The situation in Region 6-AAA will either clear up a great deal or get even murkier this week, depending on the outcome of the game between St. Pius and Woodward Academy game.
If No. 6 St. Pius wins, the Golden Lions (6-1, 3-0) will be a step closer to defending their championship. Coach Paul Standard’s team closes with tough games against Blessed Trinity and Decatur.
If Woodward (5-2, 3-1) wins, the War Eagles would be in position to finish first. A Woodward win could throw the league into a four-way tie for first place and put even more importance in the final two weeks of the regular season.
Woodward and St. Pius have been sporadic rivals since the late 1960s. Woodward leads the series 12-3-2 and beat the Golden Lions 20-14 a year ago. The two teams have been slugging it out off and on since coaching legends George Maloof was at St. Pius and Graham Hixon was at Woodward.
Woodward is one of the best defensive teams that St. Pius has faced this year. Led by two-way standout Terry Googer, the War Eagles have allowed only a touchdown in each of their last three games.
St. Pius, however, runs the option as well as anyone behind quarterback Joey Connors and runners Dalton Wilson and Nick Ruffin. Pius is coming off an impressive 39-12 win over Cedar Grove.
There are many other games Friday that will have a bearing on their respective region playoff races:
Elbert County at Hart County: If No. 9 Elbert County (5-2, 4-0) can beat No. 5 Hart County (7-0, 4-0) on the road, the Blue Devils will virtually clinch the Region 8 championship. A Hart win would add extra meaning to the season finale against No. 10 North Oconee.
This game should be a showdown between two stellar quarterbacks. Hart’s Dakota Mitchell is a two-way threat and Elbert’s Mecole Hardman is an outstanding runner. Hardman ran for 166 yards last week in the win over North Oconee.
Cartersville at Adairsville: The No. 2 Purple Hurricanes (7-0, 4-0) should get a better test from Adairsville (5-2, 3-1) than most teams in Region 5. Adairsville will have a difficult time stopping the Cartersville offense, led by quarterback Brooks Barden, who had six touchdowns in the first half a week ago. It will be a good warmup for Cartersville’s season finale showdown against Ringgold. Cartersville leads the series 10-2 and Adairsville’s last win game in 1987.
Other important games this week include:
Region 2: Pike County at Peach County, where the loser will likely be the No. 3 team in the playoffs. A Peach win would set up a showdown for the region title with Carver.
Region 3: No. 3-ranked Washington County at Thomson isn’t the marquee game it’s been in the past, since the Bulldogs have struggled this season. But the winner of this game will most likely be the No. 1 team in the playoffs.
Region 7: White County, which upset North Hall a week ago, will be tested this week by Dawson County. North Hall returns home for a game with rival West Hall, which features teams that are both 3-1 in the league.