Region play is under way in 5-AAAAA and begins this weekend in 6-AAAAA, and there are some big games on the schedule even though it’s just the third week of the regular season. There are other good matchups involving Class AAAAA teams, as well. Here’s a look at some of the biggest:
*Hiram at Rome: If East Paulding and Allatoona are the favorites at the top of Region 5-AAAAA, then Rome and Hiram are probably the next two in line to grab playoff berths. The winner of this game definitely has a leg up in qualifying for the postseason, while the loser has no margin for error the rest of the way.
*M.L. King vs. Southwest DeKalb: Two of the top teams in Region 6-AAAAA will meet on Saturday at Hallford Stadium to kick off their region schedules. Neither team will jeopardize its playoff chances with a loss, but the winner puts itself in a good spot for the playoff race and emerges as a legitimate candidate for the region title.
*Miller Grove at Mays: OK, so Mays stubbed its toe against Carver of Atlanta last week. But all will be well for the Raiders if they can knock off Miller Grove in the Region 6-AAAAA opener. The winner of this game just might have a shot of cracking the top four and grabbing a playoff berth.
*Thomas County Central at Marist: Class AAAA Marist went on the road to beat a good AAAAA team (Clarke Central) last week, and now the War Eagles come home to face an even better one in Thomas County Central. If these teams can recapture the magic from their six memorable games of the late 1990s and early 2000s, then the fans will be in for a treat.
*Gainesville at Buford: Gainesville found itself in a 17-point hole against West Forsyth last week and ended up losing 32-30. The Red Elephants must try to regroup this week against Buford in the final tune-up before region play beings in 8-AAAAA. Buford beat Gainesville 49-0 last season and has won all four meetings in this series.
*Flowery Branch at West Forsyth: Flowery Branch was in the opposite position of Gainesville, as the Falcons were tied with Northside of Warner Robins 7-7 before being blown out in the second half. Now the Falcons face the same West Forsyth that beat Gainesville. You can’t compare scores, but it should provide a good measuring stick as to how Flowery Branch will match up with Gainesville later this season.