Soccer: Playoff spots, region titles on the line this w…

OAKWOOD — As the soccer season winds down to its last two weeks officially, more than half of the Northeast Georgia area programs will wrap up their regular season and region schedules this week.

The mad scramble for playoff spots will be on the line for a dozen teams with some supremely important matches on tap. The regular season doesn’t officially end until April 9 and the first round of the Georgia High School Association playoffs don’t get under way until April 13.

Once again, the Johnson boys will be front and center as the Class 5A No. 1 Knights will play host to No. 2 Clarke Central on Friday at The Dungeon in a battle of unbeatens and the Region 8-5A title on the line.

However, Johnson will take on Class 5A No. 3 Woodward Academy before that on Monday in Hapeville in another playoff showcase matchup.

The Johnson boys aren’t the only team with huge showdowns this week.

The Class 6A No. 1-ranked Buford girls will put their unbeaten record on the line against Class A Private No. 1 Pinecrest Academy in Cumming.

Region 8-A Public on the girls side is shaping for an exciting finish. The Towns County girls, ranked third in Class A Public, have a chance to make a statement this week and to take over first place in Region 8-A. The Lady Indians first travel to No. 2 Commerce on Tuesday and then play host to No. 1 Social Circle on Friday. If they win out, they will finish as the No. 1 seed.

Meanwhile, the Commerce girls, who already split their two games with Social Circle, can win the region with a win over the Lady Indians and a Towns County win over Social Circle.

Also on the girls side, in Region 8-4A, East Hall and Flowery Branch will meet at Falcons Field on Thursday with the final playoff spot on the line.

In the Region 7-3A girls standings, which features three top 5 teams, No. 4 Cherokee Bluff beat No. 3 Lumpkin County last week and can win the region outright on Tuesday with a win over No. 5 White County in Cleveland. However, a Lady Warriors victory would send things to a three-way tiebreaker For the top three spots heading into the playoffs.

The drama is not as heavy on the boys side. After Johnson in 8-5A, Class 3A No. 4 West Hall already has clinched the No. 1 seed in Region 7-3A. But Cherokee Bluff, Lumpkin County, and Dawson County all are fighting for two of the final three playoff spots in 7-3A. 

Region 8-4A could face a three-way tie atop the standings if No. 4 Flowery Branch can beat East Hall on Thursday at home. A Falcons win would put them in a tie with No. 5 Jefferson and No. 9 North Oconee. However, a Vikings win could knock the Falcons all the way to fourth and give North Oconee the No. 1 seed.

Class 2A No. 6 Union County can wrap up the title on Monday against Rabun County. 

(Check below for the week’s schedules around the Northeast Georgia area.)

(All matches begin at 5:30 p.m. with girls unless otherwise noted)

Dawson County at North Hall*
Elbert County at Banks County*
Johnson at Woodward Academy, 5 p.m.
Rabun-Gap at Lakeview Academy, 5 p.m.
Union County at Rabun County, 5 p.m.*

(All matches begin at 5:30 p.m. with girls unless otherwise noted)

Cedar Shoals at Chestatee, 5:45 p.m.*
Cherokee Bluff at White County*
Dawson County at Lakeview Academy, 5 p.m.
Gainesville at West Hall
Habersham Central at Shiloh*
Jackson County at Loganville*
Lanier at Buford*
Oconee County at Jefferson
Towns County at Commerce, 5 p.m.*

(All matches begin at 5:30 p.m. with girls unless otherwise noted)

Elbert County at Rabun County, 5 p.m.*

(All matches begin at 5:30 p.m. with girls unless otherwise noted)

Banks County at Elbert County*
Buford at Pinecrest Academy (girls only),  5 p.m.
Denmark at North Forsyth, 5 p.m.*
East Hall at at Flowery Branch* 
Lakeview Academy at Gainesville, 5 p.m.
Lincoln County at Commerce*
Monroe Area at West Hall
Union County at Riverside Military (boys only), 7 p.m.*
Walnut Grove at Jackson County*

(All matches begin at 5:30 p.m. with girls unless otherwise noted)

Clarke Central at Johnson*
Dawson County at Cherokee Bluff*
North Hall at White County (boys only), 6 p.m.*
Social Circle at Towns County, 5 p.m.*
Winder-Barrow at Habersham Central*

(* — denotes region contest)