With the prep football regular season wrapped up, the few teams left standing will soon begin competition in the postseason.
This weekend will mark the opening round for most local teams, but Darlington earned a first-round bye after finishing as the No. 7 team in the Class A Private Power Ratings. The top eight teams are awarded byes through to the second round.
“We’re always excited to have the opportunity to advance into the postseason,” Darlington head coach Tommy Atha said. “Everything is still in our hands as far as opportunities that are out there. We never take for granted being in the postseason.”
The Tigers (9-1) will try to bounce back after suffering their first loss of the season — a 42-7 loss to Fellowship Christian in the Region 6-A championship game.
“We would’ve liked to have played better Friday and won the region championship, but we’re thankful that we have a first-round bye and that we’ll host a home playoff game,” Atha said.
The Tigers will face the winner of the Aquinas-Mt. Paran matchup.
In Class A Public, Trion (5-5) dropped its last four games of the regular season, but managed to eke out a spot in the playoffs as the No. 23 team, facing No. 10 Commerce (8-2) on the road in the opening round.
in Class AA, Rockmart (10-0) again takes the No. 1 seed out of Region 7-AA for the third straight season after coming out on top against Model 27-0 to close out the regular season.
The top-ranked Yellow Jackets will face the No. 4 team out of Region 5-AA when they welcome Temple (6-4) for a first-round contest. Temple topped Lamar County 28-26 this past Friday to claim the last seed in the region.
Pepperell (8-2) takes the No. 2 seed into the playoffs after closing out the regular season with a 29-12 win against Chattooga, giving the Indians the No. 4 seed. The Dragons will host defending state champion Heard County, which defeated Rockmart 27-6 in last season’s state title game.
The Braves, however, lost several key seniors from last year’s squad including All-State first team selections Aaron Beasley and Zaylin Wood.
After struggling through the first part of the season, Model (5-5) bounced back to take three of its last four contests and claim the No. 3 spot in the region as first-year head coach Jeff Hunnicutt leads the Blue Devils to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Model will hit the road to go up against another group of Blue Devils in Bremen as the No. 2 seed out of Region 5-AA. Bremen (7-3) finished the regular season on a tear, winning five straight games coming into the playoffs.
Chattooga (5-5) rounds out the Region 7-AA squads and, after dropping three of its last five games, will head out on the road to take on Callaway (9-1), the No. 1 seed from Region 5-AA.
The Cavaliers had an off week to close out the regular season and haven’t lost a game since Week 1 when they fell 10-7 to Opelika (Ala.).
Also off for the last week of the regular season, Rome High (8-2) finished as the No. 2 seed out of Region 7-5A, and will host a Class 5A first-round matchup against Lithonia, the third seed out of Region 5-5A.
The Bulldogs (4-6) only came out on top in one of their first six games of the season, but won three of their last four to salvage a spot in the playoffs.
In Class 4A, Cedartown (5-2) was able to make its way into the playoffs by ending the regular season with a 29-7 win against Chapel Hill. The win secured the No. 3 seed in Region 5-4A for the Bulldogs and a road matchup against Marist in the first round.
The No. 2 seed out of Region 7-4A, Marist (9-1) took a nine-game winning streak into last week’s matchup against Blessed Trinity before coming up short 33-30 against the eventual region champion.