HS football predictions

The high school football regular season is less than a month old, and we’ve already learned a lot.

We know that North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge and McEachern are really good. We know that M.L. King can score a lot of points -- win or lose. And we know that Meadowcreek’s losing streak, which reached 21 last week at the hands of Wheeler, is likely to go on for a while.

But we’ll find out a lot more in region play, which begins Friday night for three of the six metro Atlanta regions in Class AAAAA. Here’s a look at those regions and some early playoff projections:

  • Region 2-AAAAA: Most of these teams don't begin region play until next week, but M.L. King and Westlake meet Friday night in a game that is especially important to Westlake. Stephenson, Newnan and M.L. King appear to be the strength of the region, so the real race will be for fourth place. Newton appears capable of taking that final playoff spot, but don't count out East Coweta or Westlake.
  • Region 4-AAAAA: With its two most difficult games complete and a 2-1 record in hand, McEachern should roll through its region. The Indians' biggest challenge likely will come from Hillgrove, which is one of six 3-0 teams in Class AAAAA, but the only one that is not ranked in the top 10. The rest of the region has not distinguished itself, but give North Cobb and Harrison a slight edge over South Cobb and Pebblebrook for the other two playoff spots.

  • Region 7-AAAAA: No. 2 North Gwinnett, No. 3 Peachtree Ridge, No. 8 Norcross and Collins Hill clearly are the teams to beat for the four playoff berths. Mill Creek would need an upset to break into the top four, and we'll find out a lot about the Hawks during a three-game stretch in October when they play Collins Hill, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge in consecutive weeks.

These metro Atlanta Class AAAAA regions either already have begun league play or haven’t started:

  • Region 5-AAAAA: Region play doesn't begin until next week, so there's one final week of tuneups before the games that really count. Etowah, Walton and Woodstock are the strength of the region, and Cherokee and Wheeler aren't likely to challenge. The leaves Lassiter and Marietta to battle for the fourth playoff spot, and the winner of their game Oct. 22 at Marietta likely gets that berth.
  • Region 6-AAAAA: This region, which also begins league play next week, is the most wide open in Class AAAAA and the most difficult to predict. Alpharetta and West Forsyth are the only teams with a winning record and should be in the hunt at the end. Roswell is 0-3 against a rough schedule -- and could fall to 0-4 Friday night with a loss to Walton -- but is likely to be a big factor. That still leaves an opportunity for anyone that steps up out of the other teams -- Centennial, Milton, North Forsyth and Northview.
  • Region 8-AAAAA: Dacula pulled off the biggest surprise in the first week of region play when it beat Brookwood last week, but both teams should finish in the top four. They likely will be joined in the playoffs by South Gwinnett and Grayson. Keep an eye on Berkmar, and never count out Parkview, which is 0-2, but has close losses against ranked teams Stephenson and Norcross.

The weekend predictions

Last week: 130-40 (.765); Overall: 371-147 (.716)

Friday

Winner##Loser

Adairsville##East Hall

Alcovy##Union Grove

Alpharetta##Marietta

Apalachee##Salem

Aquinas##Hancock Central

Baldwin##West Laurens

Banks Co.##Athens Christian

Banneker##Mundy’s Mill

Benedictine##Savannah

Bleckley Co.##East Laurens

Blessed Trinity##Avondale

Bowdon##Mt. Zion-Carroll

Brantley Co.##Appling Co.

Brookstone##Chattahoochee Co.

Brookwood##Archer

Buford##Therrell

Butler##Harlem

Calhoun##Chattooga

Callaway##Haralson Co.

Calvary Day##Jeff Davis

Camden Co.##Windsor Forest

Carrollton##Woodland-Stockbridge

Cartersville##Ringgold

Carver-Atlanta##Douglass

Carver-Columbus##LaGrange

Cedar Grove##Stone Mountain

Centennial##Wheeler

Charlton Co.##Irwin Co.

Chattahoochee##Creekview

Chestatee##Dawson Co.

Clarke Central##Habersham Central

Clarkston##South Atlanta

Clinch Co.##Bacon Co.

Coffee##Fitzgerald

Colquitt Co.##Warner Robins

Cook##Crisp Co.

Creekside##Mt. Zion-Jonesboro

Cross Creek##Grovetown

Dade Co.##Armuchee

Dalton##Allatoona

Darlington##Bremen

Decatur##Jackson-Atlanta

Douglas Co.##Chapel Hill

Dutchtown##Ola

East Jackson##Jackson Co.

Eastside##Jackson

Effingham Co.##Savannah Christian

Elbert Co.##Oglethorpe Co.

ECI##Treutlen

Etowah##North Forsyth

First Presbyterian##Strong Rock

Flowery Branch##Cedar Shoals

Franklin Co.##Walnut Grove

Gainesville##North Hall

George Walton##Hebron Christian

Georgia Military##Baconton Charter

Gordon Central##Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe

Gordon Lee##Walker

Grady##Druid Hills

Grayson##Berkmar

GAC##Westminster

Greene Co.##Northeast-Macon

Greenville##Schley Co.

Harrison##Pebblebrook

Hawkinsville##Marion Co.

Heard Co.##Coosa

Hephzibah##Richmond Academy

Heritage-Conyers##Rockdale Co.

Hillgrove##South Cobb

Hiram##Osborne

Houston Co.##Americus-Sumter

Jefferson##Hart Co.

Jefferson Co.##Laney

Johns Creek##Woodland-Cartersville

Johnson Co.##Portal

Jonesboro##Forest Park

Kell##East Paulding

King’s Ridge##Fellowship Christian

LaFayette##Murray Co.

Landmark Christian##Our Lady of Mercy

Lassiter##Milton

Lincoln Co.##Greenbrier

Lithia Springs##Alexander

Lithonia##Dunwoody

Locust Grove##Eagle’s Landing

Loganville##Madison Co.

Lovejoy##Morrow

Lowndes##Burke Co.

M.L. King##Westlake

Manchester##Shaw

Marist##Southwest DeKalb

Mary Persons##Howard

Mays##Miller Grove

McEachern##Campbell

McIntosh Co. Academy##Long Co.

Mill Creek##Mountain View

Model##River Ridge

Morgan Co.##Lamar Co.

Monroe##Brooks Co.

Monroe Area##Lumpkin Co.

Mt. Pisgah##Pinecrest Academy

Newnan##Woodstock

Newton##Northview

Norcross##Duluth

North Cobb##Kennesaw Mtn.

North Cobb Christian##Cross Keys

North Gwinnett##Collins Hill

North Oconee##Rabun Co.

Northgate##Fayette Co.

Northside-Columbus##Columbus

Northside-Warner Robins##Lakeside-Evans

Parkview##Shiloh

Peach Co.##Central-Macon

Peachtree Ridge##Meadowcreek

Pelham##Stewart Co.

Pepperell##Central-Carroll

Perry##Veterans

Pickens##Heritage-Catoosa

Pike Co.##Crawford Co.

Prince Avenue##Glascock Co.

Putnam Co.##Southwest-Macon

Randolph-Clay##Albany

Redan##Lakeside-DeKalb

Ridgeland##Gilmer

Rome##Forsyth Central

St. Pius##North Springs

Sandy Creek##Drew

Schley Co.##Central-Talbotton

Seminole Co.##Calhoun Co.

Sequoyah##Cass

Sonoraville##North Murray

South Effingham##Richmond Hill

South Forsyth##Lambert

South Gwinnett##Central Gwinnett

Southeast Bulloch##Screven Co.

Southeast Whitfield##Cedartown

Sprayberry##North Paulding

Spencer##Terrell Co.

Starr’s Mill##Upson-Lee

Statesboro##Liberty Co.

Stephens Co.##West Hall

Stockbridge##Spalding

Swainsboro##Dodge Co.

Tattnall Co.##Pierce Co.

Taylor Co.##Pacelli

Thomas Co. Central##Cairo

Thomson##Washington Co.

Tift Co.##Worth Co.

Toombs Co.##Claxton

Tri-Cites##Riverdale

Trion##Mt. Paran Christian

Tucker##Chamblee

Turner Co.##Telfair Co.

Valdosta##Brunswick

Vidalia##Metter

Villa Rica##South Paulding

Walton##Roswell

Washington-Wilkes##Commerce

Wesleyan##Holy Innocents’

West Forsyth##Rockmart

Westover##Early Co.

Westside-Augusta##Glenn Hills

Westside-Macon##Rutland

Wheeler Co.##Jenkins Co.

White Co.##Oconee Co.

Whitefield Academy##SW Atl. Christian

Whitewater##Harris Co.

Wilcox Co.##Lanier Co.

Saturday

Columbia##McNair

East Coweta##Troup

Johnson-Savannah##Bradwell Institute

North Atlanta##Riverwood

Towers##Arabia Mountain

Wilkinson Co.##Dougherty

*Games involving out-of-state teams not included