For most of the teams in the area, the season boils down to a win tonight to extend their season at least one more week.
Only Lovejoy goes into its game at Alcovy tonight knowing that it will make the playoffs.
This is the position you want to be in for the regular season final — playing for a shot at the playoffs. In regions 4-AAAAA and 4-AAAA, they are subdivided and have a play-in game. The top four teams from each subregion play each other to decide the playoff teams.
Talk about pressure, because the subregion champion will have to play a No. 4 seed team.
In some cases, that might not be an easy win.
The season didn’t exactly go as Riverdale had planned under first-year coach Terry Herrod. A rash of injuries, including one to starting quarterback Greg Taylor, has the Raiders as a No. 4 seed. They might be one of the most dangerous fourth seeds with the return of Taylor from a stained ACL injury and an explosive offensive unit.
But Eagle’s Landing earned the right to be the No. 2 seed from its side of the subregion, which included a win over Riverdale earlier in the season.
Herrod said Friday’s game gives his team an opportunity to atone for a disappointing year.
“All you want is the opportunity to play for a shot at the playoffs,” Herrod said. “We have an opportunity to salvage what has been a disappointing season.”
And Eagle’s Landing has a shot to prove that what has transpired over the last nine games wasn’t a fluke. The long suffering program has had a record-setting year with a high-octane offense and a much-improved defensive unit.
Eagle’s Landing’s seven wins is the most in school history, and it is playing for the right for a playoff berth — only the second in school history.
For some teams, they are already in the postseason regardless of Friday’s outcome.
Lovejoy will be playing for its fourth straight region championship. Win or lose, the second-ranked Wildcats get to host a first round playoff game.
It’s a safe bet that the Al Hughes-coached team will be motivated heading over to Alcovy for its regular season finale. The Wildcats enter the game on a 32-game region winning streak.
Getting another shot at playing for a state title will be the focus for Lovejoy, which has made it to its classification game at the Georgia Dome the last two seasons.
But before the Wildcats turn their attention to the state playoffs, securing another region championship is the first order of business.
Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily newspaper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter? Follow him @DerrickMahone_