New seven classification structure serves up 96 first round games
In Class 7A, Hillgrove rides a season-best 10 game winning streak into its home match with No. 3 seed Tift County. The winner will take on the victorious team from No. 4 Central Gwinnett and No. 1 Lambert. East Coweta snuck into the playoffs with a 2-3 region record, and now has to face top-seeded Walton out of Region 5, which has compiled a 13-0-2 record since opening the season 1-2. The winner of Walton and East Coweta will clash with either Archer or Collins Hill. This Gwinnett County showdown is one of three in the first round as North Gwinnett-Grayson and South Gwinnett-Peachtree Ridge also square off.
In Class 6A, Osborne goes into its matchup with No. 2 Apalachee battle tested. The Cardinals closed the regular season with Allatoona, Sequoyah, Campbell and Pebblebrook in a one-week span. Osborne scored an impressive 4-2 win over Campbell, but lost the other three matchups. Allatoona faces upset-minded Dacula in the first round. Dacula lost to Gainesville on March 27, but not before handing the Red Elephants a 2-1 defeat on March 10. That upset over Gainesville is one of only two times the Red Elephants have lost this season.
McIntosh and Riverwood headline a deep Class 5A field from the same lower right quadrant of the bracket. McIntosh is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 5A and Riverwood was ranked No. 3 in Class 5A entering the playoffs. A top 3 showdown in the Elite 8 is something to keep an eye on.
Blessed Trinity edged out Marist for the Region 7 No. 1 seed and now Marist will open the postseason against Troup with a potential top 10 showdown with Columbus waiting in the second round. Class 3A’s focus goes toward the bottom right quadrant of the bracket where four of the eight teams are ranked in the top 10 (Dawson County, Pace Academy, Windsor Forest and North Murray).