Dunwoody Wildcats (7-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Michael Nash
Record: 1-6, 1-4 region
Last week: Lost to Discovery 21-0
Duluth Wildcats (7-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Cam Jones
Record: 5-4, 2-3 region
Last week: Lost to Archer 43-8
Duluth's four-game winning streak was halted by back-to-back losses to region co-leaders Norcross and Archer, but there is plenty to play for Friday in the regular-season finale. A victory gives the Wildcats their first winning season since 1995 and very likely could bring their first playoff berth since 1994.
Their postseason hopes hinge on the result of another region game Friday. If Meadowcreek beats Discovery, or Discovery beats Meadowcreek by fewer than seven points — coupled with a Duluth win over Dunwoody — then the Wildcats will be in the postseason.
"At the end of the day, we focus on what we can control and we're playing a Dunwoody team that's got a good quarterback," Jones said. "We know we're going to get Dunwoody's best punch. We're preparing for that and focusing on what we can control."
Duluth enters slightly banged up from the rigors of nine straight games without a bye, a result of opponents' rescheduling from COVID-19 issues early in the season. However, the chance to break streaks of futility regarding a winning season and a playoff berth is good motivation.
"It's been something that's been on our radar all year really," Jones said of breaking those streaks. "I remember Coach (Kyle) Hockman at McEachern saying, 'If you don't talk about it, it doesn't happen.' All year our goal was to have a winning season and get to the playoffs."
A key to Duluth's success is a high-powered offense triggered by quarterback Lonnie Ratliff IV, one of the state's top passers. Running back Nyle Ervin and wide receivers Jaiden Jones and Rishon Spencer also are big-time playmakers."
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Duluth won 32-6 in 1973
Location: Duluth High School