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High school football previews: Week 2

POSTED: September 2, 2010 9:19 p.m.

Banks County at Riverside Military

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Maginnis Field
Coaches: Banks County, Blair Armstong; Riverside, Chris Cotter
Records: Banks County (1-0, 0-0 Region 8A-AA), Riverside (1-1, 0-0 8-A).
Key players: Banks County, RB Dylan Lackey (5-10, 175 Sr.), DE Eli Autry (6-0, 220 Sr.), LB Jeremy Greenway (5-9, 185 Sr.). Riverside, RB Justin Martin (6-1, 175 Fr.), QB Michael Gallup (6-0, 160 Fr.), LB Tarvin Dukes (6-2, 215 Sr.).
This is Riverside’s third game of the young season, and a win won’t be easy based on how the Leopards performed in Week 1 when Lackey had 157 rushing yards and three touchdowns in a 40-14 win over Social Circle.
Riverside was on the wrong end of a game like that last week, as the Eagles lost 35-0 and saw Lumpkin County’s Ian McIntosh score three touchdowns in three different ways. A loss like that to an experienced opponent is understandable, especially considering Riverside starts freshmen at quarterback and running back, along with a wealth of inexperienced players elsewhere.
Although they started the season on a high note, the young Eagles took a step back when they were held to 12 rushing yards and surrendered five sacks and a fumble against Lumpkin County. Gallup did have success throwing the ball last week, which may allow the Eagles to open the offensive playbook more.
They may have to against Banks County, which has its three returning tacklers back, including Greenway and Matthew Patton, who combined for 237 tackles a year ago.
This is the third straight meeting between the two teams (17th in total), with Riverside winning the last two by a combined score of 79-40.
Prediction: BANKS COUNTY. Lackey might not repeat his three-TD performance of Week 1, but he will be the main reason the Leopards leave Gainesville 2-0.


Gilmer at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville
Coaches: Gilmer, Wesley Tankersley; Dawson County, Jeff Lee
Records: Gilmer (0-1, 0-0 Region 7-AAA); Dawson County (0-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AA)
Key players: Gilmer, RB Jacob Teague (6-0, 190 Sr.) LB Sawyer Petit (6-2, 215 Sr.), DL Eric Weaver (6-2, 300 Sr.). Dawson County, QB Tyler Dominy (6-4, 165 So.), OL/DL Zach Johnson (6-3, 300 Sr.), WR/DB Ethan Brown (6-0, 175, Sr.).
Outlook: Neither team got the start they wanted last week, but the subregion games — the ones that will determine who makes the postseason — are still a few weeks away for both Gilmer and Dawson County. Both coaches will be looking for signs to indicate their teams are headed in the right direction tonight.
Dawson County started slow last week, falling behind 27-0 to Pickens and eventually falling 27-14. The Bobcats’ 17-14 loss was no easier to swallow, as it came against rival Fannin County.
There were positives for both, though. In addition to the Tigers’ two second-half scores, they had another drive inside the Pickens 2-yard line before coming away empty handed. Dominy completed 15 of 22 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns — one each to Brown and Bruce.
For the Bobcats, three-year starter Teague ran for 184 yards and two scores.
Dawson County could use a little more production from its running game after being held to less than 4 yards per carry in the season opener.
Prediction: GILMER. Expect a close game, but the Tigers haven’t yet proven they’re able to win those.

Winder-Barrow at Flowery Branch

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Falcon Field, Flowery Branch
Coaches: Winder-Barrow, David Wagner; Flowery Branch, Lee Shaw
Records: Winder-Barrow (0-1, 0-1 Region 8A-AAAA); Flowery Branch (1-0, 1-0 8A-AAAA)
Key players: LB Hogan Anderson (6-3, 225, Sr.), RB Kendrick Davis (5-10, 190, Sr.), DL Jacob Dufrense (6-1, 250, Sr.); Flowery Branch, QB Austin Brown (6-1, 195, Sr.), K/P Will Monday (6-4, 190, Sr.), LB Sydney Cheeks (5-11, 195, Jr.)
Outlook: The Falcons entered Region 8-AAAA and made an immediate impact with a 21-0 win over Madison County in Danielsville, impressing in all phases of the game.
On offense, junior running back Jeremy Haley rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries in his first prep start. On defense, Jacob Allen tallied 16 tackles and a sack and Sydney Cheeks (12), Kyle Famiano (11) and Quinncy Hodges (10) all totaled double digits in tackles. And Will Monday made a pair of 27-yard field goals, punted four times for an average of 45 yards and two of his kickoffs went for touchbacks.
The Bulldoggs, have been a 8-AAAA bottom feeder as of late, coming off a 2-8 record, but pushed Rockdale County — a Class AAAA semifinalist last season — to the brink in a 6-3 loss.
Look for the Falcons to continue to experiment with the different weapons on offense as they did last week with the Red Raiders. Even when that game had been decided, Flowery Branch opted to run a few pass plays instead of running out the clock in order to get new arrival quarterback Austin Brown acclimated in the spread option offense.
This is the Falcons’ final tuneup before a showdown with defending 8-AAAA champion Apalachee.
Prediction: FLOWERY BRANCH. The Falcons will be ready to show the home crowd they’re one of the better teams in the region.

