ALBANY — With three weeks left in the regular season, postseason chatter has become more vocal with several local schools in contention.
In Region 1-AAAA, the scenario for Westover is simple — win out and the region title is theirs. The Patriots need just two wins in their final three games to clinch the region crown outright. They could also clinch by winning one of their remaining three if Cairo and Monroe lose. Westover holds the tie-breaker over both schools by winning head-to-head matchups with both of them.
Monroe and Cairo are currently tied for second-place. If Monroe beats Crisp County on Friday and Cairo beats Americus-Sumter, it sets up a pivotal game next week when the Tornadoes travel to Cairo. The winner will likely earn the region’s No. 2 seed.
Currently, Americus-Sumter and Crisp County are tied for the fourth and final playoff spot. That likely won’t be settled until Nov. 8 when the Panthers visit Crisp in the regular-season finale.
“Every week is a playoff game,” Crisp County coach Lee Campbell said. “That’s all we’ve talked about is how every game is important.”
REGION 1-A UNCERTAIN: Based on this week’s Georgia High School Association’s Class A power rankings, Seminole County and Mitchell County, both unbeaten in region play, would make the playoffs if the season ended today. However, Mitchell and Seminole each have three games left, including the regular-season finale against each other.
Seminole County is No. 2 behind Marion County, while Mitchell is No. 12.
One thing that is certain is that the winner of the Nov. 8 contest between the two in Donalsonville will put one team into the state public school playoffs because it will likely determine the Region 1-A champion, which earns an automatic trip to the postseason.
“You never know about those power rankings,” Mitchell County coach Larry Cornelius said. “But I still feel like we have a good chance to get in.”
Outside of Seminole and Mitchell, Terrell County is ranked 20th in the Class A public school power rankings.
BAINBRIDGE CAN CLINCH: The Bearcats have finished their gauntlet of Region 1-AAAAA powers Thomas County Central and Harris County. A win over Northside, Columbus on Friday — combined with a TCC win against Hardaway — and Bainbridge can clinch a spot in the Class AAAAA postseason.
The situation isn’t as clear for Lee County, which entertains Harris County this week. The Trojans need at least one win in their next three to clinch the postseason. Lee County is at home for their final three games of the season, including Nov. 1 against lowly Northside, Columbus and Nov. 8 against Bainbridge.
TOUGH ROAD FOR EARLY: The playoff possibilities in Region 1-AA are endless with three games left. Early County currently sits in a tie for the fourth spot with the Cook Hornets, who the Bobcats play in their final game on Nov. 8.
Early currently trails first-place Brooks County, while Fitzgerald and Thomasville are tied for second place. The two meet next Friday in Thomasville.
Early County entertains Fitzgerald on Friday, then plays Pelham and Cook in its final two games on the road.
DWS IMPROVING: Despite an overtime loss to Westfield last week, Deerfield-Windsor coach Allen Lowe likes how his young team has matured this season.
Last week’s loss was the Knights’ first in region play in at least six years.
On a positive note for Deerfield, the team fought its way back, scoring a touchdown with less than two minutes left and then converting the 2-point conversion to tie.
“Last week we learned a lot about our team,” Lowe said. “When the chips were totally down, our kids found a way to get back into the game where as some would have given up. I think our kids are believing in what we’re capable of doing.”
The Knights have a pair of region road games against Pinewood Christian and Tiftarea before returning home in their season finale to face Southland. Lowe said the team’s biggest games are ahead of them.
“We’ve just got to get back to work,” he said.