By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC
Usually at this time we preview the best games of the week, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But first we take our first look at what some of the first round playoff match ups would be if the playoffs began this weekend, based on the latest Power Rankings.
This first set of games features first-round match ups based on the current Power Rankings (as of Oct. 16), without taking into consideration region champions, which haven’t been determined yet.
No. 1 Lincoln County (5-1) hosts No. 16. Claxton (4-2)
No. 2 Wilcox County (4-2) hosts No. 15 Hancock County (3-3)
No. 3 Dooly County (5-1) hosts No. 14 Clinch County (3-3)
No. 4 Emanuel County Institute (6-1) hosts No. 13 Wilkinson County (4-2)
No. 5 Charlton County (4-3) hosts No. 12 Greenville (4-2)
No. 6 Irwin County (4-2) hosts No. 11 Turner County (5-2)
No. 7 Marion County (5-1) hosts No. 10 Commerce (4-3)
No. 8 Gordon Lee (5-1) hosts No. 9 Miller County (6-1)
Points of interest:
– Irwin County and Turner County, potential 6-11 combatants, are currently tied for first place in Region 2. They will face each other next week, Oct. 26, at Turner County.
– Teams that are not in the top 16 in the Power Rankings that made the playoffs last season (and remain in Class A this season) include Seminole County, Johnson County, Mitchell County and Calhoun County.
– Seminole County was the Region 1 champion last season and advanced to the third round. The Indians’ head coach, Alan Ingram, was one of the main supporters of the public-private split. Seminole is only one slot out of the top 16 public schools, so it still has a chance to make it into the tournament. The Indians are currently tied with Miller County for first place in the region. The two teams face each other Nov. 2 at Seminole County.
– Johnson County (5-1) began the season 4-0. The Trojans also still have a chance to climb into the top 16. They are currently tied for the Region 3-Division B lead with ECI (6-1) and will host the Bulldogs in Wrightsville, Oct. 26.
– Jenkins County (4-2) is not in the top 16 but the War Eagles, currently tied for first in Region 3-Division A, will face the three teams from their sub region that are in the top 16 over the next three weeks – at Calvary Day on Friday, at Savannah Christian on Oct. 26 and home vs. Claxton on Nov. 2.
No. 1 Athens Academy (6-0) hosts No. 16 Our Lady of Mercy (4-3)
No. 2 Darlington (4-2) hosts No. 15 Athens Christian (3-4)
No. 3 Prince Avenue Christian (6-1) hosts No. 14 Mt. Pisgah (4-2)
No. 4 Aquinas (5-1) hosts No. 13 Landmark Christian (5-2)
No. 5 Savannah Christian (4-2) hosts No. 12 Brookstone (4-2)
No. 6 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (5-1) hosts No. 11 Calvary Day (5-1)
No. 7 Holy Innocents (4-3) hosts No. 10 George Walton Academy (5-1)
No. 8 First Presbyterian Day (4-2) hosts No. 9 Walker (6-0)
Points of interest:
– The 1-16 game could produce a huge upset. Athens Academy escaped with a 10-7 win over Our Lady of Mercy, back on Sept. 21. The Spartans scored on a 70-yard pass reception in the game’s final minutes to claim the win.
– Athens Christian is the only team, public or private, with a sub-.500 record but still in the top 16. The Eagles’ non-region schedule is paying dividends in the Power Rankings. Landmark Christian has five wins and Banks County, Jackson County and North Oconee are all AAA teams. The foursome has been worth 37 points thus far for Athens Christian.
– The 4-13 game is a rematch from last season’s playoffs. Landmark beat Aquinas, 28-21, in the quarterfinals last season at the Big A in Augusta.
– The 7-10 game is another rematch from earlier this season. George Walton dominated Holy Innocents, 45-14, back on Sept. 14.
– Like Athens Christian, Holy Innocents is benefiting from its non-region schedule. The Bears have picked up a whopping 53 points from its games against Lakeside-DeKalb and Riverwood, both from Class AAAAA, Wesleyan in AA and George Walton. This tends to indicate that playing teams from much higher classifications might be the way to go next season, if the Power Ranking rules remain the same.
Now, here are the match ups when you factor in region champions. For the sake of argument, here at Class A Blog headquarters we have determined the region champions to be Miller (Region 1), Wilcox (2), ECI (3), Marion (4), ELCA (5), Darlington (6), Lincoln (7) and Athens Academy (8).
No. 1 Lincoln hosts No. 16 Claxton
No. 2 Wilcox hosts No. 15 Hancock Central
No. 3 ECI hosts No. 14 Clinch
No. 4 Marion hosts No. 13 Wilkinson
No. 5 Miller hosts No. 12 Greenville
No. 6 Dooly hosts No. 11Turner
No. 7 Charlton hosts No. 10 Commerce
No. 8 Irwin hosts No. 9 Gordon Lee
Point of interest:
– Only the 1-16 and 2-15 games remain the same as when the teams are seeded using the current Power Rankings, not factoring in region champs.
No. 1 Athens Academy hosts No. 16 Mercy
No. 2 Darlington hosts No. 15 Athens Christian
No. 3 ELCA hosts No. 14 Mt. Pisgah
No. 4 PAC hosts No. 13 Landmark
No. 5 Aquinas hosts No. 12 Brookstone
No. 6 Savannah Christian hosts No. 11 Calvary Day
No. 7 Holy Innocents hosts No. 10 GWA
No. 8 FPD hosts No. 9 Walker
Point of interest:
– Half of the match ups change when region title winners are considered. The 3-14, 4-13, 5-12, and 6-11 games are different.
Of course all of this is subject to change, and will change over the course of the regular season’s final three weeks, which include region play-in games in some instances. No one will know for sure how everything breaks down until after the Georgia High School Association’s four-man Wildcard Selection Committee meets to calculate final Power Ranking totals and officially seeds all 32 teams. This should be interesting.
Best Games of Week 9
And now, a quick look at some of the best games on the board for Week 9:
No. 1 Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (5-1, 2-0 in Region 5) at Our Lady of Mercy (4-3, 1-2). Mercy has lost two straight since claiming win No. 199 for head coach Mike Earwood three weeks ago. ELCA will look to take another step toward its third consecutive region title.
Marion County (5-1, 3-0 in Region 4) at Dooly County (5-1, 3-0). Marion is going after its third consecutive region crown, while Dooly looks to claim its first since 1999.
No. 9 Wilcox County (4-2, 2-1 in Region 2) at Clinch County (3-3, 1-1). One of these two teams will try to take command of the most unpredictable region in Class A.
No. 6 Aquinas (5-1, 1-1 in Region 7) at Wilkinson County (4-2, 3-0). The Irish will try to bounce back from their first loss of the season last week to No. 5 Lincoln County, while Wilkinson attempts to remain unbeaten in region play.
Jenkins County (4-2, 2-0) at Calvary Day (5-1, 1-1). Jenkins has won four straight while Calvary Day looks to recover from last week’s close loss to Savannah rival and defending state champion No. 7 Savannah Christian (21-20).
Gordon Lee (5-1, 2-0 in Region 6-Division A) at Darlington (4-2, 2-0). This game will, for all intents and purposes, decide the sub-region winner.
Commerce (4-3, 0-3 in Region 8 ) at No. 3 Athens Academy (6-0, 3-0). The Tigers are reeling after winning their first four games of the season. The Spartan’s 14 seniors will look to take another step toward an undefeated season and a region title.