Class AAAAA and AAAA boys first-round games will kick things off on Tuesday, with the AAAAA and AAAA girls getting started on Wednesday.
The Allatoona boys will play their first-round AAA game on Thursday, with the Lady Buccanneers beginning AAA girls action on Friday.
The Walton boys and Harrison girls are both aiming for consecutive state championships in Class AAAAA, while the Walker boys will defend their Class A crown.
Walton (10-5-1) will begin the defense of their AAAAA boys title on Tuesday as the Raiders, the Region 5AAAAA champion, will play Northview — the fourth seed from 6AAAAA — at Raider Valley at 6 p.m.
“Our team is playing really well right now and the team is focused and ready for the playoffs,” Walton coach Bruce Wade said. “We have turned our season around after some losses to top teams. The Lassiter game proved that we can play with anyone as they are a very good team.”
The Raiders, ranked sixth in AAAAA in the eurosportScoreboard.com state poll, have the additional pressure of being the defending AAAAA champions.
But Wade — completing his first year at the helm after replacing long-time coach Bucky Boozer — doesn’t think it will be a factor.
“There is no pressure on us, because it is a different team from last year and people are looking at other teams like Centennial and Lassiter, so we are just going to play our game and have fun in the playoffs.”
Lassiter (15-2-1) enters the state playoffs ranked second and are one of the top contenders to unseat Walton.
However, the Trojans — with region losses to Walton and Wheeler — ended up with the third seed in 5AAAAA and will have to go on the road for their first-round game on Tuesday against Milton — the second seed from 6AAAAA — at 7:30 p.m.
Lassiter coach Billy Pritz is confident that the Trojans have overcome their earlier struggles on defense and are ready to make a strong bid for the state title.
“We have struggled all season with keeping clean sheets (recording shutouts),” Pritz said. “With two clean sheets (shutouts) against playoff teams in the last week of the regular season, we are on the right path to make another deep run in the state playoffs.”
Seventh-ranked Wheeler (12-3-2), the second seed from 5AAAAA, is another team that may make a deep run in the AAAAA playoffs.
The Wildcats begin their quest at Corky Kell Stadium against West Forsyth on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
North Cobb (9-6-1) and Harrison (10-6) will host their AAAAA first-round games, with the 4AAAAA champion Warriors playing Islands at Emory Sewell Stadium at 6 p.m. and the Hoyas taking on Windsor Forest at Cobliegh Stadium at 6:30 p.m.
Campbell (11-6-1) travels to Camden County for a first-round game at 4 p.m., while Kennesaw Mountain (8-9-1) plays at Benedictine at 6 p.m.
In the Class AAAA boys playoffs, seventh-ranked Kell (15-3) — the 5AAAA champions — will host Chamblee in its first-round game at Cobb Energy/Corky Kell Stadium on Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Pope (12-5-1) is the only other Cobb team in the AAAA boys playoffs, with the Greyhounds playing at Marist in their first-round game on Tuesday at 5:55 p.m.
Allatoona (10-4-1) will begin action in the Class AAA boys playoffs on Thursday as the Buccaneers, the third seed from 7AAA, play at Chestatee at 7:30 p.m.
In Class A, sixth-ranked Mount Paran Christian (13-5) — the third seed from Area 3A — faces a tough challenge in its first-round game as the Eagles go on the road to play top-ranked Paideia next Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Defending Class A boys champion Walker (9-8) will go on the road for a play-in game on Thursday against eighth-ranked Wesleyan at 7:30 p.m.
On the girls side, Harrison (10-4-1) begins the road to a possible second straight AAAAA girls crown as the 4AAAAA champion Lady Hoyas — the fourth-ranked team in the state — host Bradwell Institute on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Second-ranked Walton (10-5) — the second-seed from 5AAAAA — will also aim for a state title as the Lady Raiders host Northview in first-round action at Raider Valley on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Sixth-ranked and 5AAAAA champion Lassiter (11-5-1) hosts Alpharetta Wednesday at Frank Fillman Stadium at 7 p.m.
Hillgrove host Islands at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, while North Cobb plays at Savannah Arts at 5 p.m. and Kennesaw Mountain travels down to Camden County for a 6 p.m. contest.
Among the AAAA girls, fourth-ranked Pope (17-1) — the 5AAAA champions — plays host to Dunwoody in a first-round contest at Pope Multi-Sport Complex Wednesday at 5:55 p.m.
Kell (13-4-1) is the only other local team in the girls AAAA playoffs as the Lady Longhorns host Lakeside-DeKalb Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Allatoona (15-2-1) will try to repeat or surpass last year’s run to the Class AAA state semifinals as the third-ranked Lady Buccaneers — the 7AAA champions — host Walnut Grove in the AAA first round on Friday.
Allatoona coach Bill Perry said his Lady Buccaneers are ready to go after overcoming injury and illness issues that they had been dealing with.
“We’ve been hit this year with the injury and sickness bug over the past 3-4 weeks and I’m very happy everyone is finally healthy and ready to go,” Perry said. “Having everyone at full strength is critical to making a deep state playoff run.”
In first-round action in the Class A girls playoffs next Tuesday, ninth-ranked Whitefield Academy (14-2) — the Area 2A second-seed, will host the winner of Thursday’s Aquinas-Treutlen play-in game, while Walker (5-7-1) plays at Fellowship Christian.