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Georgiana Panthers step up in the clutch

With their backs against the wall, the Georgiana Panthers stepped up big Friday night and secured a berth in the Class 2A State Playoffs with a come-from-behind win.

The McKenzie Tigers were not as fortunate and missed the playoffs by one game with Friday's loss, while Fort Dale and Greenville both defeated rival opponents.

Here are this week's picks:

No. 3 Fort Dale vs. Macon-East

The Eagles closed out a phenomenal regular season Thursday night with a 32-0 win over Lowndes Academy, something Fort Dale desperately needed heading into the playoffs this week.

Mika Jones had a stellar night against the Rebels and Blake Mullins had his usual two touchdowns.

Jones and Mullins are as tough as they come and if quarterback Ty Newton can continue to open the running game up with a few passes, the Eagles should roll right on to the second round…

Fort Dale 28, Macon-East 14.

McKenzie vs. Red Level

It's Tigers vs. Tigers Friday night as McKenzie will play its final game of the season at home against Red Level.

Only 12 miles separate the two schools but Red Level is a Class 2A school and is poised for a playoff run.

McKenzie head coach Miles Brown would love to have this win to build on next season, and with only one senior graduating from Brown's squad, the future looks bright in South Butler County…

McKenzie 32, Red Level 31.

Georgiana @ Hillcrest-Evergreen

The Panthers started off slow Friday night but regrouped to score 38 unanswered points en route to an excellent 38-12 win over Excel, thus securing a playoff berth in the playoffs.

Georgiana travels to Hillcrest-Evergreen this weekend to take on the Class 4A Jaguars, and this one is personal for Panther head coach Donald Ray Mixon.

Mixon played quarterback for the Jaguars during his high school days and nothing could be bigger for the Panthers than a win and momentum heading into the playoffs…

Georgiana 25, Hillcrest 21.

No. 8 Greenville @ Wetumpka

Greenville head coach Bryant Vincent said he was going to bring it back and he has.

The Tigers sit at 8-1, have home-field advantage in the playoffs and are poised to turn last season's 1-9 record into 9-1 this season, but the Class 6A Wetumpka Indians stand in the way Friday night.

The Tigers crossed a huge hurdle by downing Charles Henderson Friday night but this week's opponent is tried and tested, fresh off a win over Stanhope Elmore.

A win Friday night would be a huge stepping-stone heading into the playoffs. A loss could be devastating…

Wetumpka 27, Greenville 20.

Last week: 8-1

Overall: 51-25

Austin Phillips is The Greenville Advocate sports editor.

You can contact him by e-mailing austin.phillips@greenvilleadvocate.com or by calling 382-3111 ext. 122.