March won't be going out like a lamb this Friday at the Brierpatch.
The intensity level will be off the charts when Lakeside visits Greenbrier for a pair of soccer matches that is expected to decide the Region 3-AAAA championships.
The Lady Wolfpack and Lady Panthers kickoff at 5:30 p.m., and the Greenbrier and Lakeside boys lock horns at 7:30.
"If anyone wants to see good soccer, that's the night to see some good soccer," Lakeside girls coach Donny Rogers said. "It's going to be very competitive."
With no other region team able to match their skills on the pitch, Lakeside and Greenbrier will battle for the Region 3-AAAA titles. Local bragging rights also are on the line.
"It's one of the biggest games of the year," Panthers coach Dave Morgan said. "This game normally determines the region champion, and just the fact that it's Greenbrier and Lakeside makes it that much more special."
Morgan din't want to glorify the matchups too much, but Wolfpack coach Chip Warren put things in perspective.
"I know Dave has that date circled on the calendar, just like we do," Warren said. "We'd rather beat Lakeside than anyone else, and vice-versa."
The Greenbrier boys topped Lakeside 4-3 last year to snap the Panthers four-year reign as region champs. The Lady Pack, meanwhile, beat Lakeside 2-0 in 2004 to claim their first region title since 1998.
The Lakeside girls enter this Friday's contest with a veteran team, while Greenbrier is loaded with a mix of young talent and experienced players.
"With the amount of players he (Lady Pack coach Alex Heider) has, Greenbrier should win," Rogers said. "We don't have as many year-round players, but we're going to play hard."
Playing hard might be an understatement.
"It's definitely going to be physical," Heider said. "Coach Rogers and myself stress that you have to be physical. If you don't accept the challenge, you're going to get beat up. This game could be one of those 'who's still standing' things."
The Greenbrier boys have been wobbly at times this season. Warren had just two varsity players back from last year's title team, and the Pack fell to 4-5 with a loss last week to Evans.
The Panthers have run to a 10-1-1 record and are anxious to give the Pack some payback for last season.
Still, the Pack has speed, and the incentive of pulling off an upset should give them an additional boost of energy.
"We know that Greenbrier will be really fired up," Morgan said. "This game would make their season if they beat us. We don't want to be their turning point."
If soccer's not your bag, there are some intriguing prep baseball games on the slate this week.
Evans travels to Greenbrier today for a 6 p.m. showdown. The Pack bested Evans 8-1 earlier this season, and Greenbrier improved its record to 8-1 with a 10-1 home win last Saturday over Marist, the two-time defending Class AAAA champions.
The Knights also are coming off a solid weekend. Evans picked up road wins Saturday over Jones County (5-3) and Tift County (3-2). After a shaky start in 2004, the Knights improved to 8-3 with the victories Saturday in south Georgia.
Today in Harlem, the Bulldogs take on Cross Creek at 5 p.m. The Dogs are at home 5 p.m. Thursday against Burke County.
The Lakeside Panthers will be busy on the diamond, with a game today at Thomson, a home game Friday with Elbert County, and a Saturday doubleheader at Campbell High School, in Smyrna, where Lakeside faces Cherokee, of Canton, and Campbell.
Saturday in Columbia County, Greenbrier celebrates its Diamond Day. Play begins with the Pack vs. Westside at 10 a.m. Westside and South Effingham, of Guyton, hit the diamond at 1 p.m., and the festivities conclude with the 4 p.m. contest pitting Greenbrier and South Effingham.
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