McEachern locked up the 15th region championship of its history after beating Harrison 61-21 to claim the 4AAAAAA crown. Lassiter also secured its second region championship with a 28-14 win against Roswell in 5AAAAAA.
McEachern lost its first two games of the season, but it ran off seven consecutive region victories to take the title. The slow start didn’t damper coach Kyle Hockman’s belief that his team could still do big things this season.
“I felt like we had the pieces (to win a region championship), but they just weren’t fitting together yet,” he said. “But we all put the time in each week to get everyone together, and everyone responded.
“I thought the talent was there, and there was no doubt in our mind (that winning region was possible).”
The fate for the rest of Region 4AAAAAA is uncertain.
North Cobb, Hillgrove and Marietta are all currently tied for second with 5-2 records. If they all win their games next Friday, the Warriors would be the No. 2 team, with the Blue Devils and Hawks at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.
If South Cobb (4-3) beats Pebblebrook next Saturday, and Hillgrove loses to McEachern, the Hawks would still get the No. 4 spot after beating the Eagles — as long as Marietta and North Cobb win. A four-team tie would invoke a tiebreaker based on point-differential.
“The point-differential system involves all eight teams in the region,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “I told our kids to just take care of what’s on the field.”
Undefeated Lassiter will end its season at Etowah, already assured of the No. 1 seed, while Walton is securely in the No. 2 position after beating Etowah 21-16. It appears Wheeler can’t play its way into a possible state playoff bid, even with a win at Cherokee and losses by Etowah and Woodstock, which is at Milton this week.
Walton clinched the No. 2 seed without running back Tyren Jones, who injured his knee in the final moments of the first quarter during the Raiders’ win Friday.
Jones had a MRI on his injured knee on Saturday, and the results came back negative, according to coach Rocky Hidalgo. Jones has no structural damage in the knee — only a sprain — and Hidalgo said the doctors told Jones he could miss two to three weeks of action.
That means Cobb County’s second-leading rusher could be back when the state playoffs begin Nov. 16.
Kell clinched the No. 1 seed for the southern half of Region 7AAAAA (B) after beating Pope 31-3. The Greyhounds are the No. 2 seed, with Sprayberry No. 3 and Riverwood No. 4. The region play-in games next Friday will pit the first and fourth seeds of each subregion against one another, as well as the second and third seeds.
Forsyth Central will be at Kell, with Northview at Pope, Sequoyah at Sprayberry and Creekview at Riverwood. The winning teams will make the state playoffs, with the losers’ seasons coming to a close.
Kell would win its second region championship in three years with a victory, based on it beating the other subregion’s No. 1 seed, Creekview, earlier in the season.
Allatoona will travel to East Paulding in a battle of unbeatens that will determine the Region 5AAAAA championship.
Walker, the champion of Region 6A’s southern half, will be at Gordon Lee the No. 4 seed of the north. Whitefield Academy will be at Trion, and Mount Paran Christian will travel to Mount Zion-Carroll, the top team from the opposite subregion.
The new Class A power rankings system — introduced this year as part of the split between private and public schools — will determine the four playoff seeds, and the region champion, even if Walker and Mount Zion-Carroll both lose.
“The highest power-rated team gets the championship,” Mount Paran Christian coach Mitch Jordan said. “It’s a new system, but it’s simple. Everything pretty much evens out if you play a tough schedule and win.”
As of most recent power rankings released last Tuesday, Walker (13.50) was seventh among the Class A private schools. Whitefield (10.13) was 18th — just outside the top 16 teams that advance to the playoffs — and Mount Paran (7.99) was 23rd.
— Marietta Daily Journal sports editor John Bednarowski contributed to this report.