The Buccaneers’ 10-game regular-season schedule starts and ends with region competition, and Allatoona has taken care of business so far, most recently routing Rome 45-14 on Friday behind the 216 rushing yards and four touchdowns of Josh Bettistea.
Region play will begin in earnest for Region 5AAAAAA next week, while Regions 6A and 7AAAAA will start subregion games the first weekend of October.
Region 4AAAAAA, however, showcased its wares Friday night, and judging by the outcome of several of the contests, the race for the four playoff positions should be interesting.
There were four games between region rivals, three of which were decided by six points or less and not clinched until the final seconds. The only lopsided score was second-ranked McEachern’s 53-7 rout of Pebblebrook, and even that was a one-possession game after the first quarter.
Fourth-ranked North Cobb stepped out of Region 4AAAAAA play and dropped a 28-13 loss at Walton.
Tenth-ranked Marietta trailed ninth-ranked Hillgrove by six with roughly 4 minutes remaining in the game. The Blue Devils drove to the Hawks’ 39-yard line with under a minute left, but they couldn’t get any further as three straight incompletions and a sack ended the game, giving the Hillgrove a 21-13 victory.
South Cobb quarterback Kylil Carter returned from a fourth-quarter injury to lead the Eagles to a game-winning drive over visiting Kennesaw Mountain, giving the Eagles a 34-28 win and coach Michael Youngblood his first victory at the team’s reins.
Kennesaw Mountain trailed 28-21, but it managed to tie the game behind Nigel Hayes’ 1-yard touchdown run. But after Carter returned and connected with Jarrell Pinkney for a 38-yard touchdown pass, South Cobb was ahead by six.
Kennesaw Mountain had a chance to tie or get the victory in the final seconds, but a hook-and-lateral play ended well short of the end zone.
Harrison held on for 28-26 home win over Campbell.
A penalty forced the Spartans into a third-and-29 situation which they failed to convert, Campbell turned the ball over on downs and Harrison ran out the clock.
If Friday’s Region 4AAAAAA games are any indication of what the region slate will look like, than the race for the postseason could be close until the final weeks of the regular season.
“There’s no question,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Andy Scott said. “When you get past the top-tier teams, you can throw everybody else in a hat and pick.
“We’re all getting better as a region. The South Cobb coach got his team to rebound for a big win, and from the next couple of games on our schedule, we hit a good mix of very good region teams, so it doesn’t get any easier.”
Campbell coach Harris Rainbow also sees the parity in the region.
“Our region is really good,” he said. “You better not leave with 4 minutes left in the fourth because you’ll probably miss something.
“There are some great teams in this region from top to bottom. There’s no doubt in my mind we’re the best region in the state. I think they’ll be a lot of close games because all the teams have great talent, great players, great coaches and great fans. It will be a wild ride in our region.”
Marietta coach Scott Burton echoed his peers’ statements.
“This region is very strong, and you can see that by looking at the rankings,” he said. “When you’re in a region game, every play is important, but you don’t know which plays, so you have to give tremendous effort every time you’re on the field. Because it’s region, the plays are all magnified and we’re all fighting for playoff spots.
“That’s the challenge when you play in a tough region like this. Every play matters.”