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High School Football: Week 2 previews

POSTED: September 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Lumpkin County at Flowery Branch

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Falcon Field, Flowery Branch

Coaches: Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones; Flowery Branch, Lee Shaw

Records: Lumpkin County (0-1); Flowery Branch (0-1)

Key players: Lumpkin County, QB Daniel Abercrombie (5-10, 170 Sr.) FB Haden Rider (5-8, 175 Jr.), OT Hayden Grizzle (6-3, 235 Sr.). Flowery Branch, DE Izaan Cross (6-3, 250 Sr.), QB Connor Shaw (6-1, 185 Jr.), RB Darius Kimbrough (5-7, 151 Jr.).

Outlook: Both teams are looking for their first win of the season after season-opening heartbreakers last Friday.

While the Falcons saw a failed onside kick recover lead to a 28-25 loss against Stephens County last week, the Indians fell apart after a 16-0 rally in their 26-23 double overtime loss against Dawson County.

But this week, one of these teams has to leave the weekend with a win.

The Falcons earned the majority of their yards through the air last Friday, but still managed to carry the ball for 85 yards. Quarterback Connor Shaw had 183 passing yards and also led Flowery Branch with 43 rushing yards.

Shaw’s counterpart on the Indians is senior quarterback Daniel Abercrombie, who rushed for 103 yards last week.

While both teams’ quarterbacks boast impressive numbers from Week 1, the result of this game boils down to whether the Indians can stop a star-studded Flowery Branch defense that consists of defensive ends Izaan Cross and Daniel Drummond along with safety Greg Palmer.

Prediction: FLOWERY BRANCH. The Falcons have too much overall talent and depth for Lumpkin County to stay afloat in this region-opening game. With the amount of size and speed Flowery Branch will unleash on defense, the Indians won’t have much room to run before getting hit.

White County at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: East Hall Stadium

Coaches: White County, Gregg Segraves; East Hall, Bryan Gray

Records: White County (0-1); East Hall (0-1)

Key players: White County, DL/OL Tasi Suaava (6-0, 285 Sr.), QB Chantz Segraves (5-10, 180 Sr.), OL/DL C.J. McDonald (6-2, 255 Sr.). East Hall, RB/CB Marcellous Moon (5-8, 165 Sr.), WR Kiante Young (6-1, 190 Sr.), RB/LB Xavier Robinson (5-10, 223 Sr.)

Outlook: After opening the season a week earlier than the majority of the schools in Georgia, East Hall has had two weeks to prepare for its home-opener against White County. A part of that preparation came last week, when Gray traveled to Cleveland to get a first-hand look at his counterparts tonight.

That includes limiting the effectiveness of White County’s massive offensive and defensive lines, which are anchored by seniors Suaava and McDonald. If White County can control the line, then the Warriors should be able to move the ball at ease against a developing East Hall defense. But despite the fact that the Vikings are, according to their coach, “still learning to compete,” White County’s coach knows that East Hall is still a formidable opponent.

“They’re one of the most improved teams I’ve seen,” Seagraves said. “They have a lot more speed than we do. It’s going to be a physical game.”

A physical game benefits the Warriors, but if White County hopes to escape with a win, it will have to put more than three points on the scoreboard.

The Vikings will do their best to make sure that White County doesn’t get the ball to two of their best playmakers in running back Ashely Lowery and wide receiver Cam Seagraves, but according to Gray, winning this game comes down to basics.

Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. East Hall has hopes of staying competitive this year, while White County has hopes of returning to the Class AAA playoffs. The experience of the Warriors will be too much for the young Vikings tonight.

Gainesville at Franklin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Ed Bryant Stadium, Carnesville

Coaches: Gainesville, Bruce Miller; Franklin County, Tommy Welch

Records: Gainesville, 1-0. Franklin County, 1-0.

Key players: Gainesville, QB Blake Sims (6-0, 175 Jr.), WR T.J. Jones (6-0, 175 Jr.), LB Phillip Gaines (5-11, 205 Sr.). Franklin County, RB Jay Moon (5-10, 165 Sr.), LB Ryan King (Sr.).

Outlook: It’s been eight years since these two teams have squared off, and for Gainesville and its fans, it was a much needed break from the beatings. From 1991 to the last meeting in 1998, Franklin County had a perfect 6-0 record against the Red Elephants. Overall, the two schools have met 15 times, with Gainesville holding an 8-7 series lead.

