082620_MNS_FB_St_Pius_005 Dennis O’Shea

St. Pius X quarterback Dennis O’Shea tries to break the tackle of a Madison County defender during a game in 2019.

A regular season marked by challenges and interruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has culminated with a reward for some Northside teams – a berth in the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) playoffs.

While some squads were still battling for postseason slots entering the final weekend of the regular season, several have already punched their tickets to the state tournament. Each local team’s playoff opponent was not known at the Neighbor’s deadline.

In Class 6A, North Atlanta (3-4) visited Lovejoy Nov. 19, with the winner locking up the fourth and final playoff spot from Region 4. The Warriors beat Morrow 32-0 Nov. 13.

In Class 5A, St. Pius X (7-1) hosted Decatur Nov. 20 after beating Stone Mountain 39-14 Nov. 13. The Golden Lions rushed for 273 yards but had no passing yards, and the defense held the Pirates to 11 yards rushing and 99 passing. St. Pius’ Dennis O’Shea, Cameron DeBose, Mason Benefield, Zani Patasin and Ben Dillon each had touchdown runs.

Woodward (6-3) visited Creekside Nov. 20, with the winner taking the Region 3 title. The War Eagles trounced Tri-Cities 28-7 Nov. 13 and were led by RB Damari Alston, who had 21 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns.

In Class 4A, Marist (7-0) visited Mays Nov. 20 after mauling Miller Grove 49-0 Nov. 13. The War Eagles rushed for 184 yards, passed for 76 more and its defense posted its sixth shutout of the year.

In Class 3A, Westminster (4-3) was idle Nov. 20 and is expected to take the third or fourth playoff spot from Region 5. The Wildcats were going to host Savannah Country Day Nov. 13, but that game was canceled.

In Class 2A, Lovett (7-2) and Pace (5-2) both are expected to advance to the playoffs from Region 6. The region-leading Lions were idle Nov. 20 and were going to host McNair Nov. 13, but on Nov. 4 the Mustangs announced they were canceling the season’s last three games, citing low participation numbers and a rash of injuries as why.

Pace (4-2) hosted KIPP Atlanta Collegiate Nov. 20 after its Nov. 13 game against Washington was postponed. With a win over KIPP, the Knights would clinch a playoff spot.

In Class A Private, Wesleyan (7-2), Mount Vernon (5-4) and Holy Innocents’ (4-5) are all advancing to the playoffs. The Wolves hosted Mount Vernon Nov. 20 in battle for the Region 5 championship.

Wesleyan edged Holy Innocents’ 20-13 Nov. 14. RB Griffin Caldwell ran 21 times for 162 yards and a TD to lead the Wolves. In the fourth quarter, the Golden Bears tied it at 13 on a 27-yard touchdown pass from QB Marshall Nichols to TE/WR Landon Kardian with 4:03 left. But on the ensuing Wesleyan possession, Caldwell scored on a 64-yard run to clinch the win.

Mount Vernon was off Nov. 13.

Whitefield (5-3) also will advance to the playoffs and could finish as high as second in Region 2. The WolfPack fell to Eagle’s Landing Christian 34-14 Nov. 13. RB Eric Little Jr. led Whitefield with 14 rushes for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The WolfPack was going to host Our Lady of Mercy Nov. 20, but that game was canceled in August when the Bobcats opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.

But at least three local teams will not advance to the GHSA playoffs.

In Class 7A, Campbell (2-8) was idle Nov. 20 and ended its season with a 34-7 loss to Newnan Nov. 13. The Spartans got their only touchdown in the third quarter, when LB Kaeto Nwosisi ripped the ball from RB Mondriques Jordan and returned it 38 yards to reduce the margin to 27-7.

In Class 6A, Riverwood (3-5) hosted Chattahoochee Nov. 20 in its season finale after falling to Sequoyah 28-17 Nov. 13.

In Class 5A, North Springs (0-8) ended its season by visiting Lithia Springs Nov. 20. The Spartans fell to Jackson (Atlanta) 2-0 Nov. 13 via forfeit.

In the Georgia Independent School Association’s (GISA)’s eight-man football league, Holy Spirit (0-9) ended its season with a 2-0 (forfeit) loss to Dominion Christian Nov. 13.

Results of all games Nov. 19 through 21 were not available at the Neighbor’s deadline.

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