LANEY AT JOSEY
RECORDS: Laney 2-7, 2-4 Region 4-AA, Josey 1-8, 0-6
KEY PLAYERS: Laney-Sr. QB/DB Mario Sumpter, Jr. RB/LB Jarvis Washington, Sr. WR/DB Jalen Lovett. Josey-Sr. WR/DB Myron Godbee, Sr. OL/DL Marco Brown, Jr. QB Dakale Fluellen
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The annual city rivalry has no playoff or region implications this year, but pride is still a major factor for these two teams. Laney’s playoff hopes were dashed in tough fashion last week in an overtime loss at Harlem, and it’ll mark its first season without a playoff berth since 2009. Josey entered the season with high hopes and won the first game, but the Eagles never could get back on track. Laney owns the all-time series 37-14, including 14 of the past 15 and seven in a row. This year’s game could be closer than usual, though, if Josey can disrupt Laney’s passing attack.
HERITAGE AT EVANS
RECORDS: Heritage 6-3, 3-1 Region 3-AAAAAA, Evans 7-2, 4-0
KEY PLAYERS: Heritage-Sr. QB Caleb Pruitt, Sr. WR Jordan Young, Sr. DL Kurott Garland. Evans-Sr. RB Corey Watkins, Jr. QB Damekus Taylor, Sr. DE Coby Germany
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Evans entered the season with greater expectations and has matched them. The Knights will play for their first region title since 2008 in the final regular-season game against defending region champion Heritage. Evans routed Lakeside this past week for its fifth consecutive win, and the offense continues to roll to heights not seen within the program behind the production of Watkins and Taylor. Heritage boasts a similar, high-powered offense that could turn the game into a high-scoring affair. Heritage beat Evans 42-23 last year en route to the region title, so the Knights would like to reverse their fortunes this time.
JEFFERSON COUNTY AT SCREVEN COUNTY
RECORDS: Jefferson County 9-0, 6-0 Region 4-AA, Screven County 8-0, 6-0
KEY PLAYERS: Jefferson County-Sr. K Evans Hodges, Sr. QB C.J. Hales, Sr. WR Ty King. Screven County-Sr. FB/DL C.J. Wright, Sr. WR Tyquan Johnson, Sr. LB Kashawn Robinson
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: It’s time for the Region 4-AA heavyweight bout. These two teams have rolled through the schedule with few problems while eyeing this matchup the entire way. It’ll determine the region champion again after Screven County won 49-34 a year ago for the title. Both teams boast tons of talent on both sides of the ball, from No. 2 Screven County’s physical backfield that includes Wright to No. 6 Jefferson County’s high-flying offense with the duo of quarterbacks Hales and Jaden Jenkins. Expect a lot of points and potentially another tight finish between two state-ranked teams with state title aspirations.
WESTWOOD AT NORTH AUGUSTA
RECORDS: Westwood 5-5, 2-3 Region 3-AAAA, North Augusta 10-0, 4-0 Region 4-AAAA
KEY PLAYERS: Westwood-Sr. QB Elijah Heatley, Sr. LB Brice Harkness, Sr. DE Nick Williams. North Augusta-Sr. QB Landon Washington, Sr. RB Derius Gibson, Sr. ATH DeJuan Bell
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: North Augusta finished the regular season undefeated for the first time in 55 years. The fourth-ranked Yellow Jackets would like a similar run from 1962 when they reached the semifinals, only further. They have the talent to potentially make that happen, and the run starts with a battle-tested Westwood team in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs. The Redhawks like to throw the ball around with Heatley and a deep roster of receivers, while the defense has several athletes capable of causing disruptions. North Augusta has high hopes for a playoff run and needs to take care of business in the early games.
AQUINAS AT STRATFORD ACADEMY
RECORDS: Aquinas 6-3, 4-1 Region 7-A-B, Stratford Academy 9-0, 5-0 Region 7-A-A
KEY PLAYERS: Aquinas-Sr. ATH George Welch, Sr. RB/LB Joseph Douglas, Sr. WR/DE Bradley White. Stratford Academy-Jr. QB Christian Palmer, Sr. RB/DB Tyler Jordan, Sr. LB Larson McDaniel
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Aquinas and Stratford Academy will meet for the Region 7-A championship in Macon, Ga., thanks to a points system that got the Irish into the title game despite losing to Lincoln County this past week. Aquinas was on a five-game win streak before the rivalry loss, while Stratford Academy continues to roll through an undefeated season to this point, including a big 27-23 win over Tattnall Square this past week. The Irish will have their hands full against a state-ranked opponent, but anything can happen in a Class A region title game.