Ed Hooper and Derrick Davis
The Valdosta Daily Times
The final night of the high school football regular season features several games that will decide playoff positioning within the Georgia High School Association. Friday night also features the first round of the GISA state playoffs; Valwood hosts Central Fellowship.
Valdosta Wildcats (6-3) at Coffee Trojans (5-4)
Essentially, the Wildcats and the Trojans are battling for a playoff spot Friday night in Douglas. The Wildcats can clinch a playoff berth win a win, while they would need help with a loss. If Camden County beats Colquitt County and Coffee can beat Valdosta, then all three teams would be tied for the final two playoff spots in Region 1-6A. The tie-breaker, according to region rules, would go to the team that had the fewest “number of points allowed versus teams in playoff positions, including teams tied for playoff positions.” Heading into Friday, Colquitt County has allowed just 64 points, while Valdosta has allowed 96 and Coffee has given up 97. With how close the teams are separated in respect to points allowed, a loss by Valdosta will likely eliminate the Wildcats from the playoffs. In its visit to Coffee a year ago, Valdosta lost to the Trojans, 22-17, but managed to recover and win the region championship.
Central Fellowship Lancers (4-6) at Valwood Valiants (10-0)
The Valwood Valiants open up the GISA Class AA state playoffs by welcoming the Lancers of Central Fellowship to Goddard Field. It will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Valwood has won back-to-back region championships for the first time in school history, and finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record.
Cook Hornets (7-2) at Early County Bobcats (6-3)
The No. 3 seed in Region 1-AA is on the line Friday night when the Cook Hornets visit the Bobcats in Blakely. While the winner will secure the three seed, the loser will act as the No. 4 seed out of the region in the state playoffs, which begin next week. Last year, Cook edged out Early County 27-26 to clinch the No. 4 seed in the region, bumping the Bobcats from the playoffs. Cook enters Friday night’s game following a 57-22 win over Berrien, the Hornets’ highest scoring total of the season.
Brooks County Trojans (9-0) at Berrien Rebels (3-6)
The Trojans can clinch their first perfect regular season in school history with a win Friday night over the Berrien Rebels, who have been mathematically eliminated from the Class AA playoff race. Trying to finish the season on a high note, the Rebels face a tough task in beating the high-powered Trojans. Berrien hasn’t defeated Brooks County since 1990. Since head coach Maurice Freeman returned to the Brooks County program in 2008, the Trojans have won their four games over Berrien by an average of 34.25 points.
Clinch County Panthers (4-5) at Turner County Rebels (5-4)
Clinch County entered last week’s game against rival Clinch County as the No. 16 team in the Class A Public Schools power rankings. In need of a win, the Panthers responded and held the Bulldogs to 22 yards rushing and just four first downs on the night, winning the game 3-0 on a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter. This week, the Panthers will need another win in order to qualify for the state playoffs; they visit the Turner County Rebels, ranked 17th in last week’s standings. Last year, Clinch County blew out the Rebels 45-8.
Idle: Lowndes Vikings (9-1)
Season over: Lanier County Bulldogs (2-8)