John McClellan’s high school football predictions: Your first look at the playoffs plus this Friday’s games.

John McClellan’s high school football predictions: Your first look at the playoffs plus this Friday’s games.

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The 2021 high school football season heads into the home stretch with three—or, in several cases, only two weeks—remaining in the regular season. Darlington’s dramatic come from behind win over Christian Heritage and Cartersville’s dominating victory over defending region champion Blessed Trinity highlighted a light schedule of high school football in Northwest Georgia. Region wins by Adairsville over Sonoraville and Cass over Hiram, along with Coosa’s first win of the season, also were key games on Thursday and Friday nights.

Cartersville is ranked Number 1 in the state in Class 5A by Georgia High School Football Daily and the Atlanta Journal- Constitution after the previously top ranked Warner Robins Demons lost to Ware County. The other rankings for local teams are unchanged with Rome Number 6 in Class 6A, Calhoun Number 6 in Class 5A, Cedartown Number 5 in Class 4A, Rockmart Number 9 in Class 3A, and Darlington Number 9 in Class A Private.

Here is a brief look at the most likely playoff race scenarios in northwest Georgia with three weekends left in the 2021 season:

Region 5-6A

Five teams—Alexander, Carrollton, Douglas County, Rome, and South Paulding—are tied for first place in the region and remain in contention for the four playoff spots. Rome and Carrollton are the consensus picks as the top two teams in the region with Alexander, based on the teams remaining on its schedule, regarded as the team that will not make the postseason.

Region 7-2A

Chattooga and Fannin County, who play this week, are the only teams unbeaten in region play and, along with Dade County, are almost certain to make the playoffs. The winner of this Friday’s Model-Pepperell game likely will earn the fourth and final playoff berth.

Region 7-A Private

Darlington and North Cobb Christian are unbeaten in region play going into this Friday night’s meeting. Christian Heritage and Mt. Paran Christian appear to be certain playoff teams with Walker missing the postseason.

Region 7-5A

Calhoun and Cartersville will play Oct. 29 with the winner taking first place and the loser second place in the region. Blessed Trinity and Cass, who have clinched playoff spots, will play that same night for third and fourth place. Region 7-5A teams will wrap up the regular season Oct. 29.

Region 7-4A

Cedartown, who has games remaining against Central of Carrollton and Heritage of Catoosa, is the overwhelming favorite to win the region championship. Central, Heritage, Northwest Whitfield, and Pickens are still in the hunt for the other three playoff spots.

Region 6-3A

Barring upsets, Ringgold and Rockmart will play on the final night of the regular season on November 5 for the region championship. Adairsville and North Murray are heavy favorites to land the other two playoff spots.

Region 6-A Private

Bowdon is the favorite to win the region with a game against Mt. Zion, who also is unbeaten in region play, on tap Friday night. Trion, Armuchee, and Gordon Lee are battling for the third and fourth berths.

GAPPS 1-AA

Johnson Ferry Christian Academy is the region leader heading into the home stretch with Unity Christian School a strong favorite to finish second. Fideles Christian, Lanier Christian, and Praise Academy are in contention for the third and final playoff spot.


Thursday: Trion (6-1, 1-1) at Armuchee (5-1, 1-1)

  • Series History: Trion leads 34-13-2
  • Last Meeting: Trion defeated Armuchee 41-14 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Trion Bulldogs increased their record to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in region play following a 38-6 win at BEST Academy. The Armuchee Indians, who were off Friday night, defeated the same BEST Academy team a week ago 35-14. Trion wins by 17.

Model (2-6, 1-3) at Pepperell (2-5, 1-2)

  • Series History: Pepperell leads 35-20-3
  • Last Meeting: Pepperell defeated Model 14-7 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Model Blue Devils, whose lone wins have come over region foe Coosa and non-region opponent LaFayette, are coming off a 35-7 loss to region co-leader Fannin County. The Pepperell Dragons, who were off Friday night and whose only non-region win came over Temple, dominated Gordon Central 39-14 a week ago. Pepperell wins by 9.

Trion (6-1, 1-1) at Armuchee (5-1, 1-1)

  • Series History: Trion leads 34-13-2
  • Last Meeting: Trion defeated Armuchee 41-14 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Trion Bulldogs increased their record to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in region play following a 38-6 win at BEST Academy. The Armuchee Indians, who were off Friday night, defeated the same BEST Academy team a week ago 35-14. Trion wins by 17.

Class 6A Number 6 Rome (5-2, 3-1) at Alexander (5-1, 3-1)

  • Series History: Rome leads 1-0
  • Last Meeting: Rome defeated Alexander 31-14 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Rome Wolves did not allow a score until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter a week ago in a 48-7 win over East Paulding being off on Friday night. The Alexander Cougars, who also did not play Friday night, ran their record to 5-1 in their last outing a week ago with a 52-22 win over Dalton. Alexander still must play Carrollton and South Paulding in the last two games of the year. Rome wins by 15.

Class A Private Number 9 Darlington (7-1, 2-0) at North Cobb Christian (3-4, 1-0)

  • Series History: Darlington leads 3-2
  • Last Meeting: North Cobb Christian defeated Darlington 28-10 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Darlington Tigers scored in the closing seconds of a back-and-forth affair to pull out a 28-24 homecoming win over Christian Heritage. The North Cobb Christian Eagles, who are only 3-4 for the year, shutout Walker 49-0. A Darlington win will give the Tigers their first region championship since 2015. Darlington wins by 7.

