From Staff Reports
The North Clayton Eagles have a chance to close out the regular season with a 9-1 record Friday night when they play at Dutchtown.
North Clayton's only set back this year came Oct. 9 when it lost to No. 1-ranked Griffin in a Region 4-AAAA game.
Since then, North Clayton has used a high-flying offense and stingy defense, shutting out both Stockbridge (50-0) and Jonesboro (35-0).
The Eagles have outscored their opponents 262-68 through nine games. They have secured the No. 2 spot in Region 4-AAAA and will open the playoffs at home.
On a roll: After losing three-of-four contests in the middle of the season, the Henry County Warhawks, the two-time defending region champs, look like they have their act together heading into the final week of the regular season.
Henry County has won its last four games, all Region 4-AA contests, and none of them have even been close, as the Warhawks average margin of victory has been 18 points in those games.
The Warhawks, close out the regular season Friday at home against Monticello. The Hurricanes are 2-7, but are still looking for their first region win.
Breaking through: The Eagle's Landing football team finally tasted the thrill of victory Saturday night with its 14-12 win against South Atlanta. The Golden Eagles started the year with eight-straight losses before picking up the two-point victory.
Eagle's Landing will attempt to close out the season by starting a two-game winning streak Friday night when it plays Columbus at home in a non-region game.
Like Eagle's Landing, Columbus has only won one game.
Thursday and Saturday night specials: The last week of the regular season features both Thursday and Saturday games for teams in the Southern Crescent. On Thursday, Drew and Locust Grove conclude their first seasons ever with a kickoff at Southern Crescent Stadium in Riverdale.
The two teams are meeting for the second time this year. Locust Grove won the first meeting, 20-13.
Also, on Thursday night, Stockbridge takes on Jonesboro at Twelve Oaks.
In a Saturday contest, Union Grove plays M.L. King in an important Region 2-AAAAA contest. Both teams are 8-1 overall and 5-1 in region play. The winner of the contest secures second place and starts the playoffs next week at home.
Also, on Saturday, Lovejoy and Morrow end their seasons with a Region 4-AAAAA contest. Morrow is looking for its first win of the year.
Akins' big night: When Jordan Akins transferred to Union Grove from Strong Rock Christian Academy this summer, it gave the Wolverines yet another weapon to acclimate into their offense.
Last Friday, Akins looked completely comfortable scoring all three of Union Grove's touchdowns in a 21-19 victory over Newton.
The senior quarterback and wide receiver scored on a 5-yard run and two catches, one for 21 yards and another for 9 yards.
"We wanted to get the ball in his hands more and more," Union Grove coach Steven Collins said, "and he was able to do some great things with it.
"He's one of our playmakers. We've got four or five on offense we try to spread the ball around to. They've all relished in that, in spreading the wealth. But he definitely had a big night for us."
-- Brian Paglia
'Amazing' opportunity: Union Grove tried not to look past Newton to its game against M.L. King this Saturday, for the season-finale against the Lions held far more significance.
Once the Wolverines survived against the Rams, it set-up a game that gives this weekend's winner second-place in Region 2-AAAAA and a home playoff game.
That's something Union Grove players spoke excitedly about after Friday's game.
"It would be amazing," Union Grove linebacker Dareon Mays said about hosting a first-round playoff game. The Wolverines have already clinched their fifth playoff appearance in the program's nine years with a region schedule, but they've hosted a playoff game just once -- in 2002.
That's why a win against M.L. King on Saturday would mean so much to Union Grove.
"You don't understand," Mays continued. "This is what we work for. We worked to get homefield advantage in the playoffs and go to state. ... That would be a big thing for us. I mean, you see how the community is, so it would be a real big thing for us."
-- Brian Paglia