By Doug Gorman
The Mt. Zion Bulldogs might have lost to Northside Warner Robins earlier this year, but tonight head coach Jackie Green's club might just want to start their own booster club for the Eagles.
That's because Northside, not Mt. Zion, controls the Bulldogs' playoff destiny.
A win by Northside against Warner Robins, arguably its biggest rivalry, puts the Bulldogs into the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs next week.
A loss by Northside and the Bulldogs can stow the football gear away until next year.
On paper, Northside should be favorite to beat Warner Robins. Northside is the No. 3 ranked team in the latest Class AAAAA Associated football poll with a 9-0 overall record and an 8-0 mark in region play.
Warner Robins is 6-3 overall and 6-2 in region play.
Northside brings the region's best defense into the final game of the regular season. The Eagles are only yielding 155 yards per gam
Should Mt. Zion, which ended its regular season last Saturday with a loss at Westside Macon, make the playoffs, it would go into the postseason as the No. 4 seed out of Region 2-AAAAA and journey to the Georgia coast for a game against No. 1-ranked Camden County.
Green is counting on Northside beating Warner Robins, and is already looking ahead to the first round of the playoffs.
Tonight Green and the Mt. Zion coaching staff will make the long drive to Wayne County, to scout Camden County in its regular-season finale.
Through its first nine games of the season, Camden County has earned its No. 1 ranking by playing stout defense. The Wildcats have shutout six of their opponents.
The game would also set up the third playoff match-up between Green and his close friend Camden County head coach Jeff Herron.
Herron beat Green and the Bulldogs in the state championship game in 1999 when Herron was at Oconee County.
A year later, Herron moved to Camden County and the two hooked up again the playoffs.
This time the Bulldogs won 28-16.
Despite his friendship with Herron, Green welcomes the challenge of playing the state's No.-1 ranked team.
"We don't fear them," Green said. "We feel like playing in our tough region, prepares us for this type of a challenge."