With four games remaining in the regular season, there’s a long, long way to go before the Cavaliers can celebrate a region title.
There’s no doubt the Cavaliers took a gigantic step toward securing that region crown with Friday’s hard-earned 14-10 win over Central-Carroll, though.
With the victory, the Cavaliers are the region’s only remaining unbeaten team, and they’ve beaten both of the teams that are tied for second with one loss.
The Cavaliers still have work left to do, though, beginning with Friday’s game against Haralson County.
In Region 5-AAAA, Sandy Creek, Carrollton and LaGrange are leading the pack with 3-0 records, and among the teams chasing them is Troup, which is 1-2.
In both regions, at stake are four state-playoff berths, and those spots will be determined over the next month.
Here’s a look at the playoff races in both regions.
Despite back-to-back blowout losses to Sandy Creek and Carrollton, Troup’s playoff hopes are alive and well.
Troup (1-5 overall) stands at 1-2 in the region, but it has winnable games coming up against Columbus and Fayette County, who have a combined one win between them.
If Troup wins those two games, it will head into a critical closing stretch against LaGrange and Shaw.
Troup head coach Lynn Kendall knew coming into the season how difficult it would be playing two of the state’s top teams in back-to-back weeks, but he said “that’s the luck of the draw. You play with the cards you’re dealt.”
Kendall said that even with Carrollton and Sandy Creek in the rearview mirror, there are still plenty of challenges ahead.
“You look at our schedule, there’s a bunch of good teams there,” Kendall said.
If Troup wins three of its final four games, that would likely be enough to secure one of the region’s four playoff spots.
LaGrange (5-2 overall), meanwhile, is sitting nicely at 3-0 in the region, although it’s toughest games are still to come.
After playing Fayette County on Friday, LaGrange closes the regular season against Sandy Creek, Troup and Carrollton.
LaGrange and Sandy Creek will most likely both be 4-0 in the region heading into their showdown on Oct. 26 at Callaway Stadium.
As LaGrange found out Friday against Alexander, though, there are no guarantees.
After taking a 42-7 lead, LaGrange had to hold on for a 42-28 victory over Alexander.
“The good news is, we won,” LaGrange head coach Donnie Branch said. “We’ll take it and move on.”
Sandy Creek (6-0 overall, 3-0 in region play) came into the season as the prohibitive favorite to win the region crown, and it has backed that up with some dominant play.
The Patriots have scored at least 48 points in each of their three region victories, and they beat playoff contender Shaw 51-26 last week.
Carrollton (4-2, 3-0) has also steamrolled the competition in the region.
The Trojans haven’t scored fewer than 44 points in a region game, and they thumped Troup 45-13 last week in a game that was 38-0 at the half.
Carrollton and Sandy Creek, by the way, are slated to play on Nov. 2 at Sandy Creek.
After Carrollton, Sandy Creek and LaGrange, no other team in the region has a winning record.
Troup (1-5, 1-2), Shaw (3-3, 1-2) and Fayette County (1-5, 1-2) each has one region win, and Columbus (0-6, 0-3) is bringing up the rear.
This race is Callaway’s to lose.
In a matchup of region unbeatens, Callaway rallied for a fourth-quarter touchdown to beat Central 14-10 last week.
It was a huge win for Callaway’s title hopes.
Had the Cavaliers lost, they likely would have needed to win out and have Central lose twice.
Now, if Callaway wins three out of its final four regular-season games, it will secure the region’s number one seed for the state playoffs.
“Good football teams find a way to win,” Callaway head coach PeteWiggins said after the Central game. “I feel like we did that.”
Central-Carroll and Chapel Hill each has one region loss, and Callaway has the tie-breaker edge over both of those teams because of the head-to-head matchups.
Central-Carroll (4-3, 3-1) and Chapel Hill (3-3, 2-1) are likely fighting for the second spot, and those two teams will play in the regular-season finale on Nov. 2.
Haralson County (4-3, 2-2), which visits Callaway this week, is one of four teams with two losses in the region.
The other two-loss teams are Jackson-Atlanta (3-3, 1-2), B.E.S.T. Academy (2-4, 1-2) and Rockmart (2-4, 1-2).
Douglass (1-5, 0-3) is the only team with a winless region record.