Here’s what to look for this weekend in Class AAAAA:
- East Paulding and New Manchester will find out a lot about their playoff chances in 5-AAAAA when they meet in Dallas. East Paulding, the defending region champion, already has fallen behind the leaders with a loss to North Paulding and has little margin for error in a balanced league. New Manchester, a third-year program from Douglasville, has a chance to improve to 5-0 after finishing 2-8 last year. The Jaguars beat North Paulding two weeks ago and have a half-game lead on No. 7 Allatoona for first place.
- Mays has a chance to further solidify its status as one of the elite teams in 6-AAAAA when it takes on longtime nemesis Southwest DeKalb. Mays made a big statement last week with a 36-28 victory against defending region champion M.L. King and moved into a first-place tie with top-ranked Tucker and No. 2 Stephenson. The Raiders are 1-12 all-time against the Panthers, and their 14-7 loss last year essentially cost them a playoff berth. Southwest DeKalb must win to keep their fading playoff hopes alive.
- Pope has to be hoping that things will get easier once it takes on somebody its own size. The Greyhounds have taken a beating in their first three games against Class AAAAAA schools Marietta, Wheeler and Etowah, losing to all three by an average score of 54-13. This week Pope returns to its classification to take on Northview, which has played two AAAAAA schools and enters the game at 1-1 after a 16-12 victory against Lambert last week. Pope beat Northview twice last year and has won five of six all-time meetings.
- Last year’s Union Grove-Whitewater game turned out to be an early 4-AAAAA title game as both teams went on to win their subregions and the league did not have an official championship game. That might turn out to be the case again this year. Union Grove should take care of its side of the region. The Wolverines are 3-0 overall while the rest of the subregion is a combined 1-11. The task will be much tougher for Whitewater (2-1), which must get past 10th-ranked Creekside on Oct. 18 to repeat as subregion champion.
- Ware County and Jenkins will get a head start on their 3-AAAAA rivals when they begin region play on Friday, a week earlier than the other six teams in their league. Ware County, the defending champion, went 7-0 in region play last year and advanced to the Class AAAAA championship game. Jenkins went 5-5 last season, marking only the fourth time it has finished at .500 or better since 1985, which was the second and final year of Rick Tomberlin’s tenure at the Savannah school. The Warriors are 1-1-1 this year.