Originally created 10/31/06

Hawks mowing down foes



WHO'S HOT: Washington County. The Golden Hawks have won five in a row, scoring an average of 49.6 points.

WHO'S NOT: Washington County opponents. Take out the 26 points Harlem scored in the best game the Bulldogs have played in years, and the other opponents have averaged less than one point per game.

BEST WIN LAST WEEK: Westside 21, Laney 6: It probably saved the Patriots' playoff hopes.

SECOND BEST WIN: Aquinas 22, Georgia Military 21: The Irish (1-7) had lost 11 of their past 13 games.

TOP AREA GAMES THIS WEEK:

1. South Aiken (5-5) at Aiken (9-1): Unless North Augusta stuns Irmo, this county clash will be for second place in the region. But second place could be just as good as first under South Carolina's new playoff structure.

2. Washinton-Wilkes (7-1) at Greene County (7-1): The Battle of the Tigers has it all: Two stars in Kelmetrus Wylie and Greene's Josh Nesbitt. Plus, the two tough teams meet with the Region 8-AA crown likely on the line.

3. Laney (5-3) at Jefferson County (6-2): If the Wildcats lose, it will be the first time they've lost three region games in a season since 2001 and likely eliminates a home playoff game this year.

CRAZY AHEAD: The current Region 3-AA standings: Jefferson County (5-0), Swainsboro (4-1), Westside (3-2), Screven County (3-2) and Laney (3-2).

So what's the likely scenario?

Jefferson County splits its last two games and takes the region. Swainsboro wins out for second. Laney, Screven and Westside go 1-1 and force a three-way tie for third and fourth. It's so muddled up because Laney beat Screven, but lost to Westside.

The Patriots created the jumble by falling to Screven County. What could follow? A Monday mini-game after the last week of the season at a neutral site.

Mini-games are a terrible way to decide a season. They are better than a coin flip. Barely.

MAD DOGS: No area team is playing at a higher level than Thomas Jefferson Academy. The Georgia Independent Schools Association Class A defending champ has given up 52 points in nine games while breaking the 52-point mark seven times this year.

"I know we are a private school playing in a small league but I'd put my best 20 guys up against anybody's best 20 at any level," Thomas Jefferson coach Chuck Wimberly said. "We sure won't scare anybody but these kids do a lot of things right and repeat it over and over an awful lot."

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.

Scary teams

Staff writer Jeff Sentell ranks the area teams with the best chances of bringing home a state championship this season.

1. Silver Bluff (9-1) Why? Aiken and Strom Thurmond games show they would be a contender in the Class AAA and Class AAAA brackets, too.

2. Lincoln County (8-1) Why? Defending Class A champ has played in the state title game 16 times in the past 30 years

3. Thomas Jefferson Academy (9-0) Why? Jaguars have been brilliant, but unbeaten Flint River won the Class AA title a year ago and has moved down to Class A.

4. Aiken (9-1) Why? Hornets have more speed and varsity experience on the line than any area team.

5. Blackville-Hilda (9-1) Why? The Fighting Hawks won't see region rival Bamberg-Ehrhardt in the playoffs. Bamberg is slotted in Class A Division I, and the Hawks will compete in the Class A Division II bracket.