It may still feel a bit like summer-time with highs in the 80's here in November, but 16 teams will definitely feel a cold chill late Friday night when the final whistle blows and they are on the low end of the scoreboard.
Some first round games will go the way of the seedings, since many of the best teams in Georgia's Class A are matched against the least capable squads making the playoffs. The game in Lincolnton between the Devils and Our Lady of Mercy may be the most extreme mismatch of the night, but the games must be played because anything can happen with that odd-shaped ball. Just ask Florida State, Miami, or Florida at the college level, as they experienced the triple-witching hour a day earlier than Halloween.
But 2004 appears to offer the potential of several first round "upsets", if you call a lower-seed beating a higher-send an "upset."
Headlining Round 1, in our view, is the tussle in TigerTown when Trion makes its second visit of the season to Commerce. The first go-round ended with the Tigers surviving 36-27 over a Trion team that supposedly lost heavy to graduation after their great 2003 season and Dome visit. Commerce may still be licking its wounds a bit, but they best be ready for the T-Dawgs. The winner will most likely play in Lincolnton next week, if they needed any more incentive to win a playoff game.
Pacelli is one of two undefeated teams to reach the A playoffs. The Columbus Catholic school will host Telfair County, which fell a two-point conversion shy of sending their game with Twiggs County last week into overtime. The Vikings better be hardening their shields and sharpening their swords for this one, or their dream season could end. Likewise Johnson County may give once-beaten Randolph-Clay more than they want. We would not be surprised to see all four 4-A teams win in the first round.
Jefferson at Bremen is another potential classic. Both teams were undefeated until late in the region wars, and all their losses were to higher-seeded teams. This one could go either way.
Miller County visits Portal in another interesting game. The Panthers have had probably their best season ever, while the Pirates have suffered through one of their worst seasons in a long time. Miller has much more playoff experience, but will it be enough on the road to overcome a confident Portal squad.
And we can't leave without a comment about those Washington-Wilkes Tigers and their playoff game against Whitefield Academy. If the home-standing Tigers play as they have the last two weeks and don't look past this Friday, W-W should win decisively. A W-W win puts them playing at the winner of the Athens Academy - Gordon Lee game. That may seem to be a better bracket, but then comes round 3 and a trip to Da'ville to play the defending state champions. Not pretty.
Be sure to click on the Playoff Bracket icon to see our updated Projected Bracket, including our first round picks to win.
For fans of other area teams: Thomson is the top seed from Region 3-AAA, and will host Westover in the first round. Washington County hosts Troup County, and would play at Thomson in the second round, should both win their first round contests. Evans also made the playoffs.