Regions 1, 2 and 3 to kick off league play this week

The three regions in Class AAAAAA that haven’t begun region play will get it under way this weekend, so virtually every game in the classification for the remainder of the regular season will have big playoff implications.

Richmond Hill will travel to Brunswick and Bradwell Institute will play at Effingham County in the Region 2 openers. The Region 3 games include Alcovy at Grovetown, Evans at Lakeside-Evans and Greenbrier at Heritage-Conyers.

Region 1 also gets started, and that means at least one huge game every week, considering four of its five teams are ranked in the top six in Class AAAAAA. This region, considered by many to be the state’s best in any classification, has provided the past two state champions – Lee County in 2017 and Valdosta in 2016.

Here are six Class AAAAAA games to keep an eye on this weekend:

*Allatoona at Harrison: Allatoona's streak of eight consecutive playoff berths appeared at risk after it lost to Creekview in the Region 6 opener, but those concerns have eased as both teams have continued to win. The Buccaneers are in third place and would move up to at least second by beating No. 3 Harrison (6-0, 4-0). The Hoyas beat Allatoona 27-10 last year and won the region title.

*Apalachee at Dacula: Apalachee broke a 20-game losing streak in region games when it beat Winder-Barrow 7-6 in the Region 8 opener last week. Another win might be enough to get the Wildcats into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. It could happen, but it will be a tall order for Apalachee this week. Dacula is the two-time defending region champion and beat the Wildcats 49-13 in 2017.

*Coffee at Northside-Warner Robins: Coffee was the runner-up in Region 1 last season and Northside finished in third place. Neither can afford a loss if it hopes to dethrone defending region and state champion Lee County, which looks stronger than ever this season. Coffee beat Northside 14-12 last year, its first victory ever against the Eagles. Coffee is ranked No. 2, and Northside is No. 6.

*Evans at Lakeside-Evans: Evans has had as rough a start as any defending champion in the state, losing its five non-region games by a combined score of 151-66. The Knights open region play against a Lakeside team that was 0-5 at the midway point last year but rallied to earn a playoff berth despite a 2-8 regular-season record. Evans leads the series 17-8-1 and beat the Panthers 41-0 last year.

*Mays at Douglas County: Mays has won 19 consecutive region games, including a 35-3 win over Douglas County last year that decided the Region 5 title, as neither lost another game in region play. They are the only remaining Region 5 teams that are unbeaten in league play. Douglas County's 10-2 season in 2017 was its best since 2005. Tigers are seeking their first region title since 2002.

*Pope at Johns Creek: Pope earned a playoff berth in Region 7 last year despite starting the season 0-3. The Greyhounds could be on a similar path this year, climbing into contention with two consecutive victories after an 0-4 start. A loss to first place Johns Creek wouldn't knock Pope out of the race, but a win would make it a serious playoff contender. Johns Creek won the region title in 2016.


Worth noting: Georgia High School Football Daily has more complete previews of some of this weekend's games involving Class AAAAAA teams. Click here to read more about Douglas County-Mays and Coffee-Northside.