As of Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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Gwinnett Daily Post
What began as a test four years ago has turned into a staple for Region 8-AAAAA's junior varsity and ninth-grade football teams.
Rather than play seven games with no postseason meaning, the region's teams went to a four-game format for seeding, followed by a three-game postseason to determine a region champion in the lower levels. The players compete for years in a playoff format in the Gwinnett Football League, so it made sense to have a system in place for freshman and JV players that was more in line with the varsity program's schedule.
"It's been a good thing for us," Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said. "The kids get excited about it. They're playing for something. I think they learn more (in this format). They learn to get ready and they learn that sometimes you have to play the same team twice."
The 8-AAAAA programs complete their playoffs Thursday night led by Grayson, which has both its JV and ninth-grade teams in the region championship games. The Rams host Dacula in the JV finals and they travel to South Gwinnett for ninth-grade title game. Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m.
Grayson reached the JV finals with two impressive playoff wins, 28-0 over Parkview and 61-18 over Central Gwinnett. Its opponent in the championship game if Dacula, which beat South Gwinnett (26-12) in the first round of the playoffs and then upset unbeaten Brookwood (21-14) in the semifinals.
In the ninth-grade bracket, Grayson defeated Shiloh 35-22 and Dacula 31-28, bouncing back from a 2-2 record entering the playoff round. South (5-1) reached the freshman final by beating Brookwood 33-14 and Archer 28-16.