Throughout the 2003 high school football season, I told anyone who would listen that Region 3-AAAA had some of the toughest teams in the state.
I'm not sure why, but it seems like other areas in the state get more respect than the CSRA does in football, but I think the local teams are better than advertised.
Though two of the four Region 3-AAAA teams lost in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs, and defending state champion Thomson was knocked out in round two, Region 3-AAAA is pretty solid.
Greenbrier finished fourth in the region and earned a first-round playoff game against Shaw, a squad that had surrendered just 28 points in 10 regular season games.
The Pack posted 21 points in their loss to the Raiders, and when Greenbrier took an early lead in Columbus, it was the first time Shaw had trailed all season.
Butler, the three seed from Region 3-AAAA, faced Troup, a team that averaged nearly 30 points per game. The Bulldogs didn't win that first-round playoff game, but they did slow Troup down in the 9-7 defeat.
Thomson, meanwhile, entered the postseason as the Region 3-AAAA champions. Thomson fell in the second round to Thomas County Central, a team that was seeking revenge for its loss in last year's state finals at the Brickyard.
The Bulldogs led the Yellow Jackets in the third quarter, but couldn't hold on. Now Thomas County Central is headed to a semifinal matchup with Marist at the Georgia Dome, and I think the victor will go on to claim the state title.
Finally, there's Statesboro, the No. 2 seed from Region 3-AAAA.
The Blue Devils have beaten three good teams in the Class AAAA state playoffs, most notably Ware County, the Region 1-AAAA champions.
Statesboro will represent Region 3-AAAA in semifinal action Saturday at the Georgia Dome, where the Blue Devils will take on an extremely talented Tucker squad.
If Statesboro wins this week, and then capture the Class AAAA title with another triumph next week, that would give Region 3-AAAA three state crowns in a row.
Maybe then Region 3-AAAA would get the respect that it deserves.
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