Class 5A Blog: How the playoffs look at the halfway mark

The high school football season has reached the halfway point. Most of the teams that started the season with ten games on the schedule have played half of them. Now, with the region portion of the schedule just getting underway, it’s time to take a look at how each league in Class 5A is stacking up and who has the inside tract to the playoffs.

And just in case you want to start composing mental brackets, the first-round playoff pairings has Region 1 vs. 4, Region 2 vs. 3, Region 5 vs. 8, and Region 6 vs. 7.

Note: The analysis below is for information purposes only. No wagering, please.

Region 1: This is the final week for non-region games in this powerhouse conference. Four of the teams are ranked: No. 1 Ware County, No. 3 Warner Robins, No. 6 Coffee and No. 5 Veterans. And Wayne County began the year in the top 10. The members of this region have each played a challenging schedule and the real fun begins next week when they start head-to-head play. It is unfortunate that a good team is going to miss postseason. No guess on who that might be.

Region 2: Starr’s Mill and Griffin should determine first place when they meet on Oct. 30. But Harris County gave Starr’s Mill a handful and still has to play Griffin. Northside Columbus and Northgate will also be heard from over the next month.

Region 3: Woodward Academy struggled with some difficult non-region foes, but should feast in this uneven league. Creekside has lost to two ranked teams and may be the only real roadblock for the War Eagles. Jonesboro and Tri-Cities are starting to look like potential playoff teams and Mundy’s Mill has played a difficult non-league schedule.

Region 4: This league has plenty of playoff depth, meaning a couple of solid teams will get left at the altar. All eyes are on No. 8 Ola, which entered the state rankings for the first time and already has a win over Dutchtown. The Mustangs are trying to break the headlock that Stockbridge and Dutchtown has had on the region championship. Jones County endured a killer non-region schedule, hammered Stockbridge and appears to be headed for a first-place showdown with Ola on Oct. 30. Dutchtown and Stockbridge are perennial playoff teams, but Union Grove and Woodland are improved and could surprise.

Region 5: Defending region champion Southwest DeKalb, St. Pius and Decatur are three good football teams who have overcome various fits and starts. SWD plays St. Pius this week and that outcome will help determine which way the dominos will fall. The scramble for the fourth spot should be interesting, with Stone Mountain and King clearing up some of the fog when they meet this week.

Region 6: This league is as stable as water. Expect plenty of ups and downs and surprises. The playoff order isn’t likely to be determined until the final minutes of the final game of the final week. This week’s game between Villa Rica and Chapel Hill will set a tone for the rest of the season.

Region 7: This is the other power conference, with three teams inside the top 10: No. 2 Blessed Trinity, No. 4 Cartersville and No. 5 Calhoun. Blessed Trinity plays both those big games on the road. Calhoun has both those big games at home. Cass and Woodland are both trying to reverse long playoff droughts – Cass hasn’t been to postseason since 2006 and Woodland hasn’t been since 1999.

Region 8: Clarke Central – with its freshly turfed Billy Henderson field – remains the favorite to repeat as the region champion. Eastside has lost only to Newton and may be the main contender. More will be determined this week when the Eagles travel to Death Valley this week to challenge Clarke. Greenbrier, Jackson County, Loganville and surprising Walnut Grove are others in the hunt.

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