After their 35-0 win against Chestatee in Week 1, it’s hard to say that the Red Elephants are headed in anything but the right direction. Sims completed nearly 90 percent of his passes for almost 300 yards in his Red Elephants debut. Jones also shined in his first game, pulling down eight receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown. And as solid as Gainesville was offensively, it was even more dominant on defense, limiting Chestatee’s run-first attack to 212 yards.

Prediction: GAINESVILLE. In Week 1, Gainesville showed that not only does it have a potent offense, but it has a strong defense that can shut down run-orientated teams. This week, the Red Elephants will prove that last week was not a fluke.

Riverside Military at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Homer

Coaches: Riverside Military, Chris Lancaster; Banks County, Blair Armstrong

Records: Riverside (1-0); Banks County, (0-1)

Key players: Riverside Military, QB Julian Suber (5-9, 170 Sr.), OL/DL Colton Keig (6-4, 250 Sr.), LB Diego Osegueda-Weiner (6-1, 215 Sr.); Banks County, RB Justin Beasley (5-9, 175 Sr.), RB Demetric Dempson (5-11, 195 Sr.), DE Lyn Hester (6-3, 250 Sr.).

Outlook: The Eagles kick off their Region 8-AA schedule against the Leopards in Homer. RMA is coming off a close win against Elbert County, despite being hampered by turnovers. Eagles coach Chris Lancaster calls the region stretch of the schedule a “nine game season.”

He is intent on preparing RMA for a trip to the state playoffs and is also aiming at a region title in the Eagles’ first season playing back in the GHSA.

Banks County is coming off a tough 39-13 loss to Washington-Wilkes in Week 1 of the regular season.
Riverside plays host to Rabun County next week.

Prediction: RIVERSIDE MILITARY. The Eagles will be feeling good after winning their first game in Region 8-AA.

North Forsyth at Johnson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, Oakwood

Radio: 102.9 FM

Coaches: North Forsyth, Jared Zito; Johnson, Paul Friel

Records: North Forsyth (0-1); Johnson (0-1)

Key players: North Forsyth, QB Eli Chester (6-2, 205 Sr.), RB Tyler Slaton (5-9, 180 So.), DB Stephen Hester (6-0, 207 Jr.) . Johnson, RB Mantevius Rucker (6-1, 200 So.), QB Anthony Prophet (5-10, 180 Jr.), LB Gilberto Espinoza (5-11, 220 Jr.).

Outlook: Despite holding the edge in rushing yards last week against North Hall, the Knights left The Brickyard on the wrong end of a 28-6 outcome.

Led by Prophet (101 yards on nine carries) and Rucker (99 yards on 16 carries), Johnson rolled up 218 rushing yards on the defending Region 7-AAA champs, but was beset by eight penalties and four turnovers.

Friel said after the game that he’s sick of thinking about what might have been.

Prediction: JOHNSON. The Knights have explosive offensive talent in Rucker and Prophet, and a big offensive line to run behind. As long as they cut down on the mistakes, that ought to be enough in this one.

Pickens at West Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Spartan Field, Oakwood

Coaches: Pickens, Steve Sewell; West Hall, Mike Newton

Records: Pickens (0-0); West Hall (1-0)

Key players: Pickens, QB/DB Alex Willingham (5-11, 180 Sr.), RB/LB Brett Larsen (5-9, 200 Sr.), Raymond Bennett (6-1, 190 Sr.). West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 248 So.), RB Marquise Stephens (6-2, 210 Sr.), WR Rodney Gibson (6-3, 180, Sr.).

Outlook: When you haven’t won a season opener in four years, any way you get to 1-0 will work.

But when you win in the fashion West Hall won last week, it gets attention.

Mammoth sophomore quarterback Shunquez Stephens started last season as a freshman and passed for more than 1,000 yards. Still, it’s safe to call his 356-yard, four-touchdown performance in last week’s 28-27 win over East Jackson his coming out party.

Especially since he led the Spartans on a game-winning 65-yard touchdown drive, punctuated by a 31-yard scoring pass to Gibson.