Gainesville at White County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: White County Stadium
Radio: 1240-AM
Coaches: Gainesville, Bruce Miller; White County, Gregg Segraves
Records: Gainesville (0-1, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA), White County (1-0, 0-0 8A-AAA).
Key players: Gainesville, LB A.J. Johnson (6-3, 235 Sr.), QB Deshaun Watson (6-1, 170 Fr.), DT Thomas Niles (6-2, 265 Sr.). White County, RB/WR/DB Ashely Lowery (6-2, 205 Sr.), QB Cole Segraves (6-4, 200 So.), DL Adam Hooper (6-0, 265 Sr.).
Outlook: It’s the first game against a region opponent for both teams, and this matchup could be a preview of the region championship if both teams live up to expectations.
White County did that last week against East Jackson, as Lowery scored a late touchdown to send the Warriors home with a victory against a 2009 Class AA playoff team.
Gainesville wasn’t so fortunate. The Red Elephants struggled on defense, and occasionaly on offense, against a Buford team that put up 40 points on 2009’s Class AAA runners-up. The inability to stop the run is a major concern for Gainesville, which now must try to contain Lowery, a Kentucky recruit who also scored on a 45-yard reception last week.
The White County offense isn’t just Lowery, as sophomore quarterback Cole Segraves showed he can command the passing game with a 150-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 1.
Of course the defense for Gainesville will be more than ready to face the Warriors, a team it has defeated eight years in a row.
The Red Elephants are led on offense by Watson, a freshman QB who showed he has more than just potential against Buford. In his first varsity start, Watson threw for 182 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another 80 as he led the Red Elephants on three scoring drives. Watson relies on a bevy of receivers including Stephen Mason, Michael Lorentz and Mike Norman, all of whom caught multiple passes in Week 1.
White County’s defense is anchored by Hooper on the line and Lowery in the secondary. A strong night from Gainesville’s passing attack might tire out Lowery and render him less effective on offense.
Prediction: GAINESVILLE. The experience of playing a top-notch Buford defense will help the young Gainesville offense succeed this week against a team hoping to contend for a region title.

Cedar Shoals at Habersham Central

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Raider Stadium, Mt. Airy
Radio: 99.3 FM
Coaches: Cedar Shoals, Xarvia Smith; Habersham Central, Stuart Cunningham
Records: Cedar Shoals (0-1, 0-1 8-AAAA); Habersham Central (0-1, 0-1 8-AAAA)
Key players: Cedar Shoals, LB Charmarcus Pittard (6-0, 230, Sr.), QB Shaquile Gatlin (5-9, 180, Sr.), OL Travonta Burgess (6-2, 265, Sr.); Habersham Central, QB Kevin Ellison (6-0, 175, Jr.), RB David Griffin (6-0, 180, Sr.), TE/WR Chasten Howard (6-3, 210, Sr.)
Outlook: Both teams will be looking to rebound from a forgettable season opener. The Raiders are coming off a 35-7 defeat to Apalachee and the Jaguars lost 41-12 to Clarke Central.
Raiders coach Stuart Cunningham doesn’t expect this week to be any easier than the last.
“They’re big and explosive,” he said. “Maybe one of the biggest teams we’ll play this year. We’ve got to keep the ball on offense, keep them off the field, make stops on defense and hope to win the kicking game.”
After watching film of the Jaguars’ opener, Cunningham noticed they’ve expanded their offense from last year, when they stuck to the Wing-T.
“They’re a lot more multiple on offense,” he said. “They’re going to be hard to stop with all the talent they’ve got.”
Cunningham wouldn’t say whether he expected the game to be competitive, or if any team may have an edge based on the previous week’s play.
“If you try to make predictions in this region, you’re just wasting time,” he said. “This is a crazy region and to try and predict what kind of game it’s going to be, that’s just something you shouldn’t do.”
Prediction: CEDAR SHOALS. The Jaguars have beaten the Raiders in each of the past two seasons and own an 11-3 record over them in the all-time series. The Raiders will need to raise their level of play to come out with a win tonight.

Walnut Grove at Jackson County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Panther Stadium, Jefferson
Coaches: Walnut Grove, Harris Rainbow; Jackson County, Billy Kirk
Records: Walnut Grove (0-1,0-0 Region 8B-AAA); Jackson County (1-0, 0-0 Region 8B-AA)
Key players: Walnut Grove, QB Jonah Guinn (Jr.) LB D.J. Brooks (Sr.), RB/WR/QB Micah Reed (Jr.). Jackson County, RB Austin McDonald (6-0, 220 Sr.), QB Kyle Daniels (6-1, 175 So.), LB Billy Manis (6-2, 215 Sr.).
Outlook: For the second straight year, Jackson County has a chance to open its season with back-to-back wins — but Kirk won’t allow his Panthers to take it for granted that they will, even against Walnut Grove, a program which will be playing its second varsity game.
“We’ve been preaching all week that we’ve got to build on success, rather than stay the same,” the Panthers coach said. “We can’t take them lightly.”
The Warriors began their foray into varsity football last week with a 26-12 loss to Morgan County. They trailed just 16-12 in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs pulled away.
“They’re very athletic,” Kirk said. “They’re a pretty good second-year school.”
For the Panthers, the focus will be on sustaining the offensive success they found last week in a lightning-shortened 14-8 win over Johnson, as well as limiting the special teams miscues which nearly cost them the win.
In just one half of football, Jackson County tallied 233 yards of total offense, led by McDonald’s 123 rushing yards. Kirk was especially pleased with the pace of the team’s spread offense, which churned out 55 snaps. He was less pleased with the kickoff return for a touchdown they allowed that put the Knights ahead 8-7.
Prediction: JACKSON COUNTY. The once-lowly Panthers continue to stride in the right direction under Kirk.

Jefferson at North Hall

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: The Brickyard
Radio: 102.9 FM
Coaches: Jefferson, T. McFerrin; North Hall, Bob Christmas
Records: Jefferson (1-0, Region 8B-AA), North Hall (0-0 8A-AAA)
Key players: Jefferson, FB/DE Zach Allen (6-1, 230 Sr.), LB/RB Chris Jackson (5-11, 185 Sr.), TE/DE Hoytes Damons (6-2, 240 Sr.). North Hall, QB Kanler Coker (6-4, 190 Jr.), WR/DB C.J. Curry (6-2, 190 Jr.), TE/DE D.J. Miolen (6-3, 255 Sr.)
Outlook: This game pits two of the more successful coaches in the state against one another. McFerrin (312 career wins with a state title at Elbert County in 1995) against Christmas (222 career wins and a state title in Virginia).
The Dragons opened their season last week by defeating rival Commerce, 17-14. Jefferson took the lead with a 3-yard rush from quarterback Bryant Shirreffs in the fourth quarter, and Zach Allen blocked a long field goal in the final seconds to secure the win.
After a Week 1 bye, this is North Hall’s first game of the season.
“Having a game under their belt is an advantage,” Christmas said. “We have been practicing this week trying to simulate game tempo.”
For North Hall, junior running back Imani Cross will dress for the game but will more than likely not play, Christmas said. Cross is coming off Achilles surgery in the spring.
“He did start hitting this week and has done well,” Christmas said. “I just think we should give him a little more time.”
Last week, Jackson led the Dragons with 63 rushing yards.
Prediction: NORTH HALL. The Trojans defend their home turf well, even against a formidable opponent like the Dragons.

Johnson at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: East Hall Stadium, Gainesville
Radio: 1330 AM
Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; East Hall, Bryan Gray
Records: Johnson (0-1, 0-0 8B-AAA); East Hall (0-1, 0-0 8-AA)
Key players: Johnson, OL/DL David Harkins (6-0, 280, Sr.), TE/DE Cody Lewallen (6-6, 205, Jr.), QB/DB Luke Gilleland (5-10, 175, Jr.); East Hall, OL/DL Sterling Bailey (6-5, 265, Sr.), DE/RB Chaz Cheeks (6-5, 221, Sr.), WR/DB Chris Johnson (5-10, 170, Sr.)
Outlook: Both Hall County schools are coming off Week 1 losses: The Vikings fell to West Hall 18-6 and the Knights lost 14-8 to Jackson County. However, the Knights caught a bad break when the their game was called at halftime due to lightning. The kicker is Johnson was leading until Jackson scored with 10 seconds left in the first half. Weather permitting, tonight will be Johnson’s first full game of the season.
Each the Vikings and Knights scored one touchdown in their opener — the Vikings’ coming on a 45-yard reception by Jamond Witt from Zach Groover; the Knights’ on Brandon Buncy’s 86-yard kickoff return.
The Vikings will likely turn to Witt for offensive production. The team’s leading rusher last season, the junior compiled 106 receiving yards on five catches and rushed for 68 yards on 13 carries last week. With the Vikings’ offensive woes seeming to carry over from last season — the scored seven points or fewer seven times in 2009 — they’ll also likely try to control the ball in the run game.
The Knights dominated the Vikings 41-6 last season for their most lopsided win of 2009. After having their game cut short last week, they may come out ready to hand the Vikings another defeat. Though they only played one half, quarterback Luke Gilleland completed 4 of his 8 passes for 66 yards — Cedric Harris caught two of those passes for 64 yards — and Joey Brooks had 40 rushing yards on five carries.
Prediction: JOHNSON. The Knights will be anxious to get their first full game of the season in and will take last week’s frustrations out on the Vikings.

Kings Ridge at Lakeview Academy

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Jock Horner Field, Gainesville
Coaches: Kings Ridge, Jeff Pickren; Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn
Records: Kings Ridge (1-0), Lakeview Academy (1-0)
Key players: Kings Ridge, QB Jason McCoy (6-3, 185 Jr.), WR/DB Devon Schmitt (6-3, 165 Jr.), RB Will Aiken (5-11, 185 Sr.). Lakeview, RB Trevor Price (5-10, 160 So.), RB Nick Drury (5-11, 175 Sr.), QB Jackson Wells (6-5, 175).
While the past few years have not been kind to Lakeview Academy, last Friday’s showing against Fellowship Christian may indicate a reversal for fortune. Drury and Price combined for 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Lions’ dominating 29-0 victory, and they face an opponent of similar size this week.
Kings Ridge has had two consecutive winning seasons in the Georgia Independent School Association and only this year has moved up to Class A. The Tigers show no signs of slowing down though, they beat St. Francis 45-0 on opening night.
Prediction: LAKEVIEW. In a game that comes down to how well linemen and running backs can control the line of scrimmage, the one-two punch of Drury and Price will prove too much for the Tigers.
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Jock Horner Field, Gainesville
Coaches: Kings Ridge, Jeff Pickren; Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn
Records: Kings Ridge (1-0), Lakeview Academy (1-0)
Key players: Kings Ridge, QB Jason McCoy (6-3, 185 Jr.), WR/DB Devon Schmitt (6-3, 165 Jr.), RB Will Aiken (5-11, 185 Sr.). Lakeview, RB Trevor Price (5-10, 160 So.), RB Nick Drury (5-11, 175 Sr.), QB Jackson Wells (6-5, 175).
While the past few years have not been kind to Lakeview Academy, last Friday’s showing against Fellowship Christian may indicate a reversal for fortune. Drury and Price combined for 206 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Lions’ dominating 29-0 victory, and they face an opponent of similar size this week.
Kings Ridge has had two consecutive winning seasons in the Georgia Independent School Association and only this year has moved up to Class A. The Tigers show no signs of slowing down though, they beat St. Francis 45-0 on opening night.
Prediction: LAKEVIEW. In a game that comes down to how well linemen and running backs can control the line of scrimmage, the one-two punch of Drury and Price will prove too much for the Tigers.

