1 It’s tough to find a more intense and historic rivalry in the area than this matchup of Class A schools. Known as “The 378 War,” the annual game between Lincoln County and Washington-Wilkes pits neighbors, friends and sometimes even family members. The two teams first met in 1922 and the game embodies small town high school football. The two programs have combined for 18 state titles, including 14 for Lincoln County. The Red Devils have won the past three meetings, including twice last season when they met in the regular season and first round of the playoffs. They lead the Tigers 39-35-2 in the series.
2 Despite Laney’s recent dominance, this game remains arguably the most intense in Richmond County. The Wildcats have won 14 of the past 15 meetings, including six consecutive shutouts, and they’ve won 31-0 in each of the past two years. Josey’s last string of dominance came in the 1990s with seven consecutive victories. Laney leads the series 37-14.
3 Two of the winningest programs in the area tend to put on a show in this annual matchup with major implications. One of the best examples came last season when the two met in late October to determine the Region 3-AAAA champion. The Brickyard in Thomson was packed beyond its limits as the Bulldogs beat the Bears 20-7 en route to a state championship appearance. The overall series is always close to being evenly split, and the past few years have produced back and forth results. This year’s game in Waynesboro, Ga., should again have big region implications.
4 The most intense rivalry in Columbia County often results in a thrilling game that affects an entire season. Three of the previous four meetings were decided by eight points or fewer until Evans ran over Lakeside 52-14 last season. That victory set up a region title chance for the Knights before they fell short in the final regular season game. Each matchup tends to tilt the region favor one way or the other. Evans leads the all-time series 16-8-1 and has won three of the past four.
5 The emergence of Aquinas in recent years has quickly turned this matchup into one of the area’s most anticipated rivalries. Lincoln County won 32 games in a row between 1973-2012, but Aquinas has reeled off four consecutive victories since snapping the skid in 2013. Two of those four meetings have been thrillers decided by a combined six points, including a 34-30 Irish win last season. Not only is it a heated rivalry, it carries a big importance in Region 7-A. There’s a sense of urgency among the Red Devils to regain recent control of the series, but they still own the all-time record at 32-6-1.