Here’s what’s going on in Region 4-3A at the season’s midpoint:
In front so far: Last’s year’s top two in Region 2-3A, Jackson and Peach County, are in the mix for this region championship in the early going. With a couple of one-point escapes against larger teams, Peach County (4-1, 1-0) has run the table since its season-opening loss to Class 6A No. 1 Houston County, while Jackson (3-2, 1-0) followed up close losses to Mary Persons and Lamar County with back-to-back shutouts.
The challengers: Paced by Antonio Sanders Jr.’s strong two-way play, Central is 5-0 (1-0) for the first time in 35 years. The Chargers, however, have yet to play a team that is .500 or better. Westside (2-3, 0-1) front-loaded its schedule and hasn’t quite found its comfort zone on offense yet, but a favorable schedule at the end of the season should put the Seminoles in the mix for a playoff spot. Pike County is a wildcard. The Pirates finished 1-9 in Region 4B-4A last season but are off to a 3-1 start this year heading into its region opener Friday, handing Fayette County its first loss two weeks ago.
Three key players
Antavius Grier, Jackson: The three-star senior has 494 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, pacing a balanced offense that has averaged 37 points in its three victories.
Antonio Gilbert, Peach County: The junior is completing 58 percent of his passes for 794 yards and six touchdowns as part of a veteran, multi-talented group.
Sanders: Besides being on pace for another 1,000-yard season, the senior also lines up at middle linebacker and is one of the team’s top tacklers.
Three key games
Pike County at Central, Friday at Henderson Stadium: The winner becomes the top challenger to Peach County and Jackson. The loser will have a fight on its hands just to make the playoffs.
Westside vs. Central, Oct. 28 at Henderson Stadium: This matchup went to overtime last season before Westside prevailed on a Blaine Halvorson field goal. The winner likely will clinch a playoff trip on the spot, if things haven’t been decided by then.
Peach County at Jackson, Nov. 4: If things shake out like they did last year in Region 2-3A, this game likely will decide the region championship.