Photo by Derrick Mahone
Coach Max Wiltz’s North Clayton team controls its own playoff destiny in Region 4-AAAA. The Eagles just have to defeat Creekside tonight in Fairburn to earn the region’s No. 4 seed into next week’s playoff.
For the past 11 weeks, teams have been positioning themselves for the postseason.
As the regular season comes to a close, five teams in the Southern Crescent already have their playoff reservations reserved.
Regardless of tonight’s outcome, Lovejoy, Jonesboro, Drew, Stockbridge and Eagle’s Landing Christian will be playing next week in the first round of the playoffs.
Two teams — Henry County and North Clayton — are in must-win situations. If Henry County and North Clayton don’t win tonight, they will be collecting equipment next week.
Here is a breakdown of teams still in the playoff picture:
Jonesboro will be making its fifth playoff appearance in school history, its first since the 2008 season. The Cardinals will host a first round game next week. While its playoff berth is secure, Jonesboro’s opponent — Banneker — is still trying to gain entry into the postseason.
Banneker is the only team in Region 4-AAAA to score in double figures against region champion Lovejoy. Jonesboro is locked into the No. 2 spot in the region with tonight’s game having no bearing on its playoff berth. Banneker needs a win to have a shot at the No. 4 seed.
PLAYING FOR A PRIZE
ELCA already knows it will host a first round playoff game, but a win tonight against visiting Holy Innocents’ gives them the Region 5-A title for the second straight season. This matchup pits the last two region champions against each other.
Since its season-opening loss to Briarwood Christian of Alabama, ELCA has rolled off eight straight wins. The Chargers cruised through their Region 5-A South schedule with ease. ELCA outscored its subregion opponents 331-61, with most of the games having been decided before intermission.
If Stockbridge can put an end to Sandy’s Creek’s 35-game winning streak, the Tigers would earn their first region championship in school history. A loss would give the Tigers a No. 2 or 3 seed.
THE WAITING GAME
The Drew Titans could finish No. 2 in Region 4-AAA with a win coupled with losses by Henry County and Stockbridge. If Henry County, Stockbridge and Drew all win, then the Titans would finish fourth in the league.
Drew’s only chance at finishing second in the league is with a Henry County and Stockbridge loss.
But first Drew must do something it hasn’t done in the school’s three-year history — beat Locust Grove.
THE PRESSURE IS ON
Henry County needs a win over visiting Eastside to get into the playoff picture.
If North Clayton wins tonight against Creekside, it will lock up the No. 4 seed in Region 4-AAAA. A Banneker win over Jonesboro, and a North Clayton loss will give Banneker the No. 4 seed.
The No. 4 seed could end in a three-way tie if Banneker and North Clayton lose. It would put Creekside, Banneker and North Clayton all with four losses. Each has lost to one another.
In case of a three-way tie, the teams will play mini games to determine the final playoff team.