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Area teams 'itching' to take part in preseason scrimmages

POSTED: August 12, 2014 9:17 p.m.

Flowery Branch coach  Chris Griffin didn’t have time Tuesday evening to think ahead to how the Falcons might be looking come playoff time in November.

His focus is first and foremost on how his first-year starting quarterback will read pass coverage from Mountain View on Friday.

The scrimmage will be the first time that sophomore signal caller Jason Johnson and eight other new offensive starters will line up against an unfamiliar squad “under the bright lights,” according to Griffin.

Although Mountain View is entering just its fifth year of football, it’ll be Flowery Branch’s best opportunity yet to praise good habits and work on weak spots.

“We want to be able to play well to show our kids on film, ‘this is what you’ve done, this is great effort, this is poor effort,’ so that when all is said and done, we’ll be able to correct things,” Griffin said.

Twenty area schools will be taking part in preseason scrimmages over the next two weeks, with the majority of the games taking place Friday. In a pair of local bouts, Jefferson takes on West Hall Thursday night while Chestatee hosts East Hall on Aug. 21.

White County coach Bill Ballard said before practice Tuesday that he was looking forward to  seeing his defense taking on Gainesville’s spread attack at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Warriors held opponents to an average of 16 points per game in 2013.

“They’re going to be faster than anybody we go against all year,” Ballard said of Gainesville. “But that will also give us a good indication of the things that we need to work on and get better at.”

Even champions need a little tune-up before the wins and losses start to matter.

Buford, fresh off its second straight state championship in Class AAA, will take on Class AAAAAA opponent South Gwinnett Friday night. The Wolves are set to begin their first season in Class AAAA, but have the talent and depth to contend for their 10th state championship in the past 14 years.

Buford head coach Jess Simpson intends on making his decision at quarterback between senior Luke Humphrey and sophomore Mic Roof after the scrimmage.

“They’ve been battling since spring,” Simpson said. “It’s good to play schools with a larger population and more numbers. You want to be up against the teams with great traditions of football. This is a good test for us.”

Griffin said he’s “as nervous as I’ve ever been” about Friday’s scrimmage, but that he was looking forward to giving his starter Johnson, as well as a fresh receiving corps, some decent playing time. As of this offseason, the best look the offense could get was up against the Falcons’ starting defense, which returns five starters to the fold.

“You can only replicate what he’ll see so much,” Griffin said. “We could practice for eight hours a day and try to get it close to a game, but it’s pretty tough. This gives us a couple weeks to correct things and iron out mistakes. We’re itching to get into it.”



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