Peachtree Ridge's Chris Sawdey (20) breaks a tackle from Norcross' Dezmen Cage (23) on Friday.
It isn't hard to figure out which is the marquee game in Gwinnett County as high school football's regular season draws to a close Friday.
Much is on the line when No. 8 state-ranked Peachtree Ridge visits Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium for a Region 7-AAAAA showdown with third-ranked North Gwinnett.
The region title goes to the winner, and if that winner is Peachtree Ridge (8-1, 7-0), it could send North (9-0, 7-0) into a possible coin flip with Collins Hill (8-1, 6-1) for the No. 2 seed, since the latter two teams do not meet due to a quirk in the region schedules.
Many metro Atlanta media outlets have certainly taken notice with the stakes in Friday night's game between the Lions and Bulldogs.
Regional cable outlet Comcast Sports Southeast has elected to televise the game as its Game of the Week based on recent fan voting on its Web site, with Matt Stewart and Chuck Oliver calling the action.
Likewise, local radio station 680 The Fan (680-AM) has also picked up the North-Peachtree Ridge clash as its Game of the Week, with Karl Werl and Doug Konkle providing commentary.
The hype will be nothing new for North, which has battled Peachtree Ridge and Norcross in high profile games in the last week of the season the last several years.
"Same play, different cast," Bulldogs coach Bob Sphire said.
Uzomah status still unknown
A very big factor in the North-Peachtree Ridge showdown could be how much, if at all, Bulldogs standout C.J. Uzomah plays.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound junior, who ranks in the top five among Gwinnett County quarterbacks in most categories having completed 111 of 175 passes for 1,301 yards and 11 TDs and added 568 yards and nine TDs on the ground, sat out North's 34-0 victory over Duluth last Friday with an unspecified injury.
According to Sphire, Uzomah's status will not be known until later this week.
"He was in (at his doctor Monday) morning, and he's back in on Wednesday," Sphire said. "We're preparing both ways -- as if we'll have him or we won't. That's just football.
"The good thing is, our body of work has already gotten us the playoffs. The most important thing is after this week. No one ever wants to sacrifice the playoffs for one game, even though this is a significant game."
More playoff implications
The North-Peachtree Ridge game is hardly the only one with postseason repercussions for Gwinnett teams Friday, though several local teams already know their fates.
Here is a brief overview:
As mentioned, the winner of the Peachtree Ridge-North Gwinnett game wins the region title.
If it's North, then the Bulldogs will be the No. 1 seed, followed by Peachtree Ridge at No. 2 and Collins Hill at No. 3. If the Lions win, the results of a Thursday coin flip will determine in which order Bulldogs and Eagles will be seeded.
Meanwhile, Norcross and North Forsyth remain tied for the No. 4 seed, though North Forsyth has the upper hand due to its head-to-head win earlier this season.
The Blue Devils can still make the playoffs, but need to beat Collins Hill and hope the Raiders fall in their regular season finale against Northview.
The situation here is very simple. Grayson (9-0) has clinched the region title, South Gwinnett (8-1) is the No. 2 seed and Dacula (6-3) is the No. 3 seed.
The big game will be at Brookwood Community Stadium, where the Broncos (4-5) play host to archrival Parkview (5-4), with the winner claiming the region's No. 4 seed. The Panthers are also trying to extend a streak of 15 straight playoff appearances.
Buford (8-1) helped itself immensely with last week's win over Westminster. The Wolves can wrap up a share of their ninth straight region championship, as well as a first-round home playoff game, by beating GAC.
The Wolves also still have a chance to be the region's top seed, though they will have to win and hope Decatur upsets Lovett.
Wesleyan (10-0) has not only clinched the region title, but also the first undefeated regular season in program history, and enjoys an open date this Friday heading into the postseason.