Class 2A blog: What to watch — Week 12

We’ve made it to the final week of the regular season. On Tuesday, I broke down the region standings, possible scenarios for playoff seeding and the tiebreaker procedures of each region where it may come into play, so those procedures won’t be re-explained in the previews below.

Also, Episode 11 of The Class 2A Blogcast is live. This week I look at how the GHSA’s delayed start to the season led to the state playoffs beginning the week of Thanksgiving and ending the week of Christmas. Oh, and I also rip on the Falcons, Braves and Hawks. You can listen and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio and other platforms. Thanks for listening!

OK, onto the previews...

Columbia Eagles vs. South Atlanta Hornets

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Lakewood Stadium, Atlanta

Records, rankings: Columbia is 3-2, 2-2 in Region 6 and unranked; South Atlanta is 6-3, 5-0 and unranked.

Last meeting: Columbia won 31-6 in 2005.

Watch the game: NFHS Network

Maxwell’s projection: South Atlanta by 7

Notes: With a win, the Hornets will be region champions for the first time in a program history that dates back to 1994. A loss, however, and the Washington Bulldogs are region champions, assuming they beat Towers on Thursday, as 31-point favorites according to Maxwell’s projections. In that event, South Atlanta would flip a coin with Lovett to decide which takes the No. 2 seed, meaning there’s a chance the Hornets hit the road for the playoffs as a No. 3 seed. There are other scenarios involving COVID-19 cancellations that could force the region to fall back on its tiebreaker procedure, a complex point system that could award any one of Lovett, Washington or South Atlanta the region title or the No. 2 or 3 seed. Pace Academy is locked into the No. 4 seed no matter what.

CORRECTION (7:44 p.m., Nov. 19) — If Columbia wins and Pace Academy loses to KIPP or the Pace Academy-KIPP game is canceled due to COVID-19 — regardless of which team cancels — Columbia will take the No. 4 seed.

Heard County Braves at Callaway Cavaliers

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Callaway Stadium, LaGrange

Records, rankings: Heard County is 6-3, 2-1 in Region 5 and unranked; Callaway is 6-1, 2-1 and No. 9.

Last meeting: Callaway won 34-0 in 2019.

Watch the game: NFHS Network

Maxwell’s projection: Callaway by 12

Notes: If the Braves win, they are region champions for the third time in the last four years and sixth time since 2012. They’ve see-sawed their way through the season to this point, winning their first four, then losing three in a row, and now they’ve won their last two. They lost 34-28 in overtime to Temple in their region opener on Oct. 23 — a Temple team that’s the odd team out of the playoffs in a five-team region — then turned around and beat Haralson County 26-12 their next game, then beat Bremen 21-14 last week. Which Braves team shows up Friday likely decides how the rest of the region plays out. The Cavs, meanwhile, cling to a glimmer of hope to win their second region title in a row. Not only will they need to win, but the’ll need Bremen to beat Haralson County on Friday. If both the Cavs and Haralson County win, the Cavs are the No. 2 seed.

Haralson County Rebels at Bremen Blue Devils

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Bremen Athletic Field

Records, rankings: Haralson County is 7-1, 2-1 in Region 5 and No. 8; Bremen is 5-4, 1-2 and unranked.

Last meeting: Bremen won 38-14 in 2017.

Watch the game: NFHS Network

Maxwell’s projection: Haralson County by 7

Notes: If both the Rebels and Callaway win on Friday, the Rebels are region champions for the first time in a program history that dates back to 1968. Should Bremen and Callaway win, then Bremen, Callaway, Haralson County and Heard County will be in a four-way tie for first place at 2-2. In that event Callaway is region champion and Haralson County would be anywhere between a No. 2-4 seed due to the region’s tiebreaker procedure, which is dependent on the win total and classification of the non-region opponents each 5-2A team has beaten. The Rebels kept their region title hopes alive by beating Callaway 36-29 on Nov. 10, playing on short rest after losing 26-12 to Heard County on Nov. 5. The Blue Devils, who can do no better than a No. 3 seed, are in the playoffs because they won a gutsy gamble against Temple on Nov. 6, completing a 2-point conversion at the end of the game to win 15-14. They lost 26-16 to Callaway on Oct. 30 and 21-14 to Heard County last week.

Banks County Leopards at Elbert County Blue Devils

When, where: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Granite Bowl, Elberton

Records, rankings: Banks County is 1-8, 0-2 in Region 8 and unranked; Elbert County is 2-5, 1-1 and unranked.

Last meeting: Elbert County won 48-13 in 2019.

Maxwell’s projection: Elbert County by 22

Notes: On paper, this game doesn’t seem relevant based on each team’s record and Maxwell’s projection. However, the game does have major tournament seeding implications for Region 8. Should the Leopards pull off a major upset and beat the Blue Devils by 14 or more points, they’ll jump from a No. 4 seed all the way to No. 2, where they’ll be in position to host in the first round. They only other time they earned the opportunity was 2016 as a No. 2 seed but their opponent, KIPP, voluntarily forfeited to rob the Leopards the chance to host a playoff game for the first time in a program history that dates back to 1958. If the Blue Devils win, it creates a three-way tie for second place between them, Elbert County and Union County at 2-2. Based on the 8-2A tiebreaker procedure, the Blue Devils take the No. 2 seed with a 14-plus-point win and the No. 3 seed if they win between 10-13 points, which is the only scenario that Union County becomes a No. 4 seed. Anything less than a 10-point win and Banks County remains the No. 4 seed. Elbert County stays the No. 2 seed with a win or a loss of 12 points or less.

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