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Posted: October 23, 2012 8:53 p.m.

Fazio: Playoffs on the horizon for everyone

It's time to get serious.

The temperature has caused us to bring out the light jackets, the leaves have made us grab the rakes and football is now making us pay closer attention to the standings.

Believe it or not, there are just three more weeks left to the 2012 high school football season.

I know, it feels like the season just began and all the preseason analyzing and guessing was under way to see which team would go on to be a contender and which would scrape for the playoffs at the end of the season.

However in the home stretch of the season it looks like Alcovy, Newton and Eastside are all contenders.

This upcoming week is a huge one, probably the biggest of the season, and will determine how much more football Newtonians have to look forward to.

Staying close to home, there is only one game in town this weekend with Eastside hosting Walnut Grove with a chance at clinching a spot in the Class AAAA playoffs. The game not only gives the Eagles a chance at four straight victories for the first time since late in the 2010 season (by the way, the fourth win was the first round of the playoffs) but it will also give them a 2012 postseason berth.

With three games remaining, Eastside currently sits in third place in Region 8-AAAA two games behind Chestatee and 1 ½ games behind Monroe Area.

Chestatee is the only other region team to defeat the Eagles (it took two overtimes), so that tiebreaker is lost if the War Eagles were to lose just once with three left, including Monroe Area.

However, Monroe Area still remains on Eastside's schedule, along with Stephens, who sits 1 ½ games behind Eastside in the fourth and final playoff spot.

Walnut Grove comes into Friday's game at Sharp Stadium without a win and four region losses so it doesn't pose a threat, and the Eagles hold the tiebreaker over every other region team. All that jargon means simply that with one win the Eagles are in.

After Friday's game, if Eastside was to win - and with the Warriors having lost every game but one, the Eagles should be able to do so relatively easily - it has the chance to maybe even bring home a region title with the help of a coin flip.

The Eagles still have a very difficult game on the road at Stephens County, who some predicted would win the region, but they still have a good chance of not only reaching the playoffs but bringing a game to Sharp Stadium.

Eastside isn't the only team with a chance at keeping the Sharp Stadium lights on after the regular season concludes.

Newton travels to Lovejoy Friday with a shot at the Region 2-AAAAAA championship.

The Rams lost their first four games, but that's a distant memory now as Newton has won three straight. More importantly for Newton those three games were region contests.

Newton defeated Alcovy 14-7 to open region play, followed by a 19-3 win over Druid Hills and 27-6 victory over Rockdale.

That leaves the Rams as the only unbeaten Region 2-AAAAAA team other than Lovejoy.

The seventh-ranked Wildcats (AP's state rankings), though, are an impressive squad with their only loss to Colquitt County, 14-7 on Sept. 7. Since then Lovejoy has scored 43, 30, 58, 41, 50 and 60 points.

The Rams have three games left, including a matchup with 1-3 Luella, which poses the only threat to Newton's playoff spot. Newton's final game is at winless Morrow.

If the Rams win this weekend, they'll own the tiebreaker with one-loss Lovejoy and, if Alcovy comes away with a victory, one-loss Alcovy.

However, if Newton suffers its first region defeat, a win over Luella will put them in the playoffs, and coupled with a victory over Morrow will seal a second seed.

Alcovy still has a shot at a home-field game as well, currently sitting in third place in the region. However, 2-2 Rockdale and Lovejoy still remain on the schedule.

If things continue the way they have throughout the season, Lovejoy will head into that Nov. 9 game as the favorite, making the Rockdale game on Nov. 2 a battle for third and fourth place. It still gives the Tigers a strong shot at a postseason berth.

So with football season winding down and fall finally starting to feel like it's here, Newton County football will continue. All three teams are set to play beyond the rest of the season, giving us what we all want - more football.

 

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