Teams shoot for perfection, others aim to avoid winless season

Southwest DeKalb’s Aquil Muhammad makes a great catch against Arabia Mountain. (Photo - Mark Brock)

Southwest DeKalb’s Aquil Muhammad makes a great catch against Arabia Mountain. (Photo - Mark Brock)

Rome has already completed its second straight undefeated season. But there are still three Class AAAAA teams – Wayne County, Dutchtown and Southwest DeKalb -- that have a chance to finish without a loss.

Rome finished 1-0 after last week’s 62-7 win over Villa Rica. The two-time defending state champions have won 37 straight games. The Wolves won the Region 7 title for the third consecutive year.

The other three schools still have some lifting to do before they can chalk up a perfect season.

Southwest DeKalb plays old rival Columbia in the season finale. The Panthers (9-0) jumped over a huge hurdle last week when they beat two-time region champion Arabia Mountain with a late touchdown. That secured the first region title for SWD since 2009. A win this week would give the Panthers their first 10-0 campaign since 1999, the middle of a three-year stretch that saw them got 28-2 during the regular season.

Dutchtown's defense will have a test when it visits high-scoring Locust Grove in the season finale. The Bulldogs (9-0) last week ensured themselves of the Region 4 title, the first since the school began playing football in 2004. Dutchtown's previous brush with an unbeaten season came in 2010 when their loss game in the eighth week against Griffin. That game determined the Region 3 title that year and Dutchtown still won two playoff games before being bounced.

Wayne County could finish unbeaten and win the Region 2 championship with the same victory against Ware County. The Yellow Jackets (9-0) have won 14 region championship and are the defending league champions. The Yellow Jackets had their last perfect season in 1993 under Paul Conner and went on to reach the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. They went 8-0-2 in 1959 and 6-0-1 in 1926.

On the other side of the coin, three teams need a victory this week to avoid finishing 0-10. (Cross Keys and Clarkston have not won, either, but those schools play a non-region schedule.)

Fayette County will host rival Starr's Mill in the season finale. It promises to be a difficult task, since Starr's Mill has already clinched the Region 3 title and has won five straight games. Fayette County (0-9) hasn't been getting steamrolled all season, but has been hampered by a lack of offense. The Tigers have been shutout four times and been held to single digits in six games. Fayette County has never gone winless since it began playing football in 1951.

Chamblee has played an extremely difficult schedule (Lowndes and Coffee were non-region foes) and have not been able to score very often. Chamblee gets one more crack at it this week against playoff-bound Miller Grove. The Bulldogs have not put more than seven points on the board all season and have been blanked four times. Chamblee went 0-10 in 1957, its only previous winless season.

Paulding County has the misfortune of playing in perhaps the toughest region in the state. The Patriots have a chance to avoid a winless season if they can go on the road and beat Cass (1-8). Paulding hasn't been able to pick off any of the middle-rung teams this season, losing close games to Hiram and Woodland. The program has suffered through two previous winless seasons, going 0-10 in 1969 and 1972.