The game to determine the championship in Region 7-AAA will be determined when Ringgold travels to Cartersville on Friday night. These two relatively new regional rivals will finish one-two in the league, but only one can be a No. 1 seed. Which one will it be?
Ringgold (8-1) has been fighting for a little respect all year. After losing an early season game to Central Carroll – a loss that likely kept them out of the polls — the Tigers have won six straight times. Only once has the score been closer than 18 points. Ringgold hasn’t had a nine-win season since 1989, the only time it has occurred in the school’s history.
Cartersville (9-0) has not been tested. Its slimmest margin of victory was a 35-point win over Cass on Sept. 6. The Canes’ average margin of victory has been an incredible 42.6 points.
It has all the makings of a shootout thanks to a pair of outstanding quarterbacks. Ringgold is led by Slade Dale, who operates an offense that averages 39.6 points. Cartersville’s Brooks Barden has been even better; the Hurricanes are averaging 50.4 points and need 46 points to become the 10th GHSA school to score 500 points during the regular season.
This is only the fifth meeting between the two teams. Cartersville has won all four, including 42-7 a year ago.
Other significant games this week are:
Blessed Trinity vs. Cedar Grove (Halford Stadium): Blessed Trinity (6-3) will win the Region 6-AAA championship with a victory. Cedar Grove (6-3) can guarantee a spot in the playoffs for the fourth straight year with a victory. The two teams met for the first time a year ago and Blessed Trinity prevailed 28-22.
Decatur at St. Pius: Either of these teams will make the playoffs win a win. This rivalry began in 1970 and resumed a year ago after a 13-year intermission. St. Pius rolled 48-0, but Decatur is hungering for its first postseason appearance since 2003.
North Oconee at Hart County: A month ago this game was expected to determine the Region 8-AAA championship. But Elbert County decided to rise from the ashes, beat both favorites and claim the title. That leaves Hart (8-1) and North Oconee (7-2) to play for the No. 2 spot. North Oconee leads the series 3-0 and won last year’s game 42-14.
Buford at North Hall: The steam came out of this one last month when White County knocked off North Hall. That means No. 1 Buford (9-0) will still win the Region 7-AAA championship unless North Hall (8-1) can not only upset the Wolves, but beat them by more than 12 points. Buford won 45-16 last year. The Wolves haven’t lost by that many since a 14-0 setback at Carver in 2010.
SE Bulloch at Appling County: A win means Appling County (7-2) will win the outright Region 1-AAA championship. A win by Southeast Bulloch (7-1-1) would throw things into a three-way tie. This will be the fifth time in six years that Appling has made the postseason under coach J.T. Pollock. Southeast hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003.