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PREP FOOTBALL NOTES: Lanier still chasing playoff spot

Lanier’s Devin Valentine (9) receives a pass ahead of a Chestatee defender into the endzone to score a touchdown during the first half of Friday’s game at Lanier. (Photo: Kyle Hess)

Lanier’s Devin Valentine (9) receives a pass ahead of a Chestatee defender into the endzone to score a touchdown during the first half of Friday’s game at Lanier. (Photo: Kyle Hess)

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South Gwinnett's Coray Keel

Immediately after falling in a heartbreaking homecoming double overtime thriller to Chestatee, Lanier coach Bill Wells shifted his focus.

“We’ll come back Monday and get to work,” he said.

Beyond the array of things last Friday’s loss meant to the Longhorns it mostly left the team’s playoff chances uncertain. That’s no good for any team, but when attempting to reach the postseason for the first time in school history the disappointment hits harder.

But the loss didn’t end the Longhorns chances and that’s why Wells so quickly shifted from retrospective for forecast.

The Longhorns are in a three-way tie for third at 2-2 in 8-AAAAA with Eastside and Stephens County. They beat Eastside 40-10 two weeks ago and face Stephens County on Friday night. A season ago, Stephens County topped the Longhorns 27-18.

A win doesn’t guarantee a playoff spot, but it would give Lanier any head-to-head advantage over both Eastside and Stephens County, which face off the following week. This is Lanier’s second season playing a full varsity football schedule so a playoff berth represents a fast rise and a big step for the young program.

Keel sets South TD mark

Coray Keel did more than end a drought. He even added a little extra to his South Gwinnett Comets win over Grayson.

The senior, who caught three touchdown passes in the Comets’ 28-21 win over Grayson set a new South Gwinnett mark for career touchdowns with 16. The Indiana commit opened the game with a 17-yard reception in the first quarter that gave South an early lead and also ended a two-year scoreless streak for the Comets against the Rams. He tied the career mark with a 62-yard score and he broke it with a 7-yard catch. The record-breaker also sealed the Comets’ win over Grayson, the first since 2010.

Time for a breakthrough?

So far this season, Meadowcreek ended a 53-game losing streak and then Shiloh erased a 21-year skid versus Parkview.

Two grateful ends for the programs, but after Shiloh’s there’s one longer. It’s been since 1986 and a 19-0 win since Berkmar last beat Brookwood. That’s 22 straight meetings spanning 27 years. In that stretch the closest the Patriots came was a 13-7 loss in 2008.

The Patriots and the Broncos meet Friday in Snellville.

Five for three

The mess that is Region 8-AAAAAA didn’t get any clearer after Friday’s wild night.

With the exception of Archer, which has a strangle on the top spot in the region at 6-0, there are five teams piled up in the middle fighting for the last three playoff spots.

Grayson is 4-2, Brookwood and Dacula are both 3-2 and South Gwinnett, Central Gwinnett are 2-3. Grayson still has games with Archer and Brookwood, while Dacula plays Central. South still gets Archer and Brookwood. Add in Shiloh, Parkview and Berkmar’s ability to rise up and take a team down, it leaves the middle of the 8-AAAAAA pack truly muddled together headed down the backstretch of the season.