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Week 9 Football Previews

POSTED: October 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Gilmer at
Gainesville

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Bobby Gruhn Field

Radio: 1240-AM

Coaches: Gilmer, Wesley Tankersley; Gainesville, Bruce Miller

Records: Gilmer (0-7, 0-4 Region 7A-AAA); Gainesville (7-0, 3-0 Region 7B-AAA)

Key players: Gilmer, RB/LB Jacob Teague (5-11, 175 So.), RB Evan Pankey (6-0, 185 Sr.), OL/DL Wesley Nestor (6-1, 220 Jr.). Gainesville, QB Blake Sims (6-1, 175 Jr.), WR T.J. Jones (6-1, 175 Jr.), LB Phillip Gaines (5-11, 205 Sr.).

Outlook: Pop quiz. When was the last time that the Gilmer Bobcats beat Gainesville? Give up? The answer is never. Twelve times these two teams have faced off, and the Red Elephants have been the victors each time. And they’re not just winning, they’re winning convincingly. In their 12 wins against the Bobcats, the Red Elephants have won by an average margin of 22.6 points, including the past six years when Gainesville has won by 38, 16, 20, 33, 42 and 56 points. It’s safe to say that Gainesville owns this series.

Things won’t be any easier for the Bobcats tonight, as Gainesville is coming off its bye week and ready to continue its undefeated season. There’s no doubt the Red Elephants will win tonight, but what fans need to watch is how long the star players stay on the field. Miller says that all his players will play tonight, and that his team is not overlooking any opponent, even Gilmer. If the game gets out of hand early, Sims, and the rest of the high-powered Gainesville offense could be sitting comfortably on the bench by halftime, with the reserve Red Elephants getting some much needed playing experience.

Even though they are coming off a bye week, extra rest for your best players is not a bad idea, and could ultimately help the Red Elephants for the duration of the regular season and beyond.

Prediction: GAINESVILLE. The question isn’t whether Gainesville will win, it’s by how much it will win.

White County at
Lumpkin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: J.P. King Memorial Stadium, Dahlonega

Radio: 105.1 FM

Coaches: White County, Gregg Segraves; Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones

Records: White County (3-4, 1-2 Region 7A-AAA); Lumpkin County (4-3, 2-1)

Key players: White County, RB/LB Blake Limbaugh (5-10, 180 Sr.), RB Ashely Lowery (6-1, 175 So.), OL/DL C.J. McDonald (6-2, 255 Sr.). Lumpkin County, RB/LB Jake McClure (5-10, 190 Jr.), RB Haden Rider (5-8, 175 Jr.), OL/DL Alex Dege (5-10, 225 Sr.).

Outlook: Fresh off a thrilling, 23-22 come-from-behind win over West Hall, that culminated with back-up quarterback Chris Guthrie completing the game-winning touchdown pass to his brother Taylor Guthrie with 7.5 seconds left in the game, Lumpkin County’s confidence should be pretty high.

That, and the fact that the Indians are in the thick of the playoff hunt, is the good news. The bad news is that a tough three-week stretch to close the season begins tonight.

White County is widely regarded as one of 7-AAA’s strongest and most physical football teams, and the Warriors are also coming off a big win, 41-21, over rival Chestatee.

The Warriors are just a game behind the Indians in the subregion standings, but as part of a five-team glut vying for two playoff spots, they’re content to focus on the game at hand and let the playoff berths fall where they may.

Lowery and Limbaugh both topped 100 yards rushing last week for the Warriors, while the Indians held West Hall to just 21 rushing yards on 15 carries.

Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. The Warriors hit a low two weeks ago, falling 33-0 to Creekview after a gut-wrenching three-point loss to North Hall. But after bouncing back strong last week, White County looks determined to finish the season with four straight wins.

Johnson
at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: East Hall Stadium

Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; East Hall, Bryan Gray

Records: Johnson (1-7, 0-3 7B-AAA); East Hall (1-6, 0-3)

Key players: Johnson, QB Anthony Prophet (5-10, 180 Jr.), RB Mantevius Rucker (6-1, 200 Jr.), LB Gilberto Espinoza (5-11, 200 Jr.). East Hall, RB/LB Corey Richardson (5-8, 175 Jr.), WR/DB Kiante Young (6-1, 190 Sr.), OL/P Christian Romero (5-11, 235 Sr.).

