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High school football: Week 11 previews

POSTED: November 4, 2010 8:14 p.m.

Westminster at Buford

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Coaches: Westminster, Gerry Romberg; Buford, Jess Simpson

Records: Westminster (7-2, 1st Region 6B-AA); Buford (8-1, 1st 6A-AA)

Key players: Westminster, RB Ralph Abernathy IV (5-6, 155 Sr.), LB Dallis Joiner (6-0, 192, Sr.), QB William Lingenfelter (6-0, 155 Sr.). Buford, QB Alex Ross (6-2, 198 Sr.), RB Seon Jones (5-9, 178 Sr.), WR/DB Eric Barr (5-8, 166 Sr.).

Outlook: Buford is looking to win its ninth region title in 10 years when it plays Westminster for the 6-AA championship.
Prediction: BUFORD. Too many weapons, too much tradition, and the Wolves are hungry to regain the 6-AA title they lost to Lovett last year.

Johnson at Stephens County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: The Reservation, Toccoa

Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; Stephens County, Travis Noland

Records: Johnson (2-7, 3rd Region 8B-AAA); Stephens County (7-2, 2nd Region 8A-AAA)

Key players: Johnson, RB Cedric Harris (6-1, 170 So.), RB/LB Joey Brooks (5-11, 240 Jr.), OL/DL David Harkins (6-0, 280 Sr.). Stephens County, RB Chaz Thornton (5-9, 170 So.), WR/DB Cassadine Blassingame (6-1, 150 Sr.), RB/WR Marticus Gibson (5-7, 145 Sr.).

Outlook: A berth in the playoffs is on the line, but both teams have taken different routes to this play-in game. The Knights started 0-5, but thanks to wins over West Hall and Oconee County, they’re one win away from reaching the postseason for the first time since 2004. Harris leads the Knights on offense with 1,035 yards and 12 touchdowns, and his play tonight could lead Johnson to its biggest win since the 2006 upset of Gainesville.

Prediction: STEPHENS COUNTY. Thornton runs wild and leads the Indians to the playoffs.

Monroe Area at Lumpkin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: J.P. King Memorial Stadium, Dahlonega

Coaches: Monroe Area, Matt Fligg; Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones

Records: Monroe Area (8-1, 2nd Region 8B-AAA); Lumpkin County (6-3, 3rd Region 8A-AAA)

Key players: Monroe Area, RB Tre Burdette (6-1, 185 Sr.), DE Stephon Tuitt (6-5, 260 Sr.), TE/DE Kendarious Whitehead (6-3, 215 Jr.). Lumpkin County, QB Taylor Guthrie (6-5, 190 Sr.), FB/DE Michael Flanagan (6-2, 230 Sr.), WR Ian McIntosh (5-9, 170 Jr.).

Outlook: Monroe Area won the first meeting between these two teams 10-3 on Sept. 17 to hand Lumpkin County its first loss of the season.

That game was decided by an Indians’ turnover midway through the fourth quarter that allowed the Purple Hurricanes to drive down the field for the winning score.

Prediction: MONROE AREA. With a strong defensive line and a dependable running back in Burdette, the Purple Hurricanes will grind out another close, defensive battle.

Commerce at Social Circle

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Redskin Stadium at Stephens Park, Social Circle

Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Social Circle, David Seawright

Records: Commerce (4-5, 3-2 Region 8-A); Social Circle (2-7, 1-4)

Key players: Commerce, QB Cody Streetman (6-0, 185 Jr.), LB Josh Swistak (5-9, 190 Jr.), LB Tyler Adams (5-10, 185 Sr.). Social Circle, QB Marvae Crawford (Sr.), K Tanner Preston (So.), RB Justice Russell (Sr.).

Outlook: Prior to the start of the season, there were questions about whether the Tigers would be able to make it 14 straight playoff appearances.

The answer is yes.

Prediction: COMMERCE. The Tigers have won four straight over the Indians and are 13-2 lifetime against their region foes.

Riverside Military Academy at Prince Avenue Christian

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Wolverines Field, Bogart

Coaches: Riverside Military, Chris Cotter; Prince Avenue, Mark Farriba

Records: Riverside Military (2-7, 1-4 Region 8-A); Prince Avenue (6-3, 3-2)

Key players: Riverside Military, FB/LB Tarvin Dukes (6-2, 215 Sr.), QB Michael Gallup (6-0, 160 Fr.), K/DL Victor Salcido (Jr.). Prince Avenue, QB/RB/DB Carl Mattox (5-10, 155 So.), RB/DB Avery McNeely (5-5, 140 So.), QB/RB William McNeely (5-9, 160 Sr.).

Outlook: Having already secured a playoff berth with a win over Athens Christian last week, the Wolverines still have plenty to play for tonight against Riverside. A win, combined with a Commerce loss, would send Prince Avenue to the playoffs as a No. 3 seed, meaning it would avoid playing Region 6-A champion Darlington in the first round.

