What to watch: Week 5
The AA football season began a little more than a month ago, but this is the week the gloves finally come off for a lot of teams that begin playing their region schedules. While rankings are fun to look at and hold our interest throughout the season, and cross-classification games make for great entertainment and bragging rights, it’s the region contests that determine the playoff picture.
Four of the top 10 teams make their region debut this week, though those games for the most part aren’t expected to be competitive as none of the ranked teams play an opponent with a winning record.
The region game with the best chance to be competitive – at least from a team record standpoint – is the Metter Tigers (1-1) at the No. 9 Vidalia Indians (2-1). Maxwell projections for Week 5 have the Indians winning by 21, so technically the Jefferson County at Laney game, where Jefferson County is a 17-point favorite – is expected to be slightly closer.
The Tigers and Indians both will be playing their first Region 2 game, with Metter coming over after previously competing in Region 3. The teams haven’t played each other since 2013, when their seniors were just freshman. Vidalia won that game 55-26 and own the all-time series with a 23-9-1 edge. The last time Metter won came in 2010, when the Tigers gutted out a 21-20 victory.
Though the region games involving ranked teams could all be lopsided, there are two ranked teams that play cross-classification games against teams with winning records.
AAA’s Pierce County Bears (2-1) will play at the No. 3 Brooks County Trojans (2-0). The Bears were No. 9 last week in their classification before exiting the rankings thanks to a 24-17 loss to Richmond Hill. They’ll be greeted this week by a well-rested Trojans team coming off its second bye of the season. Friday’s game will be a series renewal that last ran more than a decade ago in 2003, when Brooks County won 38-14. The Trojans own a 4-1 series record with the Bears last winning in 2002.
AAAA’s Upson-Lee Knights (2-1) travel to the No. 5 Callaway Cavaliers (3-0). The Knights will be looking to rebound from a 53-7 loss to AAAAA’s Griffin, while the Cavs are coming of an additional day of rest following their 28-7 win over Columbus last Thursday. There’s no history between these two schools that are playing for the first time, so Maxwell’s projections of Callaway being an 11-point favorite can serve as the guide.
Other matchups involving ranked AA teams: No. 1 Fitzgerald (2-0) at AAAAAAA’s Rockdale County (1-2); *Swainsboro (0-3) at No. 2 Benedictine (3-0); *No. 4 Jefferson County (3-0) at Laney (0-3); *Dade County (1-2) at No. 7 Model (3-0); A-public’s Dooly County (0-3) at No. 10 Dodge County (1-2). (* region game)
AA ranked teams with a bye this week: No. 6 Rabun County; No. 8 Dublin.
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