NORTH FULTON, Ga. – Two games this week involving four North Fulton high school football teams will decide three state playoff spots from Region 6-AAAAAA.
Centennial will host Chattahoochee on Thursday night (a televised game), with the winner getting the region’s fourth playoff berth and the loser packing up their football gear.
Alpharetta plays at Johns Creek on Friday, with the winner taking the region’s second playoff seed and earning a home game in the first round of the playoffs, probably against either Collins Hill or Mill Creek. The loser will be the third seed and will likely play at state-ranked North Gwinnett in the opening round.
Both Centennial and Chattahoochee have won three of their last four games, with each team losing to Alpharetta during that stretch.
“We’re starting to play better at the right time of the year,” Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder said. “I just wish this wasn’t for the fourth spot, but that’s better than not having a chance to make the playoffs.”
The Cougars have enjoyed some strong recent offensive showings, which Crowder credits to a more productive running game.
Chattahoochee features a more balanced offense, while the Knights rely almost entirely on their passing game. Centennial’s biggest threat is wide receiver Christian Robinson, who was blanketed by Alpharetta last week and limited to four receiving yards.
The Knights were able to mount a respectable passing game against the Raiders, but will need to get Robinson more involved offensively to match scores with the Cougars.
Crowder says the Knights are the most improved team in the region.
“They’re playing well offensively and defensively. They’re not a 3-6 team,” he said.
The Cougars are 4-2 in the region and 6-3 overall, with the Knights 3-3 in the region. Centennial will win the tiebreaker if both finish 4-3 in the region, with Chattahoochee losing a tiebreaker for third to the Alpharetta-Johns Creek loser. The No. 4 seed will play at unbeaten Norcross.
The game, which will be televised on WSB-TV’s digital channel, will kick off at 7 p.m., with the broadcast beginning at 7:30 p.m. on a slight tape delay. The game will be re-aired on WSB-TV the following night at 1 a.m.
Alpharetta and Johns Creek are tied with West Forsyth for first in the region at 5-1, with West Forsyth holding the tiebreaker over both North Fulton teams.
The game is an intriguing match-up between two teams of differing styles. Alpharetta features a pass-oriented offense directed by standout quarterback Joshua Dobbs and a deep and talented group of receivers led by Carlos Burse.
Johns Creek sports a more balanced offense, along with a very solid defense designed by former Alpharetta head coach Bill Waters, the Gladiators’ defensive coordinator.
After struggling on defense early in the season, the Raiders have played well in recent weeks, but will be challenged by a Johns Creek offense that has sufficient speed and skill to attack on several fronts.
“They are a very good football team,” Alpharetta coach Jason Dukes said of the Gladiators. “They have fast, talented players on offense starting with the quarterback, and their offensive and defensive lines are stalwart. They’ll be prepared.”
Johns Creek has played consistently excellent defense throughout the season, but the Gladiators have not seen a passing offense comparable to the Raiders.
“It’s like playing against Georgia Tech when you don’t see the option,” Johns Creek coach Mike Cloy said. “They’ve got a great quarterback and some great receivers.”
Cloy hopes his offense, led by quarterback Skye Overton and running back Chase Solomon, will be able to keep the ball away from the Raiders, but the Gladiators also have big play potential.