Here are some of the stories to watch this weekend in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs:
*Bragging rights: Regions 5 and 6 were the only ones to go 3-1 in the first round of the playoffs, and they will go head to head in the second round with region pride on the line. This week’s games include Allatoona (R5) at M.L. King (R6), Stephenson (R6) at East Paulding (R5) and North Paulding (R5) at Tucker (R6). North Paulding, a fifth-year program in Dallas, pulled off the biggest upset of the first round when it rolled past Region 8 champion Flowery Branch 63-43.
*Hitting the road: Stephenson cleared a big hurdle last week when it won a first-round playoff game for just the second time in its last six tries. Now the Jaguars face the bigger challenger of winning a playoff game on the road when they travel to the Boneyard to face East Paulding. Stephenson has played 26 playoff games in its history, and 22 of them have been at Hallford Stadium, where the Jaguars are 14-12 in the postseason. The Jaguars are 0-4 in playoff games outside of DeKalb County.
*Under the radar: One team that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the postseason is Region 4 champion Whitewater, which hosts Glynn Academy in the second round. The Wildcats opened the season with a 41-3 loss to Class AAAAAA Coffee, but they have won 10 consecutive games since, including seven by 27 points or more. Whitewater beat Lee County 49-7 in the first-round, shutting down a Trojans team that averaged 45 points per game during the regular season and scored at least 31 in every game.
*Still rolling: Will Harris County’s magical ride continue? The Tigers started the season 0-4, but they responded with seven consecutive victories and have picked up the program’s first region title and first playoff victory along the way. Perhaps Harris County is peaking at the right time – its 17-point win over Northgate last week was the second-largest margin of victory during the winning streak. Harris County hosts Warner Robins in the second round.
*Looking ahead: Northside-Warner Robins and Tucker have been the top two programs in the second-largest classification in recent years, combining to win four of the past six state titles. Northside was the champion in 2006 and 2007, while Tucker won the title in 2008 and 2011. At least one of them won’t get a shot at it this year. A Tucker victory over North Paulding and a Northside win over Thomas County Central on Friday will bring the two powers together for a quarterfinal showdown in Warner Robins next week.