Remember when Brookwood and Parkview played a few years in a row in the season finale? Or when North Gwinnett-Norcross or North Gwinnett-Peachtree Ridge in Game 10 decided the region title?
Those type of games provided a thrilling finish to the regular season, but don't expect similar drama this season at the Class AAAAA level. Nearly everything will be decided by Nov. 5, when teams not playoff-bound conclude their seasons.
Because of that, most of the drama will happen Friday, Game 9 for local football teams.
Some weeks the picking is slim for matchups between playoff contenders, but not this week. A handful of games that will determine region champions and playoff pecking order are on tap, including an interesting situation in Region 8-AAAAA.
The Brookwood-Grayson game will determine the 8-AAAAA champion, in one way or another. A Brookwood win gives the host Broncos the title, assuming they don't stumble against Berkmar in the season finale. A loss drops the Broncos out of a home playoff game and gives Grayson the No. 2 seed, while virtually gift-wrapping the region championship for South Gwinnett.
While North Gwinnett is expected to wrap up its second straight 7-AAAAA title this week with a win over Duluth, the region features two more intriguing matchups Friday. The Norcross-Collins Hill game wraps up the region's No. 2 seed and a home playoff game for the winner. More dire circumstances are at stake in the Mill Creek-Peachtree Ridge game, which likely will see the loser missing out on a playoff berth.
Even next door in Barrow County, the marquee game is in Game 9 instead of the finale when Apalachee hosts Winder-Barrow in a matchup of the county's two public high schools.
Most of the suspense for Gwinnett teams in the Nov. 5 regular-season finales will center around the smaller classifications. Both Buford, against the Lovett-Westminster winner, and Wesleyan, against Eagle's Landing Christian, will be in region championship games. Meanwhile, Greater Atlanta Christian will be in a 6-AA play-in game to secure a playoff spot.
The Game 10 slate won't be so exciting at the AAAAA level, but the Game 9 schedule is full of big games. Hope you enjoy them this Friday.
Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays.