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This week: The push for the playoffs heats up
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Only four softball teams from Region 7-AAA will make the state sectionals, which is too bad, because eight are capable of making the tournament.

That’s what makes this week’s region tournament so important.

"All eight teams that reach the double elimination part of the tournament can win it," said White County coach John Brown, whose Lady Warriors enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed.

"Creekview, without a doubt is the best team," he added. "But after that, it is gonna be a toss up."

The sixth-ranked Lady Grizzlies (20-7) finished the regular season undefeated in region play and enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed and clear-cut favorite. Three teams that finished 10-2 in the region make up the next three seeds, with West Forsyth (13-8) as the No. 2 seed, West Hall (18-10) as the third seed, and White County the fourth seed.

The tournament, which will be played at Lanier Point Park in Gainesville, begins at 4:30 p.m. today with Gilmer playing Pickens and the No. 7 seed North Hall playing Lambert.

The double-elimination tournament begins with four games at 6 tonight.

Despite being the seventh seed, Brown thinks North Hall can make a run at one of the four playoff spots.

"North Hall has played well all year," Brown said. "Right now, the most important thing is playing together. Everyone has to come together at the right time."

With a postseason berth on the line, there’s no better time to come together than now.

Volleyball teams try to make state

The softball season isn’t the only fall sport coming to a close, as high school volleyball teams will compete in area tournaments later this week.

The Area 7-AAA tournament begins Wednesday, and with three teams ranked in the top 10, an area championship will be hard to come by.

No. 10 North Hall (23-11-2), No. 6 Creekview (22-8-10 and No. 5 West Forsyth (31-8-1) are the favorites heading into the tournament, but defending champion Flowery Branch (16-16) as well as West Hall (15-17) could also make a run at the title.

The top-four finishers at the tournament will reach the state tournament which begins Oct. 17.

Big games in Region 7-AAA

While the softball and volleyball seasons come to a close, the football season is heating up with critical contests in Region 7-AAA.

With Gainesville and Flowery Branch all but guaranteed the two spots in Region 7B-AAA and North Hall in the driver’s seat in the North subregion; Creekview, White County, Chestatee and Gilmer are all vying for the final playoff spot.

Those four teams play each other this week, with the Grizzlies visiting the Warriors and the War Eagles visiting the Bobcats.

As those competitions are going on, North Hall will get another test Friday when it plays host to the Falcons, who won last year’s matchup 35-7.

The top-ranked Red Elephants visit East Hall with the hope of improving to 7-0.

College rivalries on tap

As if last week’s game against LSU wasn’t tough enough, the Georgia Bulldogs travel to Knoxville, Tenn., this week to take on Tennessee. The Bulldogs have lost three of the last four meetings against the Volunteers but have a 6-4 record against Tennessee since 1999.

While the Bulldogs battle Tennessee, the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech face another tough ACC test in Florida State.

After a five-year series hiatus, the Yellow Jackets defeated the Seminoles 31-28 last year for their first win over Florida State since 1975.

Falcons return to the field

After a bye week, the Atlanta Falcons will try to get back to their winning ways when they travel to the West Coast to play the San Francisco 49ers.

If 49ers running back Frank Gore were able to play, this game could have been a matchup of two of the premier backs in the game with Gore and Michael Turner.

Turner and the rest of the Falcons running game has struggled this year and the 49ers defense is tough against the run, surrendering less than 70 yards per game on the ground.

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