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HS football previews: Week 2

POSTED: August 29, 2013 11:02 p.m.

Chattooga at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: East Hall Stadium, Gainesville

Last time: East Hall won 29-21 last season

Coaches: Chattooga, Clay Livingston; East Hall, Bryan Gray

Records: Chattooga (0-0), East Hall (0-1, 0-1 Region 7-AAA)

Key players: Chattooga, LB/RB Shawn Lawrence (5-11, 180 Sr.), OL/DL Skyler Esmann (6-0, 175 Sr.), QB/DB Nigel Dickerson (5-11, 160 Sr.). East Hall, QB Devin Watson (5-11, 180 Jr.), WR/DB Milton Whelchel (5-9, 170 Sr.), LB Corey Reece (5-10, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: After a hard-fought performance against Dawson County in Week 1, the Vikings have revealed a much-improved offense and are capable of pushing for a playoff spot in Region 7-AAA in 2013. Led by dual-threat quarterback Watson, who threw for 235 yards and three TDs last week, East Hall has a passing game that is comprised of many wide receivers that can catch passes.

East Hall receives a bye in Week 3 before another non-region game against East Jackson on Sept. 13 in Commerce.

The Indians are led by four-year starter Shawn Lawrence, who recorded 76 tackles from his linebacker spot last season.

Chattooga’s senior quarterback Nigel Dickerson finished 2012 with 1,000 yards of total offense.


Johnson at Oglethorpe County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Patriot Stadium, Lexington

Last time: Johnson won 36-21 in 2012.

Coaches: Johnson, Jason Roquemore; Oglethorpe County, Larry Milligan

Records: Johnson (0-1), Oglethorpe County (0-0)

Key players: Johnson, RB/S Luis Hernandez (6-1, 185 Sr.), OL/DL Devan McClay (6-3, 245 Sr.), LB Caleb Herrin (6-1, 185 Sr.). Oglethorpe County, RB/KR Anthony Thornton (5-7, 160 Jr.), WR/DB Trey Martin (5-11, 165 Jr.), OL/DL Zammie Mendez (6-1, 278 Sr.)

Outlook: Johnson is back on the road this week, looking to bounce back from its 35-0 loss to West Hall in last Friday’s season opener.

The Knights were held to just 108 yards of offense and gave up two turnovers in the loss. They didn’t enter West Hall territory until the fourth quarter, revealing some issues penetrating the sizable West Hall defense.

Johnson has Friday to regain its footing on offense before it’s home opener against a tough North Hall team next week, and Oglethorpe County is certainly a winnable game for the Knights. They defeated the Patriots 36-21 last season when senior Cedric Harris rushed for 257 yards and five touchdowns.

Harris isn’t around to pile up that kind of yardage anymore, but Johnson has the opportunity to post improved numbers from last week against an Oglethorpe County team that has struggled just to post a winning record in recent years.


Lakeview Academy at Fellowship Christian

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Paladin Field, Roswell

Last time: Lakeview Academy won 32-12 in 2012.

Coaches: Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn; Fellowship Christian, Hunter Chadwick

Records: Lakeview Academy (0-0), Fellowship Christian (0-0)

Key players: Lakeview Academy, QB/S Jackson Strickland (5-10, 160 Sr.), OL/DL J.T. McClung (6-0, 195 Sr.), RB/LB Drake Hollander (5-10, 170 Sr.). Fellowship Christian, QB Hunter Bryant (6-4, 215 Sr.), OL/DL Clay Hostetter (6-1, 175 Sr.), OL/DL Reed Krober (6-4, 240 So.)

Outlook: Lakeview Academy will debut its new-look lineup when it heads to Roswell for its season opener against fellow Class A team Fellowship Christian.

The Lions are without 17 of last year’s seniors, the largest departure the team has experienced in their six-year history. Tonight’s game serves as the first hint to who will replace the near-2,000 rushing yards Lakeview Academy lost between three senior running backs in 2012.

A win for the Lions will propel them into the win column just in time for next week’s home opener and rivalry game with Hebron Christian Academy.

And with tough opponents awaiting Lakeview Academy in the following weeks, a win could do wonders for the Lions the rest of the way.

Fellowship is coming off a 2-8 season, but returns several starters, including a large offensive line and starting quarterback Hunter Bryant.