Coosa (1-6, 1-2) at Dade County (5-2, 2-1)

  • Series History: Coosa leads 19-8
  • Last Meeting: Coosa defeated Dade County 24-21 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Coosa Eagles, who had lost six straight games to start the 2021 season, broke their winless streak in a Thursday night 7-6 win at home over Gordon Central. The Dade County Wolverines, who are looking for their first winning season since 2015, lost to Chattooga 28-13 for their first region loss in 2021. Dade County wins by 19.

Holy Ground Baptist Academy (3-5) at Unity Christian School (5-2)

  • Series History: Tied 2-2
  • Last Meeting: Unity Christian defeated Holy Ground 49-0 on November 4, 2011.
  • The Holy Ground Baptist Stallions were in a horse race all night before pulling out an 80-64 win over Fideles Christian. The Unity Christian Lions, who were off Friday night, defeated the same Fideles Christian team a week ago 74-31. These two teams played each other in Unity Christian’s first football game ever when the school started football in 2009. Unity Christian wins by 20.

Class 5A Number 1 Cartersville (7-0, 3-0) at Woodland (1-7, 0-3)

  • Series History: Cartersville leads 5-0
  • Last Meeting: Cartersville defeated Woodland 47-0 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes broke fast out of the gate and never let up in a surprisingly one-sided 49-21 win over defending region champion Blessed Trinity. The Woodland Wildcats, whose lone win came in opening week over Gordon Central, remained winless in the region following a 52-6 loss to Calhoun. Cartersville wins by more than 30.

Cass (5-3, 2-0) at Class 5A Number 6 Calhoun (7-1, 3-0)

  • Series History: Calhoun leads 12-4
  • Last Meeting: Calhoun defeated Cass 44-14 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Cass Colonels clinched their first playoff berth since 2006 by coming from behind to defeat Hiram 34-24. The Calhoun Yellow Jackets stayed atop the Region 7-5A standings following a 52-6 win over Woodland. Calhoun wins by 28.

Adairsville (6-1, 4-1) at Class 3A Number 9 Rockmart (6-1, 5-0)

  • Series History: Rockmart leads 8-6
  • Last Meeting: Rockmart defeated Adairsville 45-7 on November 6, 2020.
  • The Adairsville Tigers overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to defeat Sonoraville 21-14 and set up this weekend’s key showdown with Rockmart. The Rockmart Yellow Jackets were solid on both sides of the ball in a 72-0 shutout of Murray County. Rockmart wins by 21.

LaFayette (4-3, 3-2) at Sonoraville (4-3, 2-3)

  • Series History: Sonoraville leads 2-1
  • Last Meeting: Sonoraville defeated LaFayette 42-38 on November 6, 2020.
  • The LaFayette Ramblers kept their slim playoff hopes alive in a 27-14 win in what many regarded as a mild upset of Coahulla Creek. The Sonoraville Phoenix controlled the first half but were unable to score the rest of the night in a 21-14 loss to Adairsville. Sonoraville wins by 6.

Chattooga (5-2, 4-0) at Fannin County (7-1, 3-0)

  • Series History: Chattooga leads 4-1
  • Last Meeting: Fannin County defeated Chattooga 37-7 on November 7, 2020.
  • The Chattooga Indians, who have won five straight games following season opening losses to Adairsville and Northwest Whitfield, pulled away in the second half to defeat Dade County 28-13. The Fannin County Rebels dominated Model 35-7 to stay undefeated in region play. The winner of this game will be in control of their destiny in their quest for the Region 7-2A championship. Fannin County wins by 19.

Off this week: Class 4A Number 5 Cedartown (7-1, 3-0 after defeating Ridgeland 50-6) and Gordon Central (0-7, 0-3 after losing to Coosa 7-6)


In other games involving schools in regions in Northwest Georgia:

  • Heritage of Catoosa (4-2) over Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (0-7) by 30 (Thursday)
  • Class 7A Number 6 Walton (4-2, 1-1) over North Paulding (4-3, 1-1) by 11
  • Class 6A Number 7 Carrollton (6-1, 3-1) over East Paulding (2-5, 1-3) by more than 30
  • Douglas County (6-1, 3-1) over Dalton (1-6, 0-4) by 19
  • South Paulding (5-2, 3-1) over Paulding County (2-5, 0-4) by 25
  • Class 5A Number 10 Blessed Trinity (4-4, 1-2) over Hiram (0-8, 0-3) by more than 30
  • Northwest Whitfield (4-3) over Southeast Whitfield (1-7) by more than 30
  • Class 3A Number 10 Ringgold (7-0, 5-0) over Coahulla Creek (4-4, 2-4) by 24
  • North Murray (5-2, 3-2) over Murray County (1-7, 0-6) by more than 30
  • Bremen (4-3, 0-1) over Temple (1-5, 0-2) by 10
  • Class 2A Number 9 Haralson County (7-1, 2-0) over Heard County (4-3, 1-0) by 16
  • Gordon Lee (3-4, 0-2) over BEST Academy (1-5, 0-2) by 19
  • Class A Public Number 7 Bowdon (6-1, 2-0) over Mt. Zion (6-1, 2-0) by 14
  • Christian Heritage (3-5, 1-1) over Mt. Paran Christian (3-4, 0-1) by 13
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