Outlook: Each team comes in giving up more than 30 points per game, but only one team in the matchup has proven it can score in bunches too.

Johnson has, in four game this season, scored 21 or more points, including a 55-point effort against West Hall.

While East Hall has shown the will for such feats, attaining them has been a different story.

The young Vikings come in averaging 10 points per game to Johnson’s 22 and that will be the difference in the contest.

East Hall’s top-two offensive performers, wide receiver Kiante Young and running back Corey Richardson, have each only scored once over seven games.

On the other hand, Johnson’s top-two — quarterback Anthony Prophet and running back Mantevius Rucker—have accounted for 20 of the team’s touchdowns this season.

Logistics aside, East Hall will come out fired up just like it did against Gainesville and Flowery Branch and give the Knights a solid quarter, or half.

And even though Johnson doesn’t have quite the defensive prowess that the Red Elephants and Falcons have, it does share their ability to score quickly and East Hall hasn’t proven it knows how to come back once down.

Prediction: JOHNSON. The Knights defense has struggled to stop opposing offenses but that should stop tonight. With Johnson’s scoring ability and East Hall’s apparent lack thereof, the ride back to Oakwood should be a happy one.

Oglethorpe County
at Riverside

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Maginnis Field

Coaches: Oglethope County, Buddy Cain, Riverside Military, Chris Lancaster

Records: Oglethope County (1-6, 0-6 Region 8-AA); Riverside Military (4-3, 3-3)

Key players: Oglethorpe County, RB/DB D.J. Johnson (5-11, 170 Jr.), QB/DB Cody Erwin (6-2, 175 Jr.), TE/LB Anthony Spratlin (6-0, 180 Sr.). Riverside Military, RB Julian Suber (5-9, 170 Jr.), LB Diego Osegueda-Weiner (6-1, 215 Sr.), LB Aaron Gambrah (6-2, 190 Jr.).

Outlook: Here’s the deal for the Eagles: A win against the Patriots puts Riverside Military in position to get back in playoff contention with a game against Union County (5-2, 4-2) waiting in the wings for next week. The Eagles finish the regular season with a winnable game against Dawson County (2-5, 1-5).

Riverside Military needs to win out in the regular season and hope for either Fannin County, Union County or North Oconee to stumble down the stretch. The Eagles, currently in fifth place in Region 8-AA, already lost to the Titans (6-1, 5-1) and Rebels (6-1, 5-1), and any possible tie-breaker they would need to get into the playoffs.

Even though the Eagles have dropped three of the last four, they have continued to get solid individual performances. Converted quarterback, now running back, Julian Suber crossed the 1,000-yard mark last week and has 10 rushing touchdowns. Junior quarterback Lucas Bersin (84-for-120 passing for 966 yards) should cross the 1,000-yard plateau this week for Riverside Military.

Prediction: RIVERSIDE MILITARY. The Eagles always seem to play tough at home. Battling for a playoff spot should bring the best out of RMA.

Commerce at
Lakeview Academy

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jock Horner Stadium

Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn

Records: Commerce (2-5, 1-2 Region 8-A); Lakeview Academy (1-4, 0-3)

Key players: Commerce, RB Deon Orsborne (5-9, 155 Jr.), RB Jon Cash (5-9, 160 Jr.), RB Javon Womack (5-11, 175 Sr.). Lakeview Academy, QB Haughton Carswell (5-10, 150 Sr.), RB/FB Tom Drury (5-10, 185 Jr.), LB Jordan Chastain (6-0, 175 Sr.).

Outlook: It’s a regrouping week for both teams after tough losses last week. While Lakeview Academy stayed winless in region play with a 39-10 loss to Prince Avenue Christian, Commerce could only find the end zone once in a 33-7 loss to Wesleyan.