Lumpkin County at Union County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Panthers Stadium, Blairsvile
Coaches: Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones; Union County, Brian Allison
Records: Lumpkin County (1-0, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA), Union County (1-0, 0-0 8A-AA).
Key players: Lumpkin County, WR/RB/DB Ian McIntosh (5-9, 180 Jr.), RB/DE Michael Flanagan (6-2, 230 Sr.), TE/DE B.J. Dorsey (6-3, 230 Jr.). Union County, QB Jesse Wright (6-1, 180 Sr.), OL/DL Christian Forney (6-0, 240 Jr.), OL/DL Thomas Herbert (6-6, 240 Sr.).
Outlook: Once again this week, the Indians will be without senior quarterback Taylor Guthrie. He also missed Week 1, a 35-0 win against Riverside Military, with a broken finger on his non-throwing left hand. In his place, junior Logan Moye will get the start again. Last week, Moye accounted for 130 total yards of offense, including a touchdown pass to junior running back/wide receiver Ian McIntosh out of the backfield.
Last week, McIntosh was the star by scoring a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams.
However, Union County is also coming off an impressive Week 1 win, 40-7, against Towns County in Hiawassee. Steven Edsall scored on a touchdown reception and a kick return for Union County, and Garrett Smith added a pair of touchdowns.
These two programs are long rivals. They played every season between 1996-2005, and Union County has won 20 of 34 meetings since first playing in 1961.
Prediction: LUMPKIN COUNTY. With a defense like the Indians have, it doesn’t take much offense to come home with a win.

West Hall at Chestatee
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: War Eagle Stadium
Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; Chestatee, Stan Luttrell
Records: West Hall (1-0, Region 8B-AAA), Chestatee (0-0, 0-0 8A-AAA).
Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 240 Sr.), WR Antonio Sigmund (So.), RB Dre Pou (5-10, 175 Sr.). Chestatee, QB Scott Chewning (5-10, 170 Sr.), RB Montrai Tate (5-10, 155 Jr.), WR/DB Brice Beck (6-0, 165 Jr.).
Outlook: The Spartans started the season on a positive note last week with an 18-6 win over East Hall, and there’s little reason to doubt several Chestatee coaches and players were witnesses.
With a first-week bye, the War Eagles begin their 2010 season tonight against the Spartans and an aerial attack led by Stephens, who passed for 229 yards and a touchdown last week. This week, he’ll face a Chestatee defense anchored by Tyler Terry, a three-year starter, and Austin English, a defensive end who played offensive line last year.
While it’ll be important for Terry and English to disrupt the quarterback, Chestatee might need to rely on the play of its linebacking corps because of West Hall’s ability to turn short passes into long gains.
It’s unknown whether the War Eagles have that ability, as the team needs to replace Ben Souther, who rushed for a school-record 1,377 yards last year. Tate will be the one handling the majority of the carries this year, but Chestatee has three other capable backs if needed. That group doesn’t include Chewning, who is poised for a breakout after an injury ended his junior campaign. Back and fully healthy, Chewning gives Chestatee a dual-threat quarterback who can beat you with his legs or his arm.
Knowing the War Eagles are a primarily running team, West Hall’s defense will more than likely load up the box and try to create turnovers. The Spartans forced four turnovers in the season opener and turned one of them into a touchdown.
Prediction: WEST HALL. The Spartans have too much on offense for Chestatee to match up with.
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: War Eagle Stadium
Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; Chestatee, Stan Luttrell
Records: West Hall (1-0, Region 8B-AAA), Chestatee (0-0, 0-0 8A-AAA).
Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 240 Sr.), WR Antonio Sigmund (So.), RB Dre Pou (5-10, 175 Sr.). Chestatee, QB Scott Chewning (5-10, 170 Sr.), RB Montrai Tate (5-10, 155 Jr.), WR/DB Brice Beck (6-0, 165 Jr.).
Outlook: The Spartans started the season on a positive note last week with an 18-6 win over East Hall, and there’s little reason to doubt several Chestatee coaches and players were witnesses.
With a first-week bye, the War Eagles begin their 2010 season tonight against the Spartans and an aerial attack led by Stephens, who passed for 229 yards and a touchdown last week. This week, he’ll face a Chestatee defense anchored by Tyler Terry, a three-year starter, and Austin English, a defensive end who played offensive line last year.
While it’ll be important for Terry and English to disrupt the quarterback, Chestatee might need to rely on the play of its linebacking corps because of West Hall’s ability to turn short passes into long gains.
It’s unknown whether the War Eagles have that ability, as the team needs to replace Ben Souther, who rushed for a school-record 1,377 yards last year. Tate will be the one handling the majority of the carries this year, but Chestatee has three other capable backs if needed. That group doesn’t include Chewning, who is poised for a breakout after an injury ended his junior campaign. Back and fully healthy, Chewning gives Chestatee a dual-threat quarterback who can beat you with his legs or his arm.
Knowing the War Eagles are a primarily running team, West Hall’s defense will more than likely load up the box and try to create turnovers. The Spartans forced four turnovers in the season opener and turned one of them into a touchdown.
Prediction: WEST HALL. The Spartans have too much on offense for Chestatee to match up with.

 



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