Prediction: PRINCE AVENUE. The Wolverines end their most successful regular season ever with a
convincing win.

Jefferson at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: East Hall Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: Jefferson, T. McFerrin; East Hall, Bryan Gray

Records: Jefferson (5-4, 4th Region 8B-AA); East Hall (3-6, 4th Region 8A-AA)

Key players: Jefferson, RB/LB Chris Jackson (5-11, 185 Sr.), FB/DE Zach Allen (6-1, 230 Sr.), QB Bryant Shirreffs (6-2, 190 So.). East Hall, RB/DB Jamond Witt (5-7, 160 Jr.), OL/DL Sterling Bailey (6-5, 265 Sr.), DE/RB Chaz Cheeks (6-5, 221 Sr.).

Outlook: The Dragons are coming off a 49-15 victory over East Jackson last Friday to complete the sweep of Jackson County teams. Jefferson defeated Jackson County 42-21 on Oct. 22.

Against the Eagles, Shirreffs accounted for four of the Jefferson touchdowns, throwing for three and rushing for one. The sophomore had 222 yards on 11-of-17 passing and 77 yards on 10 carries.

Prediction: JEFFERSON. Despite the presence of two future Division-I player in Bailey and Cheeks, the East Hall defense won’t be able to stop the combination of Shirreffs and Jackson on the ground.

Walnut Grove at Chestatee

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: War Eagles Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: Walnut Grove, Harris Rainbow; Chestatee, Stan Luttrell

Records: Walnut Grove (1-8, 6th Region 8B-AAA); Chestatee (2-7, 6th Region 8A-AAA)

Key players: Walnut Grove, RB Dene Phillips (So.), RB Duronta Momon (So.), LB D.J. Brooks (Sr.). Chestatee, QB/DB Scott Chewning (5-11, 170 Sr.), WR/DB Alex Moore (6-1, 180 Sr.), RB Montrai Tate (5-10, 165 So.).

Outlook: This is a matchup between the bottom teams from each subregion in Region 8-AAA. For the War Eagles, their offensive production dropped off each week during the subregion stretch of the schedule.

Prediction: WALNUT GROVE. The Warriors will keep Chestatee’s offense off track.

Oconee County at North Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: The Brickyard, Gainesville

Radio: 102.9-FM

Coaches: Oconee County, Mitch Olson; North Hall, Bob Christmas

Records: Oconee County (3-6, 4th Region 8B-AAA), North Hall (4-5, 4th Region 8A-AAA)

Key players: Oconee County, QB Conner White (So.), QB/DB Santonio Brown (Sr.), RB/DB Davis Aiken (Jr.). North Hall, RB/LB Mack VanGorder (5-11, 195 Sr.), RB/LB Imani Cross (6-2, 220 Jr.), TE/DE D.J. Miolen (6-4, 250 Sr.).

Outlook: This is a matchup between the No. 4 seeds from each subregion in Region 8-AAA.
With last Friday’s loss at Stephens County, North Hall was saddled with its first season missing the playoffs since 2005.

Tonight, North Hall needs a win to avoid its first losing season since 2001, when it finished 1-9 in Christmas’ first season with the program.

Prediction: NORTH HALL. The Trojans play for pride at The Brickyard.

West Hall at Franklin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Ed Bryant Stadium, Carnesville

Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; Franklin County, Tommy Welch

Records: West Hall (3-6, 5th Region 8B-AAA); Franklin County (3-5-1, 5th Region 8A-AAA)

Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 240 Sr.), RB Dre Pou (5-10, 175 Sr.), WR Brandon Fuqua (5-10, 170 Sr.). Franklin County, LB Seth Strickland (5-8, 170 Sr.), QB Kevin Harris (6-1, 190 Sr.), OL/DL Ben Parten (6-2, 230 Sr.).

Outlook: After starting the year 2-0, West Hall has lost six of seven and finds itself out of the playoff hunt for the eighth straight year.

This is the final game for seniors like Stephens, Pou, Fuqua and William Stroup, who have all played a major role offensively the last few years.

Prediction: FRANKLIN COUNTY. The Spartans have been susceptible to the run this year, and the Lions’ main focus is their ground game.

Banks County at Hart County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Pete Herndon Stadium, Hartwell

Coaches: Banks County, Blair Armstrong; Hart County, Joby Scroggs

Records: Banks County (7-2, 2nd Region 8A-AA); Hart County (6-3-1, 3rd Region 8B-AA)

Key players: Banks County, RB/LB Jeremy Greenway (5-9, 185 Sr.), RB/LB Dylan Lackey (5-10, 175 Sr.), OL Isaac Mayfield (5-10, 195 Sr.). Hart County, RB Stephon Eades (6-0, 195 Jr.), QB/P Landon Beck (6-2, 205 Sr.), LB Deonte Allen Jr (5-9, 180 Jr.).

Outlook: The winner of this game will advance to the Class AA playoffs as either a No. 3 or No. 4 seed and will play either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed from Region 6, which will be either Buford or Westminster.

Prediction: HART COUNTY. This game could be competitive, but overall, the Bulldogs playoff experience will lead to victory.

East Jackson at Union County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Coaches: East Jackson, Frank Caputo; Union County, Brian Allison

Records: East Jackson (3-6, 5th Region 8B-AA); Union County (3-6, 5th 8A-AA)

Key players: East Jackson, QB/DB Cody Gibbs (6-2, 170 Sr.), RB C.J. Allen (5-8, 170 Jr.), WR/DB Brion Youngs (Sr.). Union County, QB/RB Jesse Wright (6-1, 180 Sr.), WR/DB Garrett Smith (6-0, 175 Sr.), OL/DL Thomas Herbert (6-6, 240 Sr.)

Outlook: Union County’s shot at a region play-in game evaporated with its halftime lead last week at Fannin County.

Prediction: EAST JACKSON. The Eagles’ four-game skid looks bad, but the losses came against arguably the best four teams in the region.

North Oconee at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Coaches: North Oconee, Terry Tuley; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Records: North Oconee (8-1, 2nd Region 8B-AA); Dawson County (3-6, 3rd Region 8A-AA)

Key players: North Oconee, RB/DB Lane Thompson (5-9, 172 Sr.), FB/LB Russ Williams (6-3, 215 Sr.), C Dillan Prather (6-1, 280 Sr.). Dawson County, QB Tyler Dominy (6-4, 165 So.), QB/RB/DB/K Ethan Brown (6-0, 175 Sr.), OL/DL Zach Johnson (6-3, 300 Sr.).

Outlook: North Oconee lost 6-0 to Elbert County last week to fall to the No. 2 seed from the south subregion. The Titans have outscored their opponents by an average of 24.1 points per game this season, which could be bad news for a Dawson County team that is surrendering 26.3 points per game.

Prediction: NORTH OCONEE. The Titans are too strong on the ground and too solid on defense for a young Tigers team to overcome.

Habersham Central at Rockdale County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Reid Stadium, Conyers

Radio: 99.3-FM

Coaches: Habersham Central, Stuart Cunningham; Rockdale County, Mike Etheridge

Records: Habersham Central (2-7, 2-7 Region 8-AAAA); Rockdale County (4-5, 4-5)

Key players: Habersham Central, QB Kevin Ellison (6-0, 175 Jr.), LB Tyler Stinespring (6-1, 185 Sr.), DB Brian Owen (Sr.).

Outlook: After a two-game winning streak at midseason seemed to signify reason for hope, Habersham Central enters tonight’s game on a three-game losing streak.

Prediction: HABERSHAM CENTRAL. Behind Ellison and the running game, the Raiders close the season on a winning note.

Jackson County at Rabun County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Frank Snyder Stadium, Tiger

Coaches: Jackson County, Billy Kirk; Rabun County, Danny Durham

Records: Jackson County (3-6, 6th Region 8B-AA); Rabun County (1-8, 6th Region 8A-AA)

Key players: Jackson County, ATH Alex Crawford (5-8, 140 Sr.), LB Kelly Moates (5-11, 190 Sr.), QB Kyle Daniel (6-0, 175 So.) Rabun County, QB Tanner Wright, WR Dillon Bleckly, DB Blake McCracken.

Outlook: Coming off its most lopsided loss of the year, Jackson County has a chance to salvage its season and finish with four wins for the second year in a row.

That may not sound like much of an accomplishment, but it would be the first time the Panthers have achieved it since the early 1990s, and it could be taken as further proof that the program is headed in the right direction.

Rabun County has lost six straight and is hoping to avoid it’s fourth consecutive one-loss season.

Prediction: JACKSON COUNTY. After a brutal subregion schedule, the Panthers return to the promise they showed when they started the season 2-0.

Hebron Christian at Towns County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Frank McClure Stadium, Hiawasse

Coaches: Hebron Christian, Brian Smith; Towns County, Kyle Langford

Records: Hebron Christian (8-1); Towns County (3-6)

Key players: Hebron Christian, OL/DL Alex Bruner (5-11, 180 Sr.), OL/DL Ryan Kerr (6-4, 250 Sr.), OL/DL Daniel Williams (6-2, 210 Sr.). Towns County, RB/DB Noah Calhoun (5-10, 170 Jr.), OL/DL Josh Goodwin (5-11, 240 Sr.), WR/DB Billy Meier (5-7, 180 Sr.).

Outlook: Towns County is coming off a 23-12 loss to Lakeview Academy last Friday after winning their three previous games.

The Indians are led by Calhoun, who had 92 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Lakeview last week. The other Towns County touchdown came on an 11-yard rush from quarterback Jackson Noblet.

Hebron Christian earned a 63-16 victory over Class AA’s Cross Keys last Friday and is averaging 39 points per contest this season.

Prediction: HEBRON CHRISTIAN. A slew of weapons against a spotty defense will allow Hebron Christian to roll to the win.



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