Today we continue our look at the playoff chances for Class AAAAA teams by focusing on Regions 3 and 8, which are home to the two teams that played for the state championship last season.
Which teams on the lists below are getting too much credit? Which ones are being underestimated?
Next week we’ll look at Regions 1 and 2.
*Locks: Ware County
The AAAAA runner-up Gators have been in the playoffs for 11 consecutive seasons and reached the final twice during that stretch. They’re already 2-0 in league play, will have no trouble reaching the postseason and are the favorites to win the region title.
*Likely: Richmond Hill, Effingham County
Richmond Hill and Effingham County were playoff teams last year and got off to a good start in region play with victories against playoff contenders Glynn Academy and Bradwell Institute last week. The teams’ meeting on Oct. 11 might determine second place in the region.
*On the bubble: Jenkins, Bradwell Institute, Glynn Academy
Glynn Academy was the region’s other playoff team last year and is the favorite among these three teams to earn a berth this year, but the Red Terrors have work to do after a 47-28 loss to Richmond Hill last week. Bradwell Institute and Jenkins have been competitive but will need an upset or two to break into the top four.
*Long shots: None
*Not this year: Groves, Windsor Forest
The two Chatham County schools have a combined record of 1-29 over their past 15 games, and the one win was Windsor Forest’s 22-0 victory against Groves last year. Neither team is likely to win a game this season other than their meeting on Oct. 18.
*Locks: Gainesville, Flowery Branch, Clarke Central
Defending state champion Gainesville, defending region champion Flowery Branch and Clarke Central are the three remaining teams that are undefeated in league play, and they likely will stay that way except for when they face each other. They were playoff teams last year and likely will be the top three seeds in 2013.
The Patriots almost certainly will be a playoff team, but they haven’t been overpowering in their first three region games. Their 48-7 loss to Gainesville last week was preceded by a 17-14 win over Salem and an overtime victory against winless Cedar Shoals.
*On the bubble: None
*Long shots: Loganville, Salem
Loganville had one of the biggest upsets of 2012 when it beat Gainesville 46-41, and the Red Devils would need something like that (and more) to reach the playoffs this season. Salem is clinging to hope at 1-2 in the region but probably will be out of the race after playing Clarke Central and Gainesville in the next 10 days.
*Not this year: Winder-Barrow, Apalachee, Cedar Shoals
Cedar Shoals is 0-5 for the first time in school history (excluding 1989, when eight victories were overturned by forfeit). Apalachee and Winder-Barrow are a combined 1-7 overall, and both are 0-2 in region play. Winder-Barrow has been to the playoffs just once since 1996.