It was Gibson’s 10th catch and third touchdown  of the game. He finished with 200 yards receiving.
Marquise Stephens, Shunquez’s older brother and the Spartans leading rusher the last two seasons, finished with 88 yards of total offense, and the West Hall defense was led by senior safety Caleb Stewart’s 14 tackles.

Pickens has the scouting advantage.

The Dragons’ were off last week and the coaching staff took advantage by checking out the Spartans in person.

Prediction: WEST HALL. The Spartans have the edge in skill positions and momentum.

Heritage at Habersham Central

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Raider Stadium, Mt. Airy

Radio: WCON 99.3 FM

Coaches: Heritage, Chad Frazier; Habersham Central, Gene Cathcart

Records: Heritage (1-0); Habersham Central (0-1)

Key players: Habersham Central, QB Austin Brown (6-0, 185 So.), OT Charlie Dwozan (5-11, 240 Sr.), WR Dee Ellison (5-11, 175 Jr.) . Heritage, DT Melvin Jones (6-0, 320 Sr.), DE Justin Jones (6-8, 250 Sr.), LB Corey Alford (6-0, 220, Sr.).

Outlook: The Raiders opened their season with a 23-14 loss against a large Cedar Shoals team, and their opponents won’t be getting any smaller.

Prediction: HERITAGE. The Raiders struggled to find their footing against a bigger opponent last week, and Heritage is even bigger.

Jefferson at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Dawsonville

Coaches: Jefferson, Bill Navas; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Records: Jefferson (1-0); Dawson County (1-0)

Key players: Jefferson, QB Darius Minor (6-0, 170 Sr.), RB Virgil Appleby (5-9, 180 Sr.), OL/DL Sasser Conner (6-0, 300 Sr.). Dawson County, QB Chase Gilreath (6-1, 190 Jr.), RB Eian Airy (5-7, 190 So.), WR/DB Cody Tobias (6-0, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: Jefferson enters tonight fresh off a win over its biggest rival. Dawson County comes in after a thrilling 26-23 win over its neighbor Lumpkin County.

Quite a way to start the season, but there’s no time to kick back and enjoy it. Region 8-AA play begins tonight.

Prediction: JEFFERSON. Both teams’ emotional wins in Week 1 negate any would-be let-down advantage, but the emergence of Minor gives the Dragons the edge.

Jackson County at Sonoraville

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Sonoraville

Coaches: Jackson County, Billy Kirk; Sonoraville, Chuck King

Records: Jackson County (1-0); Sonoraville (1-0)

Key players: Jackson County, RB/LB Roderick Burks (5-8, 160 Jr.), RB/LB Rob Williams (5-10, 175 Jr.), WR/CB Charlie Waycaster (5-10, 160 Jr.). Sonoraville, QB Y.J. Glover (6-0, 175 Sr.), RB/FS Shaqueal McAfee (5-9, 155 Jr.), RB/DB Robbie McAfee (5-8, 160, Sr.).

Outlook: The Panthers head for northwest Georgia today, hoping to return with their first winning streak in four years.

Prediction: JACKSON COUNTY. It’s hard to know what to make of Sonoraville’s dominant win over a brand new team.

Commerce at Morgan County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Madison

Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Morgan County, Bill Malone

Records: Commerce (0-1); Morgan County (0-1)

Key players: Commerce, LB Josh Streetman (6-0, 195 Sr.), RB Jon Cash (5-9, 160 Jr.), OG Cameron Billings (5-11, 230 Sr.). Morgan County, RB Ryan Glosson (5-8, 175. Sr.), QB Terence Harper (5-9, 165 Jr.), RB Domonique Hall (5-8, 180 Sr.).

Outlook: The Tigers look to rebound from a 35-14 loss to cross-county rival Jefferson last Friday, while Morgan County is also still aiming for their first win after falling 20-14 to Mary Persons last week.

Commerce picked up all of its yards without throwing a single pass, and finished with 233 total yards. Junior Jon Cash ran for 121 of those yards and quarterback Phillip Edwards earned 74 of his own.

Prediction: MORGAN COUNTY. Commerce’s run-only offense can wear out defenders, but they have to finish their drives or they’ll struggle to score. Morgan County will likely spend the majority of their time on the ground, but can also throw the football, something the Tigers won’t do.

Last week’s record was 7-2.



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