Class 6A blog: Four games that will have big playoff implications

Five of the eight Class 6A region championships and at least 24 of the 32 playoff berths have already been clinched heading into the final weekend of the high school football regular season.

Woodward Academy, Marist, Hughes, Rome and Gainesville clinched region titles with victories last week. The other three championships will be decided Friday night in winner-take-all battles between the top two teams in Region 1 (Thomas County Central at Northside-Warner Robins), Region 2 (Effingham County at Brunswick) and Region 7 (Roswell at Alpharetta).

The playoff picture is clear in four of the eight regions, but the other four have a lot to work out. Here’s a look at the four regions with complicated playoff scenarios:

Region 1

*Pivotal game: Thomas County Central at Northside-Warner Robins (Friday)

*Scenarios: The winner of the Thomas County Central-Northside game will be the region champion. Thomas County Central would be the runner-up with a loss. If Northside loses, it will finish in a tie with Lee County and Houston County, assuming they win their final games (the computer Maxwell Ratings project Lee County as a 40-point favorite over Tift County and Houston County as a 23-point favorite over Veterans). In that case, Houston County would finish with the No. 4 seed (most points allowed in games only between tied teams), and Northside would get the No. 2 spot over Lee County because of its head-to-head victory. Fifth-place Veterans still has a shot of making the postseason if it can pull off the upset of Houston County.

Region 2

*Pivotal game: South Effingham at Evans (Friday)

*Scenarios: Brunswick and Effingham County will decide the top two seeds when they meet for the region championship at Glynn County Stadium, and Glynn Academy will be the No. 3 team. South Effingham can clinch fourth place with a victory over Evans. If Lakeside-Evans loses to Glynn Academy, fourth place will go to the winner of the South Effingham-Evans games. The complication comes in if Lakeside and Evans both win. That would create a tie for fourth place that includes South Effingham, Evans and Lakeside, with all three teams 1-1 against each other. The next tiebreaker, according to the region secretary, is points allowed (up to a maximum of 25) in games between the tied teams. Lakeside gave up 45 against Evans and South Effingham and has no path to get in the playoffs, and South Effingham has an eight-point advantage over Evans going into Friday’s game. So for Evans to grab the No. 4 spot in that scenario, it would need to beat South Effingham by at least eight points and hold the Mustangs to 17 points or less.

Region 4

*Pivotal game: North Atlanta at Dunwoody (Thursday at North DeKalb Stadium)

*Scenarios: Marist is the region champion, and St. Pius is the runner-up. If North Atlanta beats Dunwoody, North Atlanta will clinch the No. 3 seed and Riverwood will be the No. 4. A Dunwoody victory would make things interesting, as it most likely would create a three-way tie that includes North Atlanta, Dunwoody and Riverwood for the final two playoff spots, assuming Riverwood loses to Marist (the Maxwell Ratings project Marist as a 42-point favorite). According to the region secretary, if Dunwoody wins by 10 or more, Dunwoody would be the No. 3 seed and North Atlanta would be the No. 4. If Dunwoody wins by nine or less, North Atlanta would be the No. 3 seed and Dunwoody would be the No. 4. Riverwood would be out either way. If Riverwood can pull off the major upset and Dunwoody beats North Atlanta, Riverwood would be No. 3, Dunwoody would be No. 4 and North Atlanta would be out.

Region 6

*Pivotal game: River Ridge at Allatoona (Friday)

*Scenarios: Allatoona finds itself in the biggest predicament of any team in Class 6A. If the Buccaneers win this week against River Ridge, they will be the No. 2 seed behind region champion Rome. If they lose, they’re probably out of the playoffs. A victory would leave the Buccaneers in a tie for second place with Sequoyah, which they beat last week, so Allatoona would be the No. 2 seed and Sequoyah would be the No. 3. River Ridge would drop into a tie for fourth place with Creekview but would get the berth because of its head-to-head victory. If River Ridge wins, the Knights will be tied with Sequoyah, which beat them earlier in the season, so Sequoyah would be No. 2 and River Ridge would be No. 3. Allatoona would then be tied with Creekview, which would get the final playoff berth because of its win over Allatoona. However, all of the above is on the assumption that Sequoyah doesn’t trip up against 0-9 Woodstock, which Maxwell projected as a 41-point underdog. If Woodstock wins, there would be too many possibilities to list for the four teams vying for the three playoff spots.

Here’s how the playoff picture looks in the other Class 6A regions:

*Region 3: 1. Woodward Academy, 2. Lovejoy, 3. Morrow/Mundy’s Mill winner, 4. Morrow/Mundy’s Mill loser

*Region 5: 1. Hughes, 2. Douglas County/South Paulding winner, 3. Douglas County/South Paulding loser, 4. Paulding County

*Region 7: 1. Roswell/Alpharetta winner, 2. Roswell/Alpharetta loser, 3. Blessed Trinity, 4. Pope/Sprayberry winner

*Region 8: 1. Gainesville, 2. North Forsyth, 3. Shiloh, 4. Lanier