Soccer playoff spots filling up fast

COVINGTON -- All six boys teams and three girls team are still in the hunt for the state soccer playoffs with fewer than four games left in region play.

The Alcovy and Heritage boys teams are almost guaranteed to make it to the playoffs, while Newton, Rockdale, Salem and Eastside need a lot of help.

On the girls side, the Lady Patriots could once again become region champion while the Lady Tigers have a chance to host for the first time in school history. It's easy for the Newton girls -- win their final region game and they're in the playoffs.

In the boys Region 2-AAAAAA, Alcovy has the No. 3 seed with Newton and Rockdale tied for the final spot with one region game left.

Alcovy will travel to Rockdale on Friday, while Newton has to wait until April 19 before it plays last-place Morrow at home.

If Alcovy beats Rockdale, the Tigers will secure the No. 3 seed with a 4-2 record. If both Rockdale and Newton lose, then Newton will get the No. 4 seed as a result of its 3-2 win. A Rockdale win and a Newton loss will push the Bulldogs up to the No. 3 spot and bring the Tigers down to the No. 4 spot as a result of tiebreaker against Newton.

However, a Rockdale win and a Newton win will put all three teams at 3-3 in the area with each team being 1-1 against each other.

Druid Hills and Luella are both 5-0 and will play for the region championship on April 19.

In Region 8-AAAAA for the boys, Heritage and Cedar Shoals are tied at 4-1 and will face off on April 19.

Both teams are a half-game behind Clarke Central (5-1). Clarke Central has the edge over Heritage with its 2-1 head-to-head win. But Clarke Central lost to Cedar Shoals 3-2, giving the Jaguars the advantage in a standings tie.

The Gladiators still have to play Salem (2-4) and Loganville (1-3), while Heritage and Cedar Shoals each have three games left, with Gainesville (3-1) the common remaining opponent.

The Patriots also have Loganville left while Cedar Shoals has Flowery Branch (2-2). For Salem to make it to the playoffs, it will have to beat Clarke Central and Flowery Branch and need Gainesville to lose its final three games.

The Eastside boys in Region 8-AAAA find themselves in the same situation as Salem, having to win out while someone else has to lose. The Eagles will have to beat Monroe Area and Stephens County while Monroe Area and Stephens County would have to lose for the No. 3 seed.

For the girls in Region 2-AAAAAA, Alcovy (4-1) will host its first round if it can get past last-place Rockdale, which is 0-5 and out of contention.

If Newton (1-4) can beat Morrow (2-3), the Lady Rams can make it to the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, holding the tiebreaker over the Lady Mustangs.

At 5-0 in Region 8-AAAAA, the Heritage girls control their championship destiny with three games left to play. However, two of their three games are against teams that are nipping at their heels. Gainesville (4-1) could move to the top of the region standings with a win. Also left on Heritage's schedule are Loganville (4-0) and Cedar Shoals (0-5).

At 1-5, Salem (Region 8-AAAAA) and Eastside (Region 8-AAAA) are both out of the playoff contention. The only way either can affect the playoff picture is by playing the role of spoiler.