Union County Panthers at Athens Academy Spartans
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Records: Union County is 7-1, 3-0 in Region 8; Athens Academy is 6-2, 2-1.
Last meeting: Athens Academy won 14-10 in 1995.
Watch the game: NFHS Network
Maxwell’s projection: Athens Academy by 12
Notes: These teams met as region opponents for four seasons from 1992-95 and haven’t played before or since. The Spartans went 4-0. If Union County wins, it will play Fellowship Christian for the Region 8 title. If Athens Academy wins, they’ll take the No. 2 seed and the Panthers hit the road as the No. 3 seed. The Panthers could also lose to Athens Friday, then beat Fellowship Christian to create a 3-way tie for first place, with Fellowship beating Athens, Athens beating Union and Union beating Fellowship. The Region 8 tiebreaker procedure is plus-minus 12 points and, with two games remaining, Fellowship hold a 13-point lead over the next-closest team, Union...The Panthers edged East Jackson last week, 21-17, to clinch a playoff spot and extend their streak of postseason appearances to five, which is the longest run in program history. That topped their streak of four straight from 2013-2016. They’ve also clinched their first winning season since 2019, when they went 10-2 and won the program’s first playoff game. The Panthers’ only region titles came in 1972 and 1973...After losing to Fellowship Christian on Oct. 14, the Spartans trailed Banks County last week 13-7 with 9:49 left in the first quarter, but put up 49 points between then and halftime, shut out the Leopards the rest of the way and won 70-13.
Berrien Rebels at Dodge County Indians
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Memorial Stadium at John M. Peacock Field, Eastman
Records: Berrien is 5-3, 2-2 in Region 1; Dodge County is 4-5, 3-2.
Last meeting: Dodge County won 24-6 in 1969.
Maxwell’s projection: Dodge County by 7
Notes: Between 1957 and 1969, these teams met five times for their only meetings, and tied the series 2-2-1. This will be the season finale for the Indians, who are in fourth place but can move into third with a win and a Cook loss to Fitzgerald Friday. If the fifth-place Rebels beat Dodge County, however, they’ll swap places with the Indians, take fourth place and the Indians’ streak of consecutive playoff appearances ends at 10...At first, it appeared this would be a lost season for the Indians after they started 0-2, which turned to 1-5 after they lost their first two region games to Fitzgerald and Worth County. Since then, however, they’ve won three straight. First, they beat region bottom feeders Sumter County and Jeff Davis, then last week they stunned undefeated and No. 3 Cook, 47-37, on the road to salvage their season and keep their playoff hopes alive...Should Berrien lose, they’ll be eliminated from the playoffs — even if they were to somehow beat Fitzgerald next week in what would easily be the biggest shocker of the 2022 Georgia high school football season.
Laney Wildcats at Putnam County War Eagles
When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, War Eagle Stadium, Eatonton
Records, rankings: Laney is 7-1, 4-1 in Region 4; Putnam County is 6-2, 4-1 and No. 9.
Last meeting: Putnam County won 13-6 in 2021.
Watch the game: NFHS Network
Maxwell’s projection: Putnam County by 7
Notes: The playoff field for Region 4 is already set, with Thomson, Laney, Putnam County and Washington County making the cut. Since first-place Thomson already beat both the Wildcats and War Eagles, this game should determine second place and home-field advantage in the first round of the state playoffs, assuming both teams win their final games. The loser would take third place, though if the War Eagles lose again on Nov. 4 to Washington County (3-2 in league play), which has been playing better the last two weeks, they’d drop to fourth. Laney came within a point of beating Thomson, with 15-14 the final score. Thomson beat Putnam County 27-3 last week...The Wildcats have won four straight since the Thompson loss and a win here could earn them a spot in the top 10, where they haven’t been since 2012, when they were ranked No. 8 for one week....Aside from Thomson, the War Eagles’ only other loss was 20-0 to 3A’s No. 5 Oconee County on Sept. 2.
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Credit: Ben Hendren for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution