Friday review: Colquitt, Westlake, Norcross clinch titles; North Cobb still alive in R3
Congrats to Colquitt County, Westlake and Norcross for clinching region titles.
Congrats to Etowah for a 31-28 victory over Lassiter. Etowah trailed 28-7 and won on Dima Lynes’ 48-yard field goal with 59 seconds left.
Congrats to North Cobb for keeping its region-title hopes alive in a 35-28 victory over Hillgrove. It will take a Hillgrove win over McEachern next week and some point-differential magic, but still possible.
And congrats to Grayson for scoring an impressive national victory over Alabama power Hoover. Georgia teams are now 3-2 since 2008 against Hoover, which has won 11 state titles.
Here’s a region-by-region look at the events of Friday in the high class and what they mean in the playoff picture.
Region 1 – Seventh-ranked Colquitt County defeated sixth-ranked Lowndes 42-35 for the No. 1 seed. Colquitt is the first school to win Region 1 in the highest classification three straight times since Colquitt did it from 1994 to 1996. Lowndes will be seeded No. 2. The winner of next week’s game between Tift County and Camden County will decide the third seed. Only three teams are assured of the playoffs. Tift (but not Camden) could get the classification’s wild card berth if it finishes fourth.
Region 2 – Westlake defeated Wheeler 35-31 to clinch the region title, Westlake’s third in three years. East Coweta clinched its 20th straight playoff berth and the No. 2 seed with a 42-14 victory over Campbell. Pebblebrook clinched its first playoff berth since 2007 with a 27-14 victory over Newnan. The Pebblebrook-Wheeler game next week will decided the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds. Note that Newnan is now fated to suffer only its second losing season (not counting forfeits) since 2000.
Region 3 – McEachern (8-1, 4-0) emerged as the lone unbeaten in region play after eighth-ranked North Cobb (7-2, 3-1) beat Hillgrove (5-4, 3-1) 35-28. All three could win the region title if Hillgrove upsets McEachern next week. That would force a three-way tie for first place that will be settled by point differentials in region games, with a cap of 15 points per game. Currently, McEachern (differential of 52 points) leads North Cobb (30) and Hillgrove (23). Hillgrove must upset McEachern by 15 or more to have a chance, and even then, North Cobb would be the No. 1 seed with a nine-point win or better vs. last-place Kennesaw Mountain. McEachern will be the No. 1 seed if it loses by no more than six points. What’s simpler is that next week’s Marietta-North Paulding winner will be the No. 4 seed.
Region 4 – Cherokee came back to beat Lassiter 31-28, and Walton came back to beat Etowah 34-30. Cherokee’s win sets up a region title game with top-ranked Roswell next week. Both are 4-0 in the region. After that, it’s murky. Also-rans Woodstock (5-4, 2-2), Lassiter (6-3, 1-3), Walton (4-5, 1-3) and Etowah (4-5, 1-3) are in contention. This region’s fifth-place team will be a strong contender for the wild-card 32nd playoff berth. This is the only region where every team still has a chance to make the playoffs.
Region 5 – Lambert missed its first opportunity to clinch its first-ever region title when beaten by Milton 20-17 Friday. Lambert (5-4, 3-1) can clinch next week vs. Forsyth Central (3-5, 0-4). Except for a confidence boost, the win doesn’t help Milton (4-5, 2-2) that much. The Eagles still need to beat North Forsyth (4-5, 1-3) to finish in the top four. West Forsyth (d. North Forsyth 55-7 Friday) and South Forsyth (d. Forsyth Central 38-0 Friday) won easily and will play for the No. 2 seed next week (or the No. 1 seed if Lambert slips again).
Region 6 – Mountain View beat Discovery 38-0 to clinch its first-ever playoff berth while North Gwinnett beat Collins Hill 41-7 to virtually assure itself of the post-season. Assuming no massive upsets next week, the seeds are going to come down to the Peachtree Ridge-Collins Hill game next week. If Collins Hill wins (that would be a mild upset), the seeds will be No. 1 Mill Creek, No. 2 North Gwinnett (5-4, 3-2), No. 3 Mountain View (8-2, 4-2), No. 4 Collins Hill (3-7, 3-3). If Peachtree Ridge wins (and North Gwinnett beats Discovery), the seeds will be No. 1 Mill Creek, No. 2 Peachtree Ridge, No. 3 North Gwinnett, No. 4 Mountain View. (The tiebreaker for those last three seeds, all of which would be 4-2, is point differential in games among the three, with a cap of 13.)
Region 7 – Fifth-ranked Norcross (9-0, 5-0) beat ninth-ranked Brookwood 21-0 for the region title. That’s Norcross’s first region title since the 2013 state-championship team and fifth for coach Keith Maloof at Norcross. That ties him with brother Kevin (retired Duluth). They are among seven Gwinnett County Schools coaches to win five, but we digress. Brookwood (6-3, 4-1) will be the No. 2 seed. Central Gwinnett (4-5, 3-2) and Parkview (6-3, 3-2) will play for third and fourth next week.
Region 8 – Third-ranked Grayson bombed Hoover 36-14. Hoover is probably Alabama’s best team. Grayson’s only loss is to semi-collegiate IMG Academy in August, and there is no good evidence that Grayson isn’t Georgia’s best team. The Rams were ranked No. 1 in preseason. Now back to the region race: Big game Friday was South Gwinnett’s 15-14 victory over Archer. That means South Gwinnett (7-2, 3-1) will play Grayson for the region title next week. Newton’s 30-0 victory over Shiloh clinches a playoff berth for Newton (6-3-1, 3-2) and eliminates Shiloh. If games go as expected next week, there will be a three-way tie for second among South Gwinnett, Archer and Newton. Will report the tiebreaker when I get.