John Heart

John Heart runs through a face mask violation for Loganville Christian Academy.

After coasting to the brink of a first-ever Georgia Independent School Association region championship, Loganville Christian Academy faces a major hurdle in its historic quest.

Trinity Christian (5-2, 3-0 Region 1-AAA), the only other unbeaten team in the league, awaits the arrival of the Lions in Sharpsburg Friday night.

“We’re excited about our opportunity,” said LCA head coach André King. “You never know from year to year what’s going to happen, so this is our one chance to do this.”

Both teams have been impressive in league play. Trinity has averaged 49 points in its three region victories, led by the running of Joseph Cotton, who scored twice against the Lions last fall.

Tanner Johnson got his first start at quarterback for Trinity last week and tossed a pair of touchdown passes.

LCA (7-0, 3-0 Region 1-AAA), which is averaging 40 points a game, will counter with the senior trio of quarterback Donovan Taitt, running back John Heart, and receiver Mike Meme. Heart went over the 1,000-yard mark in rushing last week while Taitt has nearly 800 passing yards. Meme has been his primary target with 13 catches for 195 yards and three touchdowns.

“Those are some of the guys we’ve sort of hitched our wagon to,” King said. “They’re seniors and have been here before and have provided great leadership. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

As impressive as the Lions have been moving the ball, they’ve been equally strong on defense. Through seven games, LCA has allowed just 30 points.

North Hall (3-4, 2-2) at Monroe Area (2-5, 1-3). Despite its record and current three-game losing skid, Monroe is still in the running for a spot in the playoffs. But everything hinges on Friday night’s showdown with North Hall.

The Trojans are a game ahead of Monroe for the league’s fourth and final postseason bid. A Hurricanes victory would give both teams 2-3 region records, but Monroe would own the tiebreaker.

The return of several key starters, including quarterback Hunter Byron and running back C.J. Winding, would be a huge boost. Both missed the past two games with injuries.

As a result, the Hurricanes have managed just 12 points the past three weeks.

Walnut Grove (3-4, 1-2 Region 4A-AAAA) at Eagles Landing (4-3, 1-2). The math is simple for Walnut Grove. Two wins plus no losses equals a potential shot at an 11th game.

But the Warriors will still need a little help from other teams in the subregion to finish among the top three. Region 4-AAAA uses the final regular season game as a region playoff with the top three teams in each subregion battling for the four postseason spots.

Walnut Groves final two opponents sit in front of them in the region standings. Eagles Landing is tied with the Warriors with two league losses and Eastside is tied with Henry County for second with one loss each.

A Walnut Grove sweep combined with a pair of Henry County losses could move the Warriors as high as runnerup in the subregion.

Oglethorpe County (1-7, 1-3) at Social Circle (2-5, 0-3). Reeling from five straight losses, Social Circle has a chance to get back on the winning track against a one-win opponent.

Until last week’s first victory of the season, Oglethorpe County had won just two games dating back to the 2013 season, both against the Redskins. Last year’s loss, a heartbreaking overtime defeat, was the most painful for Social Circle.

Last week’s loss to Washington-Wilkes extended the Redskins streak of region losses to 33 games. But they still have a chance to make the playoffs if they can win their next three.

Hebron Christian Academy (5-2, 3-2 Region 8-A) at George Walton Academy (3-4, 3-2 Region 8-A). The Bulldogs last-second loss to Athens Christian last week was not only heartbreaking, it might have been devastating for their postseason hopes.

After dropping its first three games, GWA had climbed back into contention with three straight wins. The top 16 teams in the Class A private school power rankings make the playoffs, and the Bulldogs were 19th before the loss.

Fortunately, two of their final three games are against teams ranked ahead of them in the privates school ratings and Commerce is among the top 10 in the public school ratings.

So a three-game sweep could put George Walton back in the running.

Hebron, which is on the playoff bubble at No. 16, is on track for its best season since 2010, when they went 9-1 while playing a non-region schedule.

The Lions feature a two-headed attack at quarterback with sophomore Tory Allen and senior Chris McGee.

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