Elbert County at Buford

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Last time: Buford won 14-3 in 2012

Coaches: Elbert County, Sid Fritts; Buford, Jess Simpson

Records: Elbert County (0-0), Buford (0-0)

Key players: Elbert County, RB/FS Marquice Dye (5-11, 170 Sr.), QB Mecole Hardman (5-11, 165 So.), RB/LB Dee Newman (5-8, 160 Sr.). Buford, LB/RB Korie Rogers (6-2, 215 Sr.), DB/RB Thomas Wilson (5-11, 185 Sr.), DB/RB Terrance Wilson (5-10, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: Buford is coming off another state championship season in 2012 (the school’s eighth in 11 seasons), while Elbert County enters the season following a 5-5 record in 2012.

Last year, Elbert County gave the Wolves everything they could handle in the 2012 season opener at The Granite Bowl in Elberton. This year, the Wolves are back with a bevy of Division-I players and eager to add another football state championship.

Tonight’s game is the season opener for both teams and a win for Elbert County could give the Blue Devils some momentum heading into next week’s game against Cedar Shoals in Athens. For the Wolves, they are looking for as much momentum as possible heading into next week’s televised meeting against reigning Class AAAAA state champion Gainesville at City Park Stadium.

Buford, a primarily run-based team under coach Jess Simpson, will also look to mix in its passing game this season. The Wolves return two senior quarterbacks, Montgomery Van Gorder and Taylor Mitchell, both of whom have Division-I offers.


Lumpkin County at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Last time: Dawson County won 35-0 in 2012.

Coaches: Lumpkin County, Brad Waggoner; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Records: Lumpkin County (0-0); Dawson County (1-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAA)

Key players: Lumpkin County, OL Caleb Stepp (6-1, 280 Sr.), QB/P Daniel McCrary (6-1, 175 Sr.), RB/S Gunner Wood (5-10, 170 Jr.). Dawson County, DB/WR Jackson Putnam (6-1, 180 Sr.), OL Eli Brown (6-1, 265 Sr.), WR Chris Sayler (5-9, 171 Sr.).

Outlook: A big-time rivalry game that could feature a near sold out crowd, tonight’s game will surely be one of the biggest games of the season for both teams.

Tonight is the season opener for Lumpkin County, which finished with a 2-8 record last year and is entering its first season with coach Brad Waggoner. The Indians have a lot of young talent, but a good mixture of talented seniors, including quarterback Daniel McCrary and running back/defensive back Gunner Wood.

Dawson County enters tonight’s game with a 1-0 record after holding off East Hall in last week’s season opener, which also served as the region opener for both teams. The Tigers weren’t able to muster much offensive production on the ground, and will surely look to get the running attack going tonight against the Indians.

A rivalry game, Dawson County has won four of the last five meetings, including last season when the Tigers won 35-0. Lumpkin County holds the all-time advantage in the series, 18-15-2.


Habersham Central at White County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: White County Stadium, Cleveland

Last time: White County won 31-0 in 2012

Coaches: Habersham Central, Michael Pollock; White County, Bill Ballard

Records: Habersham Central (0-0); White County (0-0)

Key players: Habersham Central, RB Sydnee Mulligan (5-9, 192 Sr.), QB/WR Logan Gosnell (5-11, 200 Sr.), RB/DB Brandon Moore (5-11, 160 Sr.). White County, LB/RB Dalton Whitfield (6-3, 230 Sr.), S/WR Will Flowers (5-11, 180 Sr.), DB/WR Coley Loudermilk (5-11, 180 Sr.).

Outlook: White County is coming off a playoff appearance in 2012, the school’s second in the past three seasons, while Habersham Central is coming off the school’s worst season since 1970. The Raiders finished last year with a 1-9 record, with its only win coming against Meadowcreek, a program that has four straight winless seasons.

A win for tonight for White County will set the stage for a powerful run into a very competitive Region 7-AAA, which includes the likes of reigning state champion Buford and state semifinalist North Hall. A win for Habersham Central, which enters its first season under coach Michael Pollock, will go a long way before the Raiders begin

Region 7-AAAAAA play Sept. 13 at Collins Hill, a playoff team from a season ago.

White County will look to set the tempo with its option attack, while Habersham Central will unveil its new pro-style offense under Pollock.


Jackson County at Winder-Barrow

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: W. Clair Harris Stadium, Winder

Last time: Jackson County won 21-10 last season

Coaches: Jackson County, Benji Harrison; Winder-Barrow, David Wagner

Records: Jackson County (0-0), Winder-Barrow (0-0)

Key players: Jackson County, WR Xavier Harper (6-0, 185 Sr.), WR Ben Brissey (6-2, 195 Sr.), LB Evan Breakspear (6-0, 210 Sr.). Winder-Barrow, QB Hunter Cooper (Sr.), RB/DB Chandon Sullivan (6-0, 180 Sr.), LB Solomon Sims (6-0, 220 Sr.).

