Harrison, Dalton emerge as best in Region 6

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

(Daniel Varnado/Special to AJC)

(Daniel Varnado/Special to AJC)

Harrison has the best overall record (5-0), region record (2-0), ranking (No. 6) and victory (43-19 overall Allatoona last week) among the teams in Region 6-AAAAAA, and the Hoyas are well on their way to their first playoff appearance since 2010.

Dalton isn’t far behind at 4-0, 1-0 and No. 7. The mad scramble for the final two playoff berths from the region will take place behind the Hoyas and Catamounts and is most likely to involve Allatoona, Creekview, Sequoyah and Sprayberry.

On Tuesdays, we’ve been taking a look at the playoff outlooks for every Class AAAAAA team as region play kicks off (or shortly after it starts). We continue today with Region 6.

Here’s a closer look at each of the Region 6 teams, broken down by playoff likelihood, in alphabetical order within each group:

Safest bets

*Allatoona (1-4, 1-1): The 2015 state-champion Buccaneers have four losses to teams that are ranked and have a combined record of 17-0 vs. Georgia teams. Allatoona was dominated by Harrison last week in its first region loss, but it’s still hard to imagine that the Buccaneers won’t finish among the top four in 6-AAAAAA. The ninth-year program has made six consecutive playoff appearances.

*Dalton (4-0, 1-0): The Catamounts have quietly taken care of business in their first four games and have been particularly strong on defense, allowing an average of just 9.8 points per game, fourth-best in Class AAAAAA. Dalton opened region play in impressive fashion, beating Sprayberry 45-16, and will be favored to beat all of its remaining opponents with the possible exception of Harrison.

*Harrison (5-0, 2-0): The Hoyas were 3-1 last year before fading in region play, finishing 5-5 and missing the playoffs. They were 5-5 in each of Matt Dickmann’s first three seasons as head coach, and now they appear to have turned the corner. The lopsided victory against Allatoona puts them in position for a run at the region title, which likely will be decided when they play at Dalton on Oct. 21.

In the hunt

*Creekview (2-2, 0-1): The Grizzlies were projected by the computer Maxwell Ratings in the preseason as one of the region’s four playoff teams, but a surprising double-overtime loss to Sequoyah in the region opener could prove costly down the road. There’s still plenty of season left, but Creekview is probably going to need some help to extend its streak of playoff appearances to four.

*Sequoyah (1-3, 1-0): Despite three losses to AAAAAAA teams to open the season, the Chiefs got in the playoff hunt with a 29-26 victory over Creekview to open region play. Sequoyah could be 3-0 in region after facing River Ridge and South Cobb the next two weekends, but the schedule down the stretch is rough, closing the season against Dalton, Allatoona, Harrison and Sprayberry.

*Sprayberry (4-1, 1-1): The Yellow Jackets bounced back from their loss to Dalton with a 34-14 win over South Cobb last week. Upcoming games against Harrison and Allatoona will be tough, but Sprayberry’s playoff fate is likely to be determined in the final two games of the regular season – vs. Creekview on Oct. 28 and at Sequoyah on Nov. 4. Sprayberry last made the playoffs in 2011.

Not this year

*River Ridge (2-2, 0-1): Tyler Wynn has made some progress in his second year as coach, as the Knights’ two victories are already an improvement over last year’s 1-9 team. However, those wins came against teams that a combined 2-7-1, and River Ridge opened region play with a 55-14 loss to Harrison. It’s hard to find many more winnable games on the remainder of the schedule.

*South Cobb (1-4, 0-2): The Eagles’ 1-4 start is their worst since 2009, and opening region play with losses to Allatoona and Sprayberry by a combined score of 86-26 puts them in a hole that is likely too deep to escape. South Cobb hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2012 or advanced to the playoffs since 2011, and both goals appear out of reach this year.

Note: Osborne (0-6) is playing a non-region schedule this year and is not eligible for the postseason.

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Next week: Regions 1-AAAAAA and 8-AAAAAA