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Derrck Mahone/Douglas County Sentinel Junior linebacker Cameron McClain will help lead the Chapel Hill defense in tonight's region game against Cedar Grove as the Panthers try to lock down the No. 3 seed for the playoffs.

Today’s game at Cedartown gives the Chapel Hill Panthers an opportunity to accomplish two things.

First, a win would give the Panthers only their their seven-win season in school history and it would also give them a chance to lock up the No. 3 seed for next week’s playoffs.

The Panthers enter the game at 6-3 overall and 3-2 in Region 5-AAAA, which is good enough for the fourth spot in the standings.

For Chapel Hill to take the third seed, the Panthers would need to defeat Cedartown at Doc Ayres Field at Cedartown Memorial Stadium.

If Cedartown wins, it would be the No. 2 seed and get a first-round playoff game if top-ranked Cartersville defeats Troup.

“We have to take it like a playoff game,” Panthers senior cornerback Malik LeBlanc said. “From a seeding standpoint it is a big deal. We want to get the best seeding possible so we can go far in the playoffs.”

Only two other teams in school history - 2008 and 2009 - have the Panthers won at least seven games in the regular season. The 2008 squad went 8-2 before finishing 9-3 after the playoffs. The 2009 squad went 7-3 on the season.

“It is very important to be 7-3 because it places us high in the history of the school,” Panthers senior Tyre Shelton said. “I think we have a good shot if we go out and execute. Our main goal is to play good football for four quarters and come out with the win.”

Revenge will be on Cedartown’s mind for this season-finale contest. Last year, Chapel Hill won to clinch the final playoff spot over the Bulldogs.

That contest also featured a record-setting rushing performance from Shelton, who had 415 yards and five touchdowns.

But Chapel Hill will need a better performance than last week’s come-from-behind win over winless LaGrange.

The Panthers jumped to a 17-0 lead only to let LaGrange back in the game. Chapel Hill pulled out the win in the last 1:50 with a touchdown run by quarterback K.J. Burton.

“It is very clear for us what we have to do to get the No. 3 seed,” Chapel Hill coach Justin DeShon said. “We got to have a good team effort. We know it is not going to be easy because they have a good football team. We definitely would like to be 7-3 going into the playoffs because that is a huge deal.”

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