The fourth week of the high school football season didn't work out the way Newton, Alcovy and Eastside drew it up, but the three schools can confidently take away more than just a loss.
Alcovy finished up a non-region season that could very well have given the Tigers as many games against playoff teams as their Region 2-AAAAAA slate will.
If Alcovy makes the playoffs, which it seems more than capable of doing in one of Class AAAAAAA's weakest regions with three of the teams combined seven wins coming from Lovejoy, it will face three playoff teams.
The Tigers arguably have already done that in Region 2-AAAA Perry, Region 8-AAAA Eastside and Region 2-AAA Jackson, which beat the Tigers 13-10 in a closely contested road/rivalry game Friday.
Next up for the Tigers is Luella Friday as they embark on the region slate with a game against a winless Lions' team, which hasn't won since Oct. 21, 2011. Thanks to last week's loss, the Tigers not only head into this week with the possibility of a big win against a lesser opponent, and a need to make a region-opening statement but also with a bitter taste in their mouths that they will be eager to change.
While Alcovy opens up its region schedule, Eastside did so last week.
The Eagles had been looking for its offense to get on track throughout its first three games, two of which were wins, and that's what happened at Chestatee Friday. However, the War Eagles' offense also put up big numbers in a 57-56 double overtime victory over Eastside.
Not only did the Tigers have their biggest game offensively, tallying 429 of total offense, but they also showed that they are in it to win it.
In the second overtime, Eastside scored first and then chose to try to take advantage of a Chestatee defense that had given up 297 yards rushing and another 132 in the air and put the game away with a two-point conversion.
However, the conversion failed and Chestatee was able to get into the end zone and connect on an extra point on its ensuing possession to come away with the win.
Since I didn't get to personally see the game and can't put the play into context, I can't say whether or not the choice was a good one, and, as they say, hindsight is 20/20. But it did show that Eastside coach Rick Hurst is confident in his team enough to go for the win on the road rather than the tie.
That kind of attitude trickles down through the ranks and down the road, could prove useful if the Eagles find themselves down, needing to do the things to ensure a win, rather than play for a tie.
Newton hasn't been in a position to play for the win yet, falling in all three of its games, but took another step against Valdosta Friday.
Traveling to a hostile south Georgia environment, the Rams came away with their first points of the season in a 31-7 loss, and found a new weapon.
James Hardeman, previously a linebacker and early on a part-time running back, took on the starting role Friday and took advantage of his 14 carries with 123 yards.
Going forward the Rams now have a dependable running game to go with an offense that can produce results. The Rams host a Langston Hughes team which it has beaten in each of the last two season to open up their Region 2-AAAAAA schedule Thursday before playing Alcovy on Oct. 5.
All three local teams have a chance to win this week with Newton, Eastside and Alcovy's opponents going a combined 3-9 with Langston Hughes being the only team with wins.
But thanks in part to close calls and learning opportunities in losses on Friday, all three local teams have chances to win throughout the rest of their region schedules.