COVINGTON, Ga. — With two weeks remaining in the regular season, hope is still alive and well for all four local GHSA football teams aiming to make the playoffs.
Alcovy and Eastside clinched spots last week, while Newton has placed itself in favorable positions to earn a postseason berth in the weeks to come. Social Circle will need some assistance in order to slip into the playoffs, but has yet to be mathematically eliminated.
There are two weeks left in the regular season, and a lot of football to be played, but the playoff picture is beginning to come into focus. Here’s where things stand for each of the four teams in the area entering Week 11:
The Tigers are going to host a playoff game for the first time since 2011.
After going 0-5 against non-region competition to start the year, Alcovy came out strong for the start of Region 3-AAAAAA play. A road trip to Grovetown on Oct. 30 resulted in a 44-14 clobbering. For an encore performance the club handed Lakeside-Evans a 35-0 defeat at Sharp Stadium this past Friday.
Consequently, the Tigers’ game at Evans on Friday, Nov. 20, will serve as a de facto Region 3 championship.
This is just the fifth time Alcovy has qualified for the state playoffs; the team’s first appearance since 2013. The program, which began in 2006, also reached the postseason in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
If Alcovy takes down Evans in its regular season finale, it will earn the No. 1 seed and play host to the No. 4 seed from Region 2. Entering the week, Statesboro and Effingham County were neck-and-neck for fourth place.
A loss to the Knights would result in the No. 2 seed and a home game against the No. 3 seed from Region 2, which currently belongs to Richmond Hill.
Like Alcovy, Eastside has already earned its place in the 2020 state playoffs.
The Eagles are flying high in their first season in Region 8-AAAAA. Their lone blemish through five region games was a nail-biter at Clarke Central, when they came up on the wrong side of a 35-34 decision.
Clarke Central locked up its second straight region title with a win over Loganville on Friday, but Eastside’s still in the running to host a playoff game. Sitting at 4-1 against region competition with two games remaining, the club appears poised to earn the No. 2 seed.
If the Eagles win out against Walnut Grove and Greenbrier, they’d finished second in the region and host the No. 3 seed from Region 5, which currently belongs to Southwest Dekalb.
Back-to-back losses could drop the Eagles to No. 4. However, wins over Loganville, Apalachee and Jackson County earlier this year would prevent them from slipping out of the postseason entirely.
Following Friday night’s shutout loss to Mill Creek, Newton head coach Camiel Grant Jr. reminded his team that everything is still in front of them. Not only can Newton still make the playoffs, he noted, but the team can still Region 4-AAAAAAA.
As a matter of fact, the Rams could finish anywhere between No. 1 and No. 5 in the region depending on how the next two weeks unfold.
The club unloaded an immense amount of pressure on Oct. 30 when it pulled off the upset of Brookwood. Following the defeat against Parkview in its region opener, the triumph over the Broncos pulled the Rams to 1-1 in league play.
Playing in a five-team region, the Rams are currently slotted at No. 3. But there are several ways the next two weeks can play out.
In order for Newton to claim the region crown, it must first take down Grayson and South Gwinnett. Then, Parkview must lose to Brookwood in its regular season finale.
Wins over Grayson and South Gwinnett coupled with a Parkview victory would result in the No. 2 seed for Newton.
The No. 3 seed can be retained so long as the Rams remain above South Gwinnett and Brookwood. If either team wins its final two games, and Newton remains at one region win, they would climb past them in the region standings.
Back-to-back losses to Grayson and South Gwinnett coupled with two Brookwood victories would push Newton out of the postseason.
If it sounds complex, that’s because it is. The good news is that the Rams still control complete autonomy of their own destiny, which is equivalent to what any good head coach will tell you — they win, and they’re in.
The Redskins have stumbled out to a 0-3 start in Region 8-A Public and enter Week 11 in last place. But their postseason dreams are not yet dead. On the contrary, their path to the postseason is an extremely likely scenario.
Allow me to explain.
Social Circle’s final two games of the regular season are against Towns County and Greene County, who are currently positioned in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
In the event that the Redskins win out, and Towns County loses to Washington-Wilkes while Greene County loses to Lincoln County, then Social Circle would slip into the postseason as the No. 4 seed.
There are a lot of moving parts, but none that are out of realm of possibility — or even probability.