Both teams are similar in play style and don’t stray far from the ground.

Few passes are likely to be thrown, and each team uses a lot of the clock to move up the field on short running plays.

Lakeview Academy’s rushing game is led by brothers Tom Drury and Nick Drury along with Austin White. Quarterback Haughton Carswell also picks up a big share of his team’s carries.

While the Tigers don’t have enormous size, they still outsize the Lions, who don’t have any linemen, or anyone on their team for that matter, bigger than 200 pounds.

Prediction: COMMERCE. The Tigers are bigger and faster than Lakeview Academy, which makes all the difference when running the ball all night long.

Blessed Trinity
at Buford

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Radio: 550-AM

Coaches: Blessed Trinity, Ricky Turner; Buford, Jess Simpson

Records: Blessed Trinity (6-1, 3-1 Region 6-AA); Buford (7-0, 4-0)

Key players: Blessed Trinity, OT Matt Crisafi (6-4, 302 Sr.), RB Sam Burkhalter (5-10, 205 Sr.), QB Kohl Hegestschweiler (6-3, 190 Sr.). Buford, RB Cody Getz (5-7, 157 Sr.), RB Storm Johnson (6-1, 210 Jr.), OL/DL Dallas Lee (6-4, 295 Sr.).

Outlook: An out-of-region trip to Thomson last week got Buford its most competitive game since a 21-point win in Week 1.

That’s not to say the 29-0 Wolves’ win was a nail biter.

Buford led 6-0 at the half before pulling away for its fourth shutout in the last five games and sixth consecutive win by at least four touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Blessed Trinity is off to the best start in the school’s brief history.

The only smudge on the Region 6-AA newcomer’s record is a 31-28 loss to Greater Atlanta Christian. Currently, the Titans are locked in a three-way tie for second place in the region with GAC and Westminster, while Lovett sits one game back.

Buford, which operates from a similar pro-I offense, is led by Getz and Johnson, but fullback Jessell Curry broke out last week with 105 rushing yards, his first 100-yard game of the season.

Defensively, the Wolves are yielding less than 120 yards of total offense per game while limiting opposing rushers to 1.5 yards per carry.

Prediction: BUFORD. This defense is for real. Of the 42 points the Wolves have given up this year, 28 have come in the fourth quarter after the game was no longer in doubt.

Habersham Central
at Rockdale County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Raider Stadium, Mount Airy

Radio: 99.3-FM

Coaches: Habersham Central, Gene Cathcart; Rockdale County, Michael Etheridge

Records: Habersham Central (4-4, 4-4 Region 8-AAAA); Rockdale County (4-3, 4-3)

Key players: Habersham Central, QB Austin Brown (6-0, 185 So.), RB David Griffin (5-10, 170 So.), RB Kevin Ellison (6-2, 190 Fr.). Rockdale County, QB Isaiah Gresham (Sr.), RB Javon Lucas (Sr.), OL/DL Tommy Shimmel (Sr.).

Outlook: In the mess of teams fighting for a playoff spot in Region 8-AAAA, a win for either team tonight could play a huge part in whether they crack the top four at season’s end.

Habersham Central is coming off one its finer wins of the season, defeating winless Monroe Area 33-14.

The win was especially big for running back David Griffin, who accounted for all of his team’s points, and tied the school record with a five touchdown, 156-yard performance.

The win proved that the Raiders, who are traditionally a pass-heavy team, could still win running the ball.

That being said, quarterback Austin Brown still passed for 160 yards in the win. Zach Mayfield also caught five of Brown’s passes for 74 yards.

Meanwhile, Rockdale County defeated Winder-Barrow 32-9 last week to snap a three-game losing streak. A win against Habersham Central would give them an outstanding chance of earning a playoff spot.

Prediction: HABERSHAM CENTRAL. The Raiders can do a little bit of everything on offense, and the variety will keep Rockdale County on their toes.

