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Eagles still in control of region destiny

CONYERS - With four weeks remaining, the 2008 high school football season is hitting the homestretch.

So it's time to take a look at the six local squads and see where they stand in their region playoff races.

Region 8-AAA

Eastside (5-1 overall, 2-1 in 8-AAA) is in a five-way tie for first place after dropping a 24-7 decision to Hart County on Friday in Hartwell.

The Eagles are tied with Franklin County, Stephens County, Hart County and Oconee County for the top spot in 8-AAA.

The good news for Eastside is its remaining schedule. The Eagles play three of their final four games at home, starting with Friday's homecoming contest against Jackson County (1-4-1 overall, 0-3 in 8-AAA).

They also host playoff contenders Oconee County and Franklin County sandwiched around a road game at Morgan County.

This week's key game in 8-AAA is Hart County traveling to Watkinsville to face Oconee County. That means, at most, only four teams can be tied for the top spot after Friday, if Franklin County (hosting Elbert County) and Stephens County (at Morgan County) also win.

Region 8-AAAA

A pair of tough losses Friday night in Athens put Rockdale and Salem in a fifth-place tie at 3-3.

The Bulldogs and Seminoles both had chances to change the complexion of the playoff race. But Clarke Central rallied to beat Salem 22-21 with a last-second touchdown, and Cedar Shoals held off Rockdale 6-0 in a defensive struggle.

Both Rockdale County teams can still work themselves back into the playoff race over the next four weeks.

Right now, Clarke Central is alone in first place at 6-1 and has this week off before facing cross-town rival Cedar Shoals in the Classic City Showdown .

Loganville and Apalachee are tied for second at 5-1 and they square off Friday in a key 8-AAAA contest in Winder.

Salem gets another chance to shake up the race Friday when it hosts Cedar Shoals, which is in fourth place at 5-2.

Rockdale looks to end its three-game slide this week on the road against Winder-Barrow (1-5).

At 2-4, Heritage's playoff chances are slim going into the this week's game at Madison County (2-5) in Danielsville. The Patriots will need to win their final four games and then get some outside help. But even if that happens, there's no guarantee they'll make the postseason.

Region 4-AAAA

Alcovy (3-3 overall, 2-2 in 4-AAAA) is tied with Griffin for fifth place in Region 4-AAAA.

The Tigers will look to put some pressure on the front-runners with a victory at Ola (1-6 overall, 1-4 in 4-AAAA) on Friday.

North Clayton is off this week and leads the region at 5-0 followed by Dutchtown and Jonesboro in second at 3-1. Mount Zion holds down fourth place at 3-2.

The key game this week in the region is Thursday night when Dutchtown and Mount Zion square off in Tara Stadium.

Region 2-AAAAA

Newton (2-4 overall, 1-2 in 2-AAAAA) finds itself tied for second in the region with Douglass.

The Rams travel to face Greenbrier (1-5 overall, 0-3 in 2-AAAAA) on Friday night in Evans. Newton needs a victory Friday night because the 2-AAAAA standings are set to undergo a major shakeup thanks to two key games on Friday's slate that will pit the top four teams against each other.

Right now, Union Grove (6-0 overall, 3-0 in 2-AAAAA) and M.L. King (5-1 overall, 3-0 in 2-AAAAA) are tied for first place, but both squads have interesting matchups Friday.

Union Grove travels to meet Henry County rival Luella (5-1 overall, 2-1 in 2-AAAAA). The Lions are tied for third with Stephenson.

Meanwhile, Stephenson (5-1 overall, 2-1 in 2-AAAAA) squares off with M.L. King.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.