Tifton Gazette


November 4, 2013

Regular season ends Friday, but not everything settled

TIFTON — Who's in and who's out? That is the big question throughout the state this week, the last slate of regular season games before the state playoffs begin. For some schools, it is an easy answer. For others, the answer could possibly be in and out.

Region 1-AA is on the brink of chaos. If the Cook Hornets win over the Early County Bobcats Friday, it means that three teams are tied for two spots. It also means that Cook defeated Early who had beaten Fitzgerald who had defeated Cook. Fitzgerald's regular season finished Friday with a loss to Thomasville.

Fitzgerald's Jason Strickland said Monday he was still awaiting word from the region secretary as to what exactly the situation would be. He said he had gotten a call from Early's Trey Woolf, who was attempting to hammer out the what ifs. Last week, Ken Cofer of Cook admitted he was not sure of what happened in case of a three-way tie.

There are different options. One team may be out, per the rules of the region, or there will be mini-games early next week to eliminate one of them.

There is another team anxiously biting fingernails over its fate, too. Power rankings will be released today. The Turner County Rebels were No. 17 last week and were off. Only three of the 16 teams ahead of them lost Friday and of their four non-region opponents, only two of them won, making a surge in the standings difficult.

The only school on steady ground for the postseason is Irwin County, who has been the highest ranked non-region champion in Class A.

Tiftarea Academy and Worth County, both on the brink last week, lost their games, and will end their seasons Friday.

Brunswick (3-6) at Tift County (4-5), 7:30 p.m: Brunswick was eliminated from contention with a loss to Valdosta Friday. A win would allow the Devils to break even, which they have not done since 2010.

This will be the first trip to Tifton for a Glynn County team since 1940 (Glynn Academy). Pirate Cory Dixon is the second ranked rusher and third ranked passer in Region 1-AAAAAA. This will be senior night for the Blue Devils. Last year: Brunswick, 50-35.

Tiftarea Academy (5-5) at Westfield (8-1), 7:30 p.m: The Panthers are seeking their first all-time win in the series. This will be their 12th meeting. Deerfield-Windsor upended them for the No. 4 seed out of 1-AAA Friday, but they are already guaranteed their best mark since 2009. Westfield's lone loss was in their opener, to  Tattnall Square Academy. Last year: Westfield, 35-7.

Early County (5-4) at Cook (5-4), 7:30 p.m: If Early wins, they are the No. 3 and Fitzgerald is No. 4 and Cook is out. If Cook wins, there is a three-way tie. There was  a similar situation last year. Both qualified for the playoffs, but Early's upset win gave them the No. 3 slot. Cook kept Berrien's offense out of the endzone Friday, their 15th straight win in the rivalry. Early destroyed Pelham, 33-6. Last year: 27-22, Bobcats.

Charlton County (6-3) at Irwin County (7-1-1), 7:30 p.m: The region title has already been decided, but playoff seeds are on the line here as they are neck-and-neck in the power rankings and are both all but assured of postseason play. Last year's win for Irwin broke a 17-game losing streak in the series, which is now 17-16 in Charlton's favor. Last year: 55-34, Irwin.

Turner County (4-5) at Clinch County (6-3), 7:30 p.m: Turner is attempting to be the fourth team out Region 2-A to go to the playoffs, but they may have to back their way in, as Clinch has captured the region flag. The Rebels were 17th in the last rankings. Their last win in Homerville was in 1995. Surprisingly, they have not played often; this will only be the 13th game between them. Last year: Turner, 30-20.

Berrien (3-6) at Brooks County (8-1), 7:30 p.m:  Berrien came the closest they have been to arch-rival Cook since 1999 Friday, but the Hornets prevailed in the rain. Their finale comes against Region 1-AA's champs, who are well-rested following an off week and who have won the last 20 games between them. Last year: 43-14, Trojans.

Monroe (5-4) at Worth County (3-6), 7:30 p.m: Worth almost pulled off the upset against Westover, but fell, 24-17, at Hugh Mills Stadium. The Tornadoes are also playoffs bound. The teams have played annually since 1998, with the series starting in 1988. Worth holds a 14-9 advantage. Last year: Monroe, 31-14.


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