Jackson County
at Elbert County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: The Granite Bowl, Elberton

Coaches: Jackson County, Billy Kirk; Elbert County, Brent Miller

Records: Jackson County (1-5-1, 0-4 Region 8-AAA), Elbert County (3-4, 1-3)

Key players: Jackson County, WR Marquise Gillespie (5-9, 145 Jr.), RB Rodderick Burks (5-8, 160 Jr.), LB Matt Robinson (6-0, 210 Sr.). Elbert County, QB Robert Huff (Sr.), RB Valdon Cooper (Jr.), RB Ronnie Hughes (Sr.).

Outlook: As if things weren’t bad enough at Jackson County, the Panthers are coming off their worst defeat of the year — a 50-0 loss to Eastside — and now have to travel to Elbert County to take on a Blue Devils team hoping to rebound from a disappointing performance last week against Franklin County.

The Panthers’ offense has struggled this year, mustering a paltry six points per game, while giving up 25. The offense should be able to get things going tonight against a Blue Devils’ defense that is allowing 22 points per game.

Prediction: ELBERT COUNTY. The Blue Devils will prove to be too big and too strong for the young Panthers to handle.

Rabun County
at Jefferson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

Coaches: Rabun County, Danny Durham; Jefferson, Bill Navas

Records: Rabun County (1-6, 1-5 Region 8-AA); Jefferson (7-0, 6-0)

Key players: Rabun County, RB/DB Daniel Campbell (5-10, 160 Jr.), OL/DL Morgan Gantt (6-1, 200 Sr.), QB Ethan Grant (6-1, 185 Sr.). Jefferson, QB Darius Minor (6-0, 175 Jr.), RB Virgil Appleby (5-6, 180 Sr.), WR/DB Zac Crosby (5-9, 175 Sr.).

Outlook: Last week, the eighth-ranked Dragons found themselves in a four-quarter scrap for the first time all year. Jefferson emerged with a 34-22 win over Banks County, a week after a 47-20 win over Riverside Military Academy.

That’s the most success teams have found against the Dragons’ defense this season. But both of those teams boast a 1,000-yard rusher and an offense that scores at least 28 points per game.

Prediction: JEFFERSON. A win tonight sets up a chance to clinch the 8-AA title next week against North Oconee.

Fannin County
at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Homer

Coaches: Fannin County, Clark Drennan; Banks County, Blair Armstrong

Records: Fannin County (6-1, 5-1 Region 8-AA); Banks County (3-4, 3-3)

Key players: Fannin County, QB/DB Nick Dean (6-0, 160 Jr.), RB/LB Josh Gaddy (5-10, 170 Sr.), RB/DB Devean Morris (5-9, 170 Sr.). Banks County, RB Justin Beasley (5-9, 175 Sr.), RB Demetric Dempson (5-11, 195 Sr.), QB Chris Porter (5-10, 175 Jr.).

Outlook: Banks County is in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule, having to face a 6-1 Fannin County team that has a four-game winning streak after beating Riverside Military 40-28.

The Leopards held their own in a 34-22 loss to undefeated Jefferson last week, and even had a lead late in the fourth quarter, but gave up a touchdown with a minute left in the game to drop to 3-3 in region play.

Prediction: FANNIN COUNTY. The Rebels’ offense is explosive enough to sneak past the Leopards in a high-scoring contest.

Dawson County
at Union County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Coaches: Dawson County, Jeff Lee; Union County, Brian Allison

Records: Dawson County (2-5, 1-5 Region 8-AA); Union County (5-2, 4-2)

Key players: Dawson County, QB Chase Gilreath (6-1, 190 Jr.), WR/DB Cody Tobias (6-1, 185 Sr.), K/P David Scully (6-1, 175 Sr.). Union County, QB Kolt Owenby (5-11, 175 Jr.), WR Blake Gowder (6-2, 175 Jr.), LB David Harris (5-10, 175 Jr.).

Outlook: Before wearing down in the second half last week, Dawson County’s defense stood up to one of the top teams in Region 8-AA and kept it out of the end zone for most of the game.

Prediction: UNION COUNTY. The Panthers are currently in control of fourth place in the region, but with games against Riverside and Banks County to close out the season.

Last week: 9-3

Overall: 74-15-1



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