Here’s what to look for this weekend in Class AAAAA:
- South Paulding took a huge step toward the first playoff berth in school history with a 48-45 overtime victory against Allatoona last week that gave it sole possession of first place in Region 5-AAAAA. Now the Spartans will try to hold on to the lead when they meet North Paulding, which is tied with Allatoona and East Paulding for second place, a half-game behind South Paulding. Spartans QB Chandler Burks passed for 391 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 116 yards and two TDs against Allatoona.
- Region play begins in 1-AAAAA and 7-AAAAA and has its first full weekend in 4-AAAAA, and each region offers up an important matchup right out of the gate. Region 1 favorite Thomas County Central faces playoff contender Bainbridge, which has recorded two shutouts and been shut out twice. Whitewater plays at Northgate in a game that likely will decide which team will challenge No. 9 Creekside for the 4-AAAAA Division B title. In Region 7, the Sequoyah-Creekview winner is likely to win the subregion A title.
- Another Region 1 team, Lee County, is hoping to change what has been a frustrating trend. In the 2010-12 seasons, the Trojans were 14-1 in the first half of the regular season but 4-11 in the second half. Those slumps led to one season missing the playoffs and two others that ended with first-round losses. Now Lee County is back, heading into the second half of the season 5-0 after outscoring its opponents 192-52. The Trojans begin what they hope will be a change in fortunes when they travel to Hardaway on Friday.
- Things will be quiet in Region 6 as all 11 teams have the week off. Consider it the calm before the storm, because the region will provide one of the top games in the state this year when play resumes next weekend. That’s when top-ranked Tucker will take on No. 2 Stephenson at Hallford Stadium in a game that will be televised by GPB. At stake will be the No. 1 spot in the rankings and a likely region championship and No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Stephenson won 13-6 last year in the first-ever meeting between the schools.