Here’s what to look for this weekend in Class AAAAA:
- The Region 3-AAAAA championship will essentially be decided on Friday when Richmond Hill plays at Ware County. Both teams are undefeated in region play. Richmond Hill is 6-0 overall and unranked, while Ware County is 5-1 and No. 9 in Class AAAAA. Ware County won 27-24 last season on its way to winning the region title. No other region opponent came with 17 points of the Gators in 2012.
- McIntosh can clinch a spot in the Region 4-AAAAA play-in games if it can beat Fayette County rival Starr’s Mill for the second consecutive season. That would put the Chiefs within one victory (in a win-or-go-home game on Nov. of reaching the state playoffs for the first time since 1987. “They’ve worked and they’ve worked,” third-year McIntosh head coach Lee Belknap said of his team after its 35-15 victory against Whitewater last week. “Their work ethic is second to none. I couldn’t be more proud of the way they’ve played on Friday nights. They play like they worked in the weight room and the way they practice.” McIntosh can set the school record for wins in a season with one more victory.
- Clarke Central will have to do a better job against Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson than it did last year if it hopes to retain a share of first place in Region 8-AAAAA. Clarke Central led 21-7 in the first quarter of the 2012 game, but Gainesville roared back for a 49-28 victory. Watson, the state’s all-time leader in career passing yardage, finished the game with 239 yards and six touchdowns passing and 174 yards and a TD rushing. The winner of their game probably needs just a victory against Flowery Branch down the stretch to capture the region title.
- The race in Region 5-AAAAA could get even tighter this weekend. First-place North Paulding (6-1) has the night off, while Allatoona, East Paulding and South Paulding (all 5-1) have winnable games and could pull into a four-way tie for the lead with three weeks to play. North Paulding controls its fate and will win the region title if it wins its remaining games. The key one will come on Nov. 1 when North Paulding plays at Allatoona.