The Panthers (6-3, 5-1 Region 4-AAA) claimed second place in Region 4-AAA and a home playoff berth with a 41-21 victory over Central-Carroll last Friday.
Chapel Hill is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2009 when it lost on the road at Northside-Warner Robins and is hosting for the first time since a 23-12 first-round win over Windsor Forest at Panther Stadium in 2008.
The Panthers have now won four-straight region games since losing to Region 4-AAA champion Callaway in LaGrange a month ago. They will go for their fifth win in a row when they finish the regular season Friday against Jackson-Atlanta at Grady Stadium, the same place they beat Douglass back on Oct. 12 to start their current streak.
“Second place. A home playoff game. That’s huge,” Chapel Hill first-year coach Geoff Pastrick said after Friday’s win. “The last time they made the playoffs, these seniors were freshman, so not many of them have experienced it.”
The Panthers will host the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAA on Nov. 16 in the first round of the Class AAA State Playoffs. Right now, that appears to be the Tattnall County Battle Creek Warriors, who currently sit in third place in Region 1-AAA with a 5-4 overall record and a 4-2 mark against region opponents.
The Battle Creek Warriors need a win over Johnson-Savannah (3-6, 3-3 Region 1-AAA) Friday to secure the No. 3 seed. Otherwise, Johnson would leapfrog Tattnall to claim the third spot and a trip to Chapel Hill, leaving Tattnall with fourth place in Region 1-AAA and a trip to Callaway instead.
Meanwhile, Douglas County (2-7, 1-3 Region 3-AAAAAA) will travel to East Point on Friday to face the Tri-Cities Bulldogs (3-6, 1-3 Region 3-AAAAAA) in what will be a winner takes all game. The winner gets the fourth and final playoff spot in 3-AAAAAA while the loser goes home.
If the Tigers can knock off the Bulldogs, they would travel to Lovejoy to take on the Region 2-AAAAAA champion Wildcats in the first round of the Class AAAAAA State Playoffs. Lovejoy is ranked seventh in the state and enters its final game against Alcovy with an 8-1 overall record and 5-0 mark in region play.
Alexander, New Manchester and Lithia Springs will all be vying for wins to go into the offseason with momentum for next year.
Alexander (1-8, 1-5 Region 5-AAAA) travels to Fayette County while New Manchester (2-7, 2-7 Region 5-AAAAA) hosts Hiram and Lithia Springs (1-8, 1-8 Region 5-AAAAAA) hosts South Paulding.
The Lions are having a celebration before Friday’s game with South Paulding to rename their stadium for former coach Melvin Crook.