Outlook: The Panthers are looking to build off their playoff-qualifying season in 2012, while the Bulldoggs are just scratching to find some wins. Jackson County won six times last season and played in the postseason for the first time since 1992, while Winder-Barrow only won against Cedar Shoals.

Jackson County is led by an exciting group of receivers, including Times Elite 11 selection Xavier Harper, Ben Brissey and promising junior Layson Giles. Making his first start at quarterback for Jackson County is junior Jacob Lewis, who was used as a wide receiver in 2012. 

Evan Breakspear is the Panthers leading returner on defense after recording 126 stops in 2012.

Winder-Barrow’s win last season snapped a 31-game losing streak dating back to 2009.


Commerce at Jefferson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jefferson Memorial Stadium

Last time: Commerce won 22-7 last season

Coaches: Commerce, Michael Brown; Jefferson, Ben Hall

Records: Commerce (0-0), Jefferson (0-0)

Key players: Commerce, QB Drew Whitfield (5-9, 175 Sr.), FB/LB Chance McClure (6-1, 215 Sr.), WR/DB Jamir Walton (5-10, 175 Sr.). Jefferson, DB Hanon Price (5-11, 180 Sr.), DL Tyler Bowen (5-10, 220 Sr.), OL Jordan Tyler (6-2, 230 Sr.).

Outlook: Few rivalries in Northeast Georgia match the intensity of these cross-county programs, even though they no longer play in the same classification.

And the 2012 meeting proved that the outcome of this season opener no longer has great ramifications for the course of the season. Jefferson lost 22-7 last season, but went on to finish 14-1 and win its first state championship in school history. Meanwhile, the Tigers struggled after Drew Whitfield went down with illness midway through the regular season and were eventually put out in the first round of the public school bracket in the Class A state playoffs.

Both Jefferson and Commerce return about 12 starters each from 2012.

These two schools have met almost every season since Commerce won a pair of meetings between the two schools in 1947, and it holds a 42-20-5 advantage in overall meetings.


Banks County at East Jackson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: East Jackson Stadium, Commerce

Last time: Banks County won 46-30 in 2012

Coaches: Banks County, Biff Parson; East Jackson, Gary Hughes

Records: Banks County (0-0), White County (0-0)

Key players: Banks County, RB/DB Wes Faulkner (5-9, 165 Sr.), WR/DB Malcolm Mitchell (5-10, 155 Jr.), FB/LB Matt Dilbeck (6-1, 210 Jr.). East Jackson, QB Cody Hardwick (Sr.), RB Deangeleo Moore (Jr.), LB Austin Beauchamp (Sr.)

Outlook: After having only one winning season in school history, East Jackson found hope with the hiring of coach Robert Andrews, formerly the defensive coordinator for powerhouse Grayson. Andrews, however, soon stepped down in May, and Gary Hughes, a former Grayson assistant coach, took over the Eagles.

For Banks County, the Leopards look for success under first-year head coach Biff Parson. Both teams claim that a winning attitude is the primary goal for the season, but Banks County has more veteran talent with senior Wes Faulkner on both sides of the ball. Returning starters Mitchell and Dilbeck add leadership to a team that looks to open the season with a win like last season.

The Leopards have talent, and if Parson can harness it, Banks County can thrive in the new system and develop the ideal attitude as early as Week 1.


Towns County at Union County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Last time: Union County won 17-14 in 2012

Coaches: Towns County, Blair Harrison; Union County, Brian Allison

Records: Towns County (0-1), Union County (0-0)

Key players: Towns County, QB Jackson Noblet (5-10, 205 Sr.), WR/DB Cruz Shook (5-7, 170 Jr.), OL/DL Jaryd Gurley (6-2, 203, Sr.). Union County, OL/DL Luther Jones (6-0, 290 Sr.), LB/RB Chase Barnett (5-11, 190 Jr.), WR/DB Robert Prunier (5-9, 175 Jr.).

Outlook: Union County only beat Towns County by three points in last season’s opening game, but the Panthers are armed with depth this season that they have not had in the past.

Jones will lead the defense, which still has some new faces. The new depth will allow a different set of players to start on the offensive side of the ball with Barnett and Prunier, something that hasn’t been a possibility in the past.

Union County has two quarterbacks with different strengths, making them more versatile from week to week. However, Towns County’s Noblet has experience and athleticism that help him respond well to new situations.

The Indians also have new systems in place thanks to Harrison, which should help the smaller team. Towns County has many veteran presences on the team with Shook, Noblet and Gurley, while Union County will look to many younger players to fill key positions.

The Panthers are 26-1 all-time against Towns County dating back to 1976. The Indians’ one win was in 1993.


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