COVINGTON, Ga. — A year after all four local Georgia High School Association schools in the Newton County area experienced great success, each team now will look to navigate a new region schedule.
Alcovy, Eastside, Newton and Social Circle will each encounter a difference, whether great or small, in its 2022 classification.
Alcovy welcomes six new teams to Region 3-6A
The Tigers reigned supreme capturing the 2021 Region 3-AAAAAA championship. But now, they won’t be the only reigning region champions in this year’s region.
Woodward Academy, which went 11-1 overall and 7-0 in Region 3-AAAAA, claimed its region championship in 2021. It was the War Eagles’ sixth region championship in the past eight seasons. The War Eagles also advanced to the second round of the state playoffs, but lost to Blessed Trinity 28-13.
Jonesboro enters from Region 3-AAAAA and it went 7-4 overall with a 5-2 region record. It was bounced from the playoffs losing at Warner Robins 64-20.
The only other team joining the region who made the playoffs last year is Lovejoy. It went 5-5 overall with a 2-3 record in Region 4-AAAAAA. It, too, went to the second round of the state playoffs and lost 44-7 against Buford.
Forest Park (2-7, 0-7 in Region 3-AAAAA), Morrow (1-9, 0-5 in Region 4-AAAAAA) and Mundy’s Mill (3-6, 3-4 in Region 3-AAAAA) all missed the playoffs in 2021. However, just as Alcovy has a first-year head coach in Spencer Fortson, Forest Park and Mundy’s Mill will be under the direction of new head coaches, too.
Corey Johnson, the former Heritage coach, will lead Forest Park while Mundy’s Mill welcomes Earthwind Moreland to be its next head coach.
Rockdale County is the only team rejoining the Tigers in Region 3-6AAAAAA. The Bulldogs missed the playoffs after going 1-8 overall with a 0-5 region record. Alcovy also defeated Rockdale last year, 24-6.
Eastside aims for growth in new look Region 8-5A
For the third year in a row, the Eagles stay put in Region 8-AAAAA where they finished third in the final standings last year. Eastside finished 8-4 overall with a 5-2 region record.
It then advanced to the second round of the state playoffs before losing 66-42 against Jones County.
One of the Eagles’ two region losses last year came against the eventual Region 8-AAAAA champion, Clarke Central. The Gladiators are in their 11th straight season as members of this region where they have claimed the last three region titles.
Eastside gave Clarke Central its third closest region contest of 2021 in a 13-6 loss. The Gladiators’ season ended in the quarterfinals with a 31-7 loss to Calhoun.
Also entering its 11th straight year in this region is Loganville. Last year, the Red Devils missed the playoffs going 4-6 overall and 3-4 in region play. Eastside triumphed over Loganville a year ago, 10-9.
Heritage of Conyers (1-9, 1-4 in Region 3-AAAAAA) and Winder-Barrow (4-6, 2-4 in Region 8-AAAAAA) missed postseason action as well. But, even though Winder-Barrow is new to Region 8-AAAAA, Eastside defeated the Bulldoggs 20-8 in non-region action last year.
Flowery Branch will join this region following a 8-4 overall, 4-2 in Region 8-AAAA finish last year. Flowery Branch was bounced in the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs losing at Perry 42-7. Now, it’ll be under the direction of new head coach Jason Tester.
Jefferson is another school adjusting to a new head coach this year as Travis Noland is now at the helm. Being two years removed from winning the Region 8-AAAA championship, the Dragons finished 9-2 overall with a 5-1 region record in 2021.
A 12-10 first round playoff loss to Hapeville Charter ended Jefferson’s 2021 season.
Newton looks for return to playoffs in Region 4-7A
Of all the local schools, the Newton Rams will encounter the least amount of change in Region 4-AAAAAAA. Five of the six teams in 2021 return with the addition of Archer being the only difference from last year.
Archer (7-5, 6-0) is the reigning Region 7-AAAAAAA champions.. In 2016 and 2017, Archer and Newton were in the same region with the Tigers winning the 2017 matchup 20-19. Last year in the playoffs, Archer advanced to the second round and was bounced in a 34-7 loss to Walton High School.
All other opponents remain the same for the Rams.
First and foremost, Brookwood, who claimed the Region 4-AAAAAAA title in 2021 returns after going 4-0 in region play and 10-3 overall. The Broncos triumphed over the Rams 28-6 last year as one of those four wins.
Brookwood advanced to the quarterfinals before losing 52-35 to Walton High School.
Region runner-up Grayson (10-4, 3-1) is now two years removed from its 2020 region and state titles. The Rams defeated Newton 15-7 and advanced to the semi-finals last year, losing 31-0 to Collins Hill.
Parkview finished 4-7 overall with a 1-3 region record. Newton bested Parkview in 2021 defeating the Panthers 27-24. Parkview ended its season in the first round of the playoffs with a 44-41 loss against Pebblebrook.
Lastly, South Gwinnett, which officially eliminated the Rams from playoff contention last year, finished 2021 at 5-6 overall with a 1-3 region record. The Comets defeated Newton 13-6 in the Rams’ season finale.
From there, South Gwinnett lost to McEachern 34-28 in the first round of the state playoffs.
Social Circle joins a four-team Region 5A-Division I
One thing is guaranteed for the Redskins in 2022: They will advance to the state playoffs for the third straight season. However, Social Circle wants more than just a playoff appearance.
In 2021, the Redskins (6-5, 3-2) finished third in Region 8A-Public. Now, they’ll face three brand new region opponents.
The only newcomer who had a playoff appearance last year is Prince Avenue. The Wolverines went 13-2 overall with a 4-0 record in Region 8A-Private. Prince Avenue is also back-to-back region champions and, in 2020, claimed the state title.
Oglethorpe County finished 2021 with a 3-7 overall record along with a 3-4 record in Region 4-AA. The Patriots missed the playoffs last season after ending a 21-year drought from postseason action in 2020.
Rounding out the new look region is Jasper County (Monticello). The Hurricanes went 0-10 overall in 2021 and 0-6 in Region 3-AA. They also missed the playoffs with Jasper County’s last appearance being in 2018.
The Hurricanes will enter 2022 under the direction of new head coach Ashley Henderson.