Douglas County's failure to make the playoffs by losing Friday's do-or-die Region 3-AAAAAA contest with the Tri-Cities Bulldogs was largely a sign of the Tigers' inconsistent play over the course of Jason Respert's first season as coach.
The Tigers went 2-8 overall and 1-4 in region play. But in two of their region three losses coming into Friday's season finale, they were within one score of tying or winning the game. Even region champion Langston Hughes didn't shut out Douglas County's potentially dangerous offense.
Just two weeks ago, Douglas County got in a big hole against East Coweta, but battled back in a 38-33 loss. But a week later, with the No. 4 seed on the line, there were no such signs of life against the Bulldogs in East Point.
The Tigers' defense gave up scores on five of the Bulldogs' first six possessions, with halftime being the only thing that could stop the Tri-Cities offense.
Douglas County's offense, meanwhile, couldn't get anything going. The Tigers rushing attack, which averaged 137.7 yards in 10 games this season, could muster just 54 yards on the ground Friday.
With the running game getting nowhere, Douglas County had to pass the ball, and while Ellis Richardson completed 11-of-23 passes for 165 yards, he also threw three interceptions that added insult to injury.
"We coaches knew Tri-Cities was a dangerous team," Respert said after the game. "They're very talented and very physical. They came out and you've got to give them credit. They ran the football when they wanted to, they threw it when they wanted to. They won the line of scrimmage tonight and when you win the line of scrimmage, you're going to be successful."
Chapel Hill gets Atomsmashers in Round 1
Chapel Hill locked up second place in Region 4-AAA with last week's win over Central-Carroll. So Friday's game at Jackson-Atlanta was mostly about maintaining momentum by extending a four-game winning streak heading into their first playoff game since 2009.
The fifth-place Jaguars had won three of their last four region games and didn't seem fazed by the Panthers' recent success, pulling off a 22-14 upset by keeping Chapel Hill tailback Tre Mitchell in check.
While losing Friday certainly hurts, Chapel Hill (6-4, 5-2 Region 4-AAA) will enjoy the rewards of being a No. 2 seed when they host the Johnson-Savannah Atomsmashers next Friday at Panther Stadium in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs.
The Atomsmashers (4-6, 4-3 Region 1-AAA) beat Tattnall County Friday in a game that decided the third and fourth place finishers in Region 1-AAA.
Johnson started the season 1-6 before winning its last three games to earn the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAA and a trip to Douglasville.
"Chapel Hill has a good football team, but I think I've got a pretty good team, too, and I'm very excited to play next week," Atomsmashers coach Jamie Baldwin told the Savannah Morning News.
Alexander ends year with 2 wins
The Cougars didn't let an 0-8 start dampen their morale, fighting to the end to win their final two ballgames in grand fashion.
After trouncing Columbus 43-7 two weeks ago, Alexander (2-8, 2-5 Region 5-AAAA), won a 49-46 shootout with Fayette County Friday night.
The Cougar offense racked up 478 yards behind the play of senior quarterback Evan Wood (193 yards rushing, 110 yards passing and five touchdowns) and Mikell Lands (139 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving and one TD).
"Our offense played lights out. The defense gave up two big plays, but the key of the game was our special teams" said Alexander coach Matt Combs, who added that his special teams returned two kickoff returns for scores.