Class 5A blog: A quick look at the playoff landscape

Region championship on the line: Creekside vs. Woodward
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Region championship on the line: Creekside vs. Woodward

The playoff brackets are set and there’s one thing for certainty: Warner Robins and Cartersville, the two teams who played for the state title last year, will not do it again.

In fact, those teams could end up meeting in the second round.

If Warner Robins wins its first-round game with Jonesboro and if Cartersville wins its opener with Lithia Springs, the two finalists from last year will clash in the Round of 16 game at Cartersville’s Sam Weinman Stadium. If there such a thing as high school scalpers, this could be a windfall.

Cartersville earned the opportunity host such a game by virtue of its Region 8 championship. The other region titlists were Ware County, Whitewater, Woodward Academy, Jones County, St. Pius, Villa Rica and Clarke Central.

There were no real surprises in the final week of the season.

There were four winner-take-all showdowns on Friday night.

Region 2: Whitewater won its ninth straight game and its first region title since 2012 by beating Harris County 40-20.

Region 3: Woodward Academy held off Creekside 21-14 to take the title. The outcome wasn’t decided until Woodward’s River Hanson intercepted a pass that had been tipped by teammate Deon King Jr. The War Eagles claimed their sixth region title over the last eight seasons.

Region 4: Jones County overcame a 13-0 deficit and beat Dutchtown 21-13 to win its second straight region title.

Region 5: St. Pius spotted Decatur three points and reeled off 34 straight in a 34-9 win that gave the Golden Lions the title. Luke Jacobellis scored twice and Shug Bentley and Joseph Brewer each ran for a score and James Kirkland posted a 30-yard pick-six.

First-round matchups

As usual, there are few first-round games that look promising. There are a few exceptions to the rule. Here are five opening-round games that bear watching:

· Coffee at Creekside: This is a rare first-round game that features two ranked teams: Creekside is No. 2 and Coffee is No. 7

· Eastside at New Manchester: This should be a good contest between a pair of talented teams who have playoff experience and success.

· Blessed Trinity at Southwest DeKalb: Blessed Trinity is forced to hit the road after losing regular-season games to Cartersville and Calhoun. SWD was able to earn a home game by its win over Decatur.

· Union Grove at Starr’s Mill: Starr’s Mill benefited from the tiebreaker and earned the No. 2 seed. Now the Panthers get a chance to avenge a regular-season loss to Union Grove.

· Decatur at Calhoun: No. 6 Calhoun is coming off an idle week (all teams in Region 7 were off last week) and gets a talented Decatur team that was state-ranked until losing its two final regular-season games.

A look at the brackets:

Upper left quadrant: Coffee at Creekside, Cass at St. Pius, Lithia Springs at Apalachee, Ola at Whitewater.

Bottom left quadrant: Jonesboro at Warner Robins, Lithonia at Cartersville, Eastside at New Manchester, Griffin at Jones County.

Top right quadrant: Harris County at Dutchtown, Jackson County at Villa Rica, Blessed Trinity at SW DeKalb, Veterans at Woodward Academy.

Bottom right quadrant: Union Grove at Starr’s Mill, Maynard Jackson at Clarke Central, Decatur at Calhoun, Banneker at Ware County.

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