Ripe for the picking? Chances await county's football squads tonightFrom The Newnan Times-Herald Sports Staff
When it comes to high school football, the cooler the temperatures get, the higher the stakes seem to be upped on that particular Friday night.
As we creep into the first weekend of November (Has it been three months, already?), the county’s six lineups all face pivotal games that will either determine potential state playoff berths, positioning for a region play-in game or simply a chance to advance in the postseason in Heritage Christian’s case.
This week, The Heritage School can wrap up its first region football championship of its 7-year history by defeating 11-time GISA state champion Tattnall Square (2-7, 1-2) tonight at home.
Should the undefeated Hawks (8-0, 3-0) fall for the first time, Region 2-AAA will get a whole lot messier with Trinity Christian trying to keep pace heading into next week’s cross-county showdown with the Hawks. The Lions can keep pace with a victory tonight at Westminster of Augusta.
East Coweta (3-5, 2-1) and Newnan (6-2, 2-1) are looking to stay on a collision course for next week’s annual rivalry knowing Region 2-AAAAAA victories will clinch state playoff berths and set up a battle for at least second place and a first-round postseason game at home. The Indians travel to Douglas County (2-6, 1-2) while the Cougars make the trek a couple extra minutes further north to College Park to play a winless Westlake team at 0-8, 0-6 in region play.
Langston Hughes (7-1, 3-0) needs a win tonight over Tri-Cities (3-4, 1-2) to win the first region championship in its short four-year varsity history.
Northgate, meanwhile, takes on its closest rival in McIntosh with important implications for next week’s Region 4-AAAAA crossover game between subregions. The loser will finish fourth in the “B” subregion and travel to the 4A-AAAAA champion.
Both Whitewater (8-1, 3-0) and Creekside (7-2, 2-1) are locked into the top-two seeds from 4B-AAAAA and will host region play-in games against the respective No. 4 and No. 3 finishers from the ‘A’ subregion.
Union Grove, which shutout Northgate 23-0 at Henry Seldon Field, needs a win over 6-2 Drew tonight to lock up first in 4A-AAAAA
Should Union Grove win, Drew will finish behind Mundy’s Mill by way of a head-to-head loss to the Tigers. Mundy’s Mill travels to Ola tonight needing a win to keep at least a share of second place in 4A-AAAAA.
Got all that. If not, we’re about to give it to you again as we go through tonight’s prep picks.
WEEKLY FOOTBALL PREP PICKS
Last Week — 4-0 (1.000); Overall — 32-9 (.780)
(all at 7:30 p.m.)
East Coweta (3-5, 2-1) at Douglas County (2-6, 1-2): Douglas County fans left shaking their heads after a 7-point loss to Newnan considering the Tigers dominated time of possession in the first and third quarters, had an field goal wiped off the scoreboard, had another kick blocked and missed a game-tying extra point late. If the Indians don’t watch out, Tiger seniors Ellis Richardson at quarterback and Terrell Gibson at tailback could cause another fine mess.
After its own case of coulda, woulda, shoulda last week at Hughes, however, East Coweta doesn’t need any extra motivation knowing what could potentially be on the line against Newnan next Friday. Saturday expects to be a lot more enjoyable this week. INDIANS 28, TIGERS 14.
Newnan (6-2, 2-1) at Westlake (0-8, 0-3): Despite their record, the Lions have stayed with opponents throughout the year. In five of the losses, Westlake has fallen by a two scores or less including last week’s 21-14 decision to Tri-Cities at home. The Cougars, meanwhile, know what it’s been like to be in a dogfight for four quarters while winning by single digits in four of the team’s six victories including last week’s 21-13 win over Douglas County.
The positive, however, for Newnan coming out of the victory was a running game that produced a pair of 100-yard rushers for the first time all season. That bodes well tonight. COUGARS 21, LIONS 12.
McIntosh (5-3, 2-1) at Northgate (3-5, 1-2): The Chiefs, behind quarterback Andrew Johnson, are experiencing a turnaround that nearly included a win over Creekside last week. McIntosh outgained the Seminoles but fell 21-13 much in the same fashion that the Vikings watched a potential win slip away against Creekside the previous Friday.
Give McIntosh lots of credit, but this Viking team hasn’t reached their peak yet. Benton Washington’s 200-yard rushing effort in just his third game since returning from injury now has the Northgate offense matching much of the momentum its defense has provided throughout the year. VIKINGS 24, CHIEFS 17.
GISA Region 2-AAA
Tattnall Square (2-7, 1-2) at The Heritage School (8-0, 3-0): Talk about your role reversals. Tattnall is the most decorated GISA football program with 11 state titles while the Hawks are on the verge of just their first region championship tonight.
Legendary Trojan head coach Barney Hester will have his lineup primed for the upset. But they’re probably a week too late. Despite drubbing Westminster 49-14 in Augusta, Heritage may have played its sloppiest game of the year, enough to upset coaches Kevin Prisant and D.J. Clay. That may be as big an example of how far the Hawks have come this year. In a year of firsts at Heritage, another arrives tonight. HAWKS 41, TROJANS 21.
Trinity Christian (5-3, 2-1) at Westminster (6-3, 0-3): It’s a shorter week of sorts after a Saturday game and a long road trip east on I-20 tonight. But second-year GISA school Trinity has the battle scars from a physical victory over Mount de Sales to remind them of where its come in a month’s time. The Lions have won three of their last four games capped off by a three-game stretch against three successful private-school programs that call Macon home.
Trinity has the potential to make it four wins in its last five. LIONS 42, WILDCATS 14.
ICSGA 8-MAN PLAYOFFS
Life Christian (2-7) at Heritage Christian (6-1): It took nearly six years for Heritage Christian’s program to earn a No. 1 seed in the playoffs, so don’t expect them to bow out in the first round like they did last year. The Crusaders may be anticipating a playoff rematch with CrossPointe, who eliminated them 46-44 last season, in next week’s second round. CRUSADERS 63, LIFE 34.