We’ve seen several surprise teams emerge this season. They’ve gone from the rear eye on the stove to the front burner. But most will still be considered playoff pretenders until they pass a legitimate test.
That test, for many of them, comes this week. Whether or not they’re ready will may help decide whether they’re ready for prime time.
Here are some games involving the upstarts who have something to prove:
Cedar Grove at Decatur: Decatur is 4-0 with signature wins over Grady and Greenville. If the Bulldogs want to be a player in Region 6-AAA, they’re going to have to beat Cedar Grove, a playoff team a year ago with plenty of talent. Chances are that the loser of this game will miss the playoffs.
Cedar Grove is too easily overlooked in this deep region. The Saints are led by quarterback James Hartsfield, who has already thrown for 560 yards and six touchdowns, and running back Deion Sellers, who has 628 yards and seven touchdowns.
St. Pius vs. Towers (Avondale): Towers is 4-0 thanks to a stellar defense that has allowed only seven points; three of the team’s victories have been by shutout. But the Titans better have all their equipment on tight, since No. 5 St. Pius is angry about losing last week’s game to Lovett and will be in no mood to play nice.
The Towers run defense, which allows only 101 yards per game, will be tested by the St. Pius attack that averages close to 300 yards per contest. The Towers offense is in the good hands of sophomore Demetrice Gilbert.
White County at East Hall: This is the first step in the playoff chase for both teams; White County made it last year as the No. 4 team in Region 7. East Hall is off to a 3-1 start and is ready to challenge.
B.E.S.T. Academy at Central Carroll: The B.E.S.T. fans are ready to give Central a taste of Eagle Power, but they’ve yet to play a quality opponent. Central is bubbling on the edge of the state rankings.
Central will be a difficult assignment for B.E.S.T. The Lions unleashed a pair of 100-yard runners last week in Damarious Owensby and Curtis Davenport. Davenport also caught two passes. The Central defense is sparked by Josh and J.T. Dunson, who combined for 15 tackles last week.
Jackson at Callaway: Jackson has shown it can score points – 82 over the last two weeks. But how will the Lasers fare when they go on the road to face a team that was state-ranked until a week ago and is ready for retribution after losing their first game.
Other good games on the schedule:
Adairsville at Ringgold: The two 3-1 teams square off to possibly decide which team will finish second in Region 5 behind Cartersville. That means a first-round playoff game at home.
Dawson County at North Hall: The No. 4 Trojans had the week off to get ready for Dawson, a hurdle they must jump before an eventual Region 7 showdown against Buford, the No. 1 team in the NFC South.
Woodward Academy at Blessed Trinity: Woodward has won three straight since losing the season opener and Blessed Trinity, a team with high expectations, got off the deck last week to break a two-game losing streak. The winner is a step closer to a Region 6 showdown with St. Pius.