions are well-balanced, though. Only Region 4 doesn't have one of Maxwell's top-10 teams, but No. 14 Jefferson County is ranked No. 10 by GHSF Daily. The highest-ranked team that won't make the playoffs, according to Maxwell, is No. 21 Northeast of Macon from Region 3. 

3 - Dublin (3), Washington Co. (9), Dodge Co. (10), Bleckley Co. (12) 

1 - Fitzgerald (7), Brooks Co. (8), Thomasville (15), Early Co. (26) 

5 - Callaway (5), Bremen (13), Heard Co. (23), Lamar Co. (29) 

8 - Rabun Co. (2), Union Co. (11), Elbert Co. (24), Putnam Co. (41) 

2 - Swainsboro (6), Vidalia (18), Metter (19), Jeff Davis (20) 

7 - Rockmart (1), Pepperell (16), Chattooga (31), Model (43) 

6 - Hapeville (4), Douglass (17), South Atlanta (30), Washington (35) 

4 - Jefferson Co. (14), Hephzibah (22), Screven Co. (25), Harlem (33) 

Class A 

The Class A playoff brackets are determined by GHSA power ratings, and public and private schools are separated. But for the purpose of assessing region strength, the top four teams are listed, and public and private schools are ranked together. Next season, 64 of them will make the playoffs instead of the current 48. 

5 - ELCA (2), Holy Innocents' (3), Wesleyan (6), Trinity Christian (16) 

2 - Irwin Co. (1), Clinch Co. (4), Wilcox Co. (13), Turner Co. (31) 

8 - Athens Academy (5), Prince Avenue (8), Commerce (11), Hebron (15) 

6 - Darlington (7), Fellowship (9), Bowdon (14), Christ. Heritage (21) 

3 - Sav. Christian (12), Calvary Day (18), SCD (27), McIntosh Co. (32) 

7 - Aquinas (17), Lincoln Co. (22), Mount de Sales (29), Stratford (40) 

4 - Manchester (20), Marion Co. (28), Brookstone (33), Schley Co. (38) 

1 - Pelham (10), Mitchell Co. (19), Terrell Co. (49), Chatt. Co. (52) 

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