Four of Forsyth County’s six GHSA-participating football teams are guaranteed a playoff spot when the dust settles early Saturday morning, but there’s still much to be decided when it comes to the seeding. Two contests that will happen less than half a mile apart on Peachtree Parkway will count as region championship games on Friday night.
In Region 6-AAAAAA, Lambert (8-0), South Forsyth (7-1) and West Forsyth (6-2) sit in the first three slots, in that order, for the four playoff seeds that each individual region is allotted for the playoff bracket. North Fulton schools Centennial (5-3), Johns Creek (4-4) and Northview (4-4) all can sneak into that final spot with some help.
Lambert and South meet at War Eagle Stadium Friday in what will be, for all intents and purposes, the Region 6-AAAAAA championship game (and South has a new giant video board appropriate for the occasion). If South wins, the War Eagles will take the top seed from Lambert, but the Longhorns can fall no farther than No. 2. If Lambert wins, things will get interesting.
A 7-2 South team would lose a tiebreaker to a 7-2 West team, and the Wolverines have a very good shot of beating Johns Creek at home. With that said, it’s very unlikely South stays in its current position, but falling to third would mean a road game to open the playoffs. West cannot fall past the No. 4 seed by way of beating Centennial last week.
Assuming Johns Creek doesn’t beat West, Centennial and Northview are essentially playing a play-in game for the No. 4 seed. If Johns Creek beats West, they can win a tiebreaker against Northview but not Centennial.
The picture is more clear on the opposing side in Region 7-AAAAAA, which will face Region 6-AAAAAA teams in the opening round. Mill Creek (6-0) and Peachtree Ridge (6-0) face off this weekend for the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, while Norcross (4-2) and Collins Hill (4-2) also match up to decide the final slots.
If winners for this Friday are based off record, Lambert and West would host playoff games against Collins Hill or Norcross, while South and Centennial would visit Mill Creek or Peachtree Ridge. The only common game in the formula that regards Forsyth teams is West’s 51-13 loss to Mill Creek in the season opener. If Mill Creek falls to Peachtree Ridge and South defeats Lambert, the Wolverines will have to visit the Hawks again.
Then you have Pinecrest Academy all the way down in Class A. In Class A, playoff seeding is based off an official power rating system, involving a complex formula that ranks the top-16 private schools and top-16 public schools (eventually you get a Class A-Public and a Class-A Private state champion, as there are two separate state brackets in Class A). Pinecrest (8-1, 5-0 Region 6-A, Div. B) hasn’t received the attention from writers so far this season, but still ranks No. 3 (as of the October 27 ranking) behind Prince Avenue Christian and defending champion Mount Paran Christian. Fun news: Pinecrest, which fell 35-19 at home to Mount Paran on Sept. 25, gets another shot at them in a play-in game this Friday. Once again, the game will be at Pinecrest.
So why a play-in game? In Class A, eight region champions take the first spots in the bracket, with wildcard teams, ordered by their power ranking status, filling the remainder of the bracket.
Pinecrest and Mount Paran are members of a 12-team region, split in half into Div. A and Div. B. So, even though the two teams have already met this year, the Paladins will host the Eagles for the region title since the Eagles are from the other division. Look at it as an LSU-Florida matchup in the SEC Championship, even though LSU and Florida have already played (If this counts as the FCN’s official prediction for the SEC Championship, so be it).
If Pinecrest beats Mount Paran, they will be seeded at the top of the bracket based on the power ratings. If they lose, they’ll be in very good shape because of their high ranking, but will default as a wildcard team.