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High school football notebook: Still a lot on the line for area teams on Friday

Final Friday will determine many seeds for region play-in games

POSTED: October 22, 2011 5:51 p.m.

For teams in subdivided regions, including all local teams other than those in Region 8-A and 8-AAAA, this is, for all intents and purposes, the final week of the regular season.

Teams have one more week to jockey for positioning before the region championship and play-in games on Nov. 4, and there's still much to be decided.

Gainesville, which has won eight in a row, has already locked up its spot in the region championship game and will host the winner of Region 8-AAA North. Stephens County has the inside track to represent the North, but the issue won't be settled until Friday, when the Indians can clinch the subregion with a win over North Hall.

The Trojans can still win the subregion as well, but need a win over Stephens County combined with a Franklin County loss to White County to do so.

In Region 8-AA, Banks County has clinched the North subregion and a berth in the state playoffs. The Leopards will face the winner of Friday's Elbert County-North Oconee match-up in the region championship.

Buford also has clinched a spot in its region title game.

Blessed Trinity can clinch its spot to face the Wolves for the 6-AA championship with a win over South Atlanta on Friday.

In all three regions, the top seed from each subregion will meet in the region championship game with the loser taking the No. 2 seed in the state playoffs.

In the play-in games, the No. 2 team in each subregion will play the No. 3 seed from the opposite side with the winners earning playoff berths.

BRANCH BACK ON TRACK: Playing against Region 8-AAAA's top defense last week, No. 3 Flowery Branch was held to a season-low 21 points in a win over previously unbeaten Heritage.

After a 49-21 over Loganville on Friday, it's safe to say the offense is clicking again.

"We didn't change anything," Falcons coach Lee Shaw said. "We just talked it being kind of a fluke last week.

"Receivers are going to drop balls once in a while. It just happened to come at a bad time last week. We got it back together. (On Friday), the offense executed and did what they're supposed to do and put points on the board."

Quarterback Kanler Coker was the catalyst, passing for 215 passing yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 110 yards and four scores. Flowery Branch finished with 493 yards of offense and punted only once.

The Falcons (8-0, 8-0 Region 8-AAAA) are in the driver's seat in pursuit of their first region title, but still have work to do. They'll host Salem (5-4, 5-4) on Friday, then travel to face defending region champ Clarke Central (7-1, 7-1) on Nov. 4.

WINNING WITH DEFENSE: Three area teams (Buford, White County and Gainesville) posted shutouts Friday, and Lakeview and Union County leaned on stout defensive efforts in their wins as well.

No. 1 Buford held third-ranked Greater Atlanta Christian to 85 total yards, including 25 rushing yards on 29 carries.

Meanwhile, White County limited Chestatee to 91 yards of offense and forced a pair of turnovers.

Speaking of turnovers, Lakeview Academy's John Cox now has four interceptions in the last two games after picking off a pair in the Lions' 14-7 win over Georgia Military College.

Lakeview, which forced six turnovers in the game, is closing strong for the second year in a row and have a chance at a second straight 4-4 record with a win over Towns County on Friday.

The Lions defense deserves its share of credit for the success; Lakeview limits opponents to 17.7 points per game, and less than two touchdowns per game excluding a 42-7 loss to Prince Avenue Christian, the No. 7 team in Class A.

LEOPARDS IN RARE TERRITORY: With its win over Fannin County on Friday, Banks County is now 7-1 for the first time since 1997, and has already clinched a home playoff game.

The Leopards play at East Hall on Friday, looking to win its ninth game for the first time since 1985.

It's already been a successful campaign for first-year coach Philip Jones. Former coach Blair Armstrong broke Banks County's 10-year playoff drought in 2008 and had another winning season last year.

The Leopards, who were the beneficiary of a forfeit by Athens Christian after a player used in the game was deemed ineligible, seem to be playing their best offensive football of the season lately, scoring 82 points in the last two weeks.



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