High School Sports

Playoff spots on the line: Games to watch in last regular week of Middle Ga. prep football

Here is a look at the top games from around the Middle Georgia area during the last week of the football regular season.

Warner Robins vs Veterans

7:30 p.m. Friday at Freedom Field

Story of the game: These two teams come in with identical 8-1 records and are both undefeated in region play. Much like last year, this game will determine the winner of the region. Veterans dropped that game 28-0 but has come back this season with a team that knows how to win games. Warner Robins has changed head coaches since then, but Marquis Westbrook hit the ground running. He has the Demons looking like a team that could compete for another state title.

Keys to the game for Warner Robins: The Veterans defense might be the best the Warner Robins Demons will have faced all season long. It is a big, physical group that dominates the line of scrimmage. The Demons will need quarterback Jalen Addie and wide receiver Marcayll Jones to stretch the field in order to create lanes to run the ball with Jahlen Rutherford.

Keys to the game for Veterans: The Warhawks will need to find ways to score the football. This isn’t a high-octane offense. The high on the season in region play is just 27 points last week against Thomas County Central. This could turn into a defensive battle that essentially turns into a race for which team gets to 21 first.

Staff pick: Warner Robins

Westside vs Peach County

7:30 p.m. Friday at Ed Defore

Story of the game: This is another game that will decide the region. If Westside is able to pull off the upset then this could turn into a three-way tie at the top with Peach County and Jackson. If Peach County is able to come away with a win, then they will clinch the region title for the fourth straight season. A win would also mark an undefeated region record for the senior class over the course of their entire four years with the program.

Keys to the game for Westside: The offense looked as good as it has all season in the win over Pike County. It will need to do the same this week against a stout Peach County defense. But it will be up to this defense to force the Trojans into mistakes and give that offense more possessions.

Keys to the game for Peach County: The biggest thing is not overlooking the Seminoles. This is a team that is on a mission to finally seal the deal after a pair of heartbreaking losses in the state title game over the last two seasons. The Trojans must take it one game at a time and not look forward or it could be easy to slip up.

Staff pick: Peach County

Northside vs Houston County

7:30 p.m. Friday at McConnell Talbert

Story of the game: Each team comes into this game winless in the region. This has turned into a play-in game with the winner making the playoffs. The Eagles haven’t missed the playoffs since 1991, while Houston County is fighting to get back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The Bears were riding high after a win over Peach County in overtime, but have lost five straight games. Northside hasn’t won since the Baldwin game in mid-September.

Keys to the game for Northside: The Eagles have scored just seven points over the last four games. This offense will need to find answers quickly to avoid missing the playoffs this season. If not this could turn into a long night and long offseason for a team that came into the season with high expectations following a state title appearance.

Keys to the game for Houston County: The Bears have some dynamic playmakers like quarterback Max Rigby and linebacker Wesley Steiner who have the ability to take over games on either side of the ball. This could be a low-scoring affair. Houston County will need to get its offense going earlier to help take the pressure off of the defense.

Staff pick: Houston County

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Justin Baxley is the fan life reporter at The Telegraph and writes stories centered around entertainment, food and sports in the Macon community. Justin joined the Telegraph staff after graduating from Mercer University in May 2017 with a degree in criminal justice and journalism. During his time at Mercer he served as the sports editor for The Cluster.