Five things to watch in Class AAAAAA this week …
- Is it a must-win game for Archer and South Gwinnett? – The deepest AAAAAA region north of Region 1 is Region 8. There’s probably not enough room for Archer (6-2, 4-2) and South Gwinnett (5-2, 4-1) in the playoffs. They play each other Friday at Archer.
According to the Maxwell Ratings, both are top-20 teams, better than at last a dozen teams that are going to make the playoffs. But Archer needs to beat South Gwinnett this week or seventh-ranked Grayson next week to make it. The Tigers have lost heartbreakers to Brookwood (20-19) and Parkview (20-18).
South Gwinnett’s only losses are to No. 3 Norcross and No. 7 Grayson. They’ll need to beat Archer, Brookwood or Parkview to make the playoffs.
- Milton-Walton gets national (ESPNU) attention – The Milton-Walton game will be televised by ESPNU at 9 p.m. Friday. Some would argue that these teams have the best running backs in Class AAAAAA (although Alvin Kamara at Norcross and Travis Custis of Lovejoy might object). Tyren Jones has rushed for 1,547 of Walton’s 1,572 rushing yards this season. Milton’s Peyton Barber has 1,148 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns.
- Region 1 wars resume with Colquitt County vs. Valdosta – Consistent Colquitt County, ranked No. 9, are 1-2 in games against other members of the Top 10, all games decided by seven points or less. They’ve beaten everybody else. Valdosta has lost to Class AA Brooks County and been embarrassed by Camden County 43-6, but played No. 4 Lowndes to the final play. A year ago, Valdosta beat Colquitt 27-24 in overtime in the final game of the regular season to win the region title. Which Valdosta will we see Friday?
- Lovejoy can lock down Region 2 – Lovejoy (7-1, 4-0) is looking for its third straight region title and fifth in 10 seasons. Newton (3-4, 3-0) is the only other unbeaten team in the region, but figures to be no match for Lovejoy, which has outscored its region opponents 151-0. But Newton could steal the region with a victory because the Rams’ remaining opponents are Morrow (1-6) and Luella (1-7). Lovejoy probably could not clinch until facing Alcovy (3-4, 2-1) in the final game.
- Hughes can march closer to its first region title – Region 3 also has a game between the remaining unbeaten teams in region play. Hughes (6-1, 2-0) beat Newnan (5-2, 1-1) last week. No other team in the region has a winning record overall, but East Coweta (3-4, 2-0) has played well lately in wins over Westlakee (24-7) and Tri-Cities (44-15). Hughes is playing its fourth season and seeking its first region title.