Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro coach Tim Floyd (center) and his team will be trying to bounce back from its first loss of the season when the Cardinals take on North Clayton Saturday in a Region 4-AAAA contest.
There are only two more weeks remaining in the regular season and the playoff picture in Region 4-AAAA is starting to take shape.
Lovejoy’s win over Jonesboro last week put the eighth-ranked Wildcats in the driver’s seat for their second region title, but the other three playoff spots are still up for grabs.
Barring a major collapse, Lovejoy should clinch the region’s top seed for next month’s playoffs.
The following is a look at the region playoff race:
THE CONTENDERS: It is quite obvious that Lovejoy is the class of the region as the Wildcats are the only ranked team in the league. The Wildcats are sporting a 18-game regular-season win streak heading into tonight’s contest against winless Forest Park. Although games against Creekside and Riverdale will be challenging, the Wildcats have a shot at finishing undefeated for a second straight season.
North Clayton, Jonesboro and Tri-Cities and Banneker are all fighting for the remaining three playoff spots. The North Clayton and Jonesboro game this weekend could either clear up the race with a Jonesboro win, or cloud it even more with a North Clayton win.
Banneker and Tri-Cities, which each have two region losses, play this weekend in East Point.
Creekside, with three losses, is still clinging to its playoff hopes. The Seminoles host Mundy’s Mill tonight before closing the season at Lovejoy and hosting North Clayton in the season finale.
The Seminoles struggled at the beginning of the season because of injuries, but seem to be healthy now.
SPOILER: Riverdale has lone been eliminated from the playoff, but the Raiders are considered the most improved team in the league. First-year coach Olten Downs has had the team play at a high level all season with an impressive defense. At 3-5, the Raiders will try to close with two wins for its first non-losing season since going 5-5 in 2008.
To reach the .500 mark, Riverdale will need wins over Mundy’s Mill and Lovejoy after its bye week this weekend.
LOOKING AHEAD: Every team in this 11-team region has at least two wins except Forest Park and Morrow. These two teams are both 0-7 heading into the last three games. The two teams meet in the season finale on Nov. 3 at Tara Stadium. They both could come into the Thursday’s night game winless since Forest Park still has games against Lovejoy and North Clayton and Morrow has Mount Zion and Jonesboro on its schedule.
PLAYOFFS: The region will matchup against Region 3-AAAA in the first round of the playoffs. After Region 4-AAAA was swept in the first round last season, the region must hold its own to gain a measure of state-wide respect.
The Georgia High School Football Daily is projecting the Region 3-AAAA playoff teams at Whitewater, Alcovy, Northgate and Harris County.
After opening the season with a loss to powerhouse Sandy Creek, Whitewater has dominated its subregion. Whitewater takes on Northgate tonight in a game that will decide the subregion champion while Alcovy can clinch its subregion title with a win over Woodland.