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This is how North Forsyth football coach Jason Galt prefers his football seasons, a frenzied mad dash to the end with the season hanging seemingly on every play of every game.
"I like having every game mean something," Galt said.
Tonight couldn’t mean much more for Forsyth’s four high school football teams in playoff contention.
It’s a season finale arguably unlike anything the county has seen before. Forsyth’s four teams in Region 6-AAAAAA face each other with everything hanging in the balance.
Some are vying to host a first round playoff game (Lambert, West Forsyth).
Some are hanging on for dear life (Lambert, North, South Forsyth).
The possibilities are almost endless. I know this because an assistant coach emailed me two pages of scenarios for how the region standings could end up depending on certain outcomes tonight.
The only sure thing about tonight is the drama that each play will hold for the coaches, players and teams.
Consider how different tonight will be compared to one season ago.
Last season, Lambert went into its first-ever meeting with West on a four-game losing streak and already eliminated from playoff contention. The Wolverines’ playoff fate was already sealed – they had the No. 2 seed locked up – and they managed a 17-16 victory to hand Lambert its fifth straight loss.
North and South entered its Civil War rivalry reeling. North had lost six consecutive games. So had South. There was county pride on the line, but that was it. Both teams’ playoff hopes had vanished long before the War Eagles finished the season with a 35-14 win over the Raiders.
Now we get this. Lambert could finish anywhere from second to out of the playoffs. North and South could be anywhere from third to out of the playoffs. West could finish second or third. All of it depends on a whirlwind of outcomes and region tiebreakers.
To coaches, this is a sign of the strength of the region this season, and Forsyth teams in particular.
"There’s a lot of good football teams in this region," South coach Jeff Arnette said. "You look at the teams at the bottom who are playing people at the top close."
"I think it’s been a pretty good region," West coach Frank Hepler said. "I think the Forsyth schools have done pretty well against the Fulton schools. I’m really impressed with all our county teams. We have a lot to be proud of."
No, this region won’t be mistaken yet for Gwinnett’s Regions 7 and 8, or the pride of south Georgia, Region 1.
But it has been every bit as entertaining.
Brian Paglia is sports editor of the Forsyth County News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 770-205-8982 or follow him on Twitter @BrianPaglia.