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High School Football: Week 6 previews

POSTED: October 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.

North Hall at White County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Cleveland

Radio: 105.1-FM

Coaches: North Hall, Bob Christmas; White County, Gregg Segraves

Records: North Hall (2-2, 1-0 Region 7A-AAA); White County (2-2)

Key players: North Hall, OL/DL Daniel Blitch (6-5, 330 Jr.), QB Blayne Gilmer (5-11, 170 Sr.), SE Graham Duncan (5-10, 170 Sr.). White County, DL/OL Tasi Suaava (6-0, 285 Sr.), OL/DL C.J. McDonald (6-2, 255 Sr.), RB Ashely Lowery (6-1, 175 So.)

Outlook: Whoever came up with the saying, “football games are won and lost in the trenches,” clearly had this game in mind. According to opposing coaches, White County possesses the strongest offensive and defensive lines in the region and those lines have the ability to control games. But whether or not they can control an entire game has yet to be proven. Against Gainesville and West Hall, the Warriors dominated the line of scrimmage in the first half, but tired in the second half, allowing the Red Elephants to come back and win, and West Hall to score 21 unanswered points. White County cannot do that tonight.

North Hall boasts a strong running game, with seniors Avery Nix and Matt Christmas as the main threats in the backfield. The Trojans hope to get a repeat performance out of those two, as last week the duo combined for 189 yards and three touchdowns against Creekview. That will put an emphasis on the offensive line and it’s ability to create lanes for the running backs. The line did that last week, but whether or not it can do that against White County will ultimately determine the outcome of this game.

Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. While the Trojans were playing Creekview last week, the Warriors were sitting at home preparing for this week’s game. Give any coach two weeks to game plan and they have the advantage. It’ll be close, but White County will squeak out a win at home.

Riverside Military at Jefferson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jefferson Memorial Stadium

Coaches: Riverside Military, Chris Lancaster; Jefferson, Bill Navas

Records: Riverside Military (4-1, 3-1 Region 8-AA); Jefferson (5-0, 4-0)

Key players: Riverside Military, LB Diego Osegueda-Weiner (6-1, 215 Sr.), LB Aaron Gambrah (6-2, 190 Jr.), RB Julian Suber (5-9, 170 Jr.). Jefferson, QB Darius Minor (6-0, 175 Jr.), LB Kyle Mosley (6-3, 220 So.), OL/DL Sasser Conner (6-0, 300 Sr.).

Outlook: There’s a pretty good chance that the Region 8-AA champions will be playing at Jefferson Memorial Stadium tonight. The question is, will that eventual champion be Riverside Military or Jefferson?

If Jefferson wins, the Dragons would have a two-game lead on the Eagles and still be one game ahead of North Oconee (4-1, 3-1). The Dragons already have head-to-head advantage against Union County (4-1, 3-1) and Fannin County (4-1, 3-1). Jefferson still has to play North Oconee.

If Riverside Military wins, the region title picture becomes wide-open. There could be as much as a four-way tie at the top of the region. Fannin County and Union County go head-to-head tonight in Blue Ridge to see who stays in that mix. North Oconee has a game it should win against Rabun County (1-4, 1-3) tonight in Watkinsville.

The biggest thing to watch tonight is the new look to Riverside Military’s offense with the move of Julian Suber from quarterback to running back. The move makes perfect sense. The Eagles moved former backup Lucas Bersin (564 passing yards, six touchdowns) into the starting quarterback spot. Suber (694 yards, nine touchdowns) will now probably get even more chances to carry the ball. Of course, don’t count out seeing Suber line up behind center from time to time too.

Jefferson is very similar in its offense with a quarterback, Darius Minor (1,140 total yards) who is able to run and throw the ball. Tab Martin (19 catches, 299 yards) leads the Dragons’ receivers.

Prediction: JEFFERSON. The Dragons are starting to set their sights on the region title with a win tonight.

Johnson at Creekview

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Grizzlies Stadium, Canton

Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; Creekview, Al Morrell

Records: Johnson (1-4, 0-1 Region 7B-AAA), Creekview (0-4, 0-1)

Key players: Johnson, QB Anthony Prophet (5-11, 180 Jr.), LB Josh Owens (5-11, 205 Sr.), LB Gilberto Espinoza (5-11, 220 Jr.); Creekview, QB Collins Wold (5-10, 170 Sr.), DE Seth Holmes (6-1, 205 Sr.), WR/DB Josh Reyes (5-10, 165 Sr.).

Outlook: This is a matchup of two hard-luck programs this season.

Johnson has been hampered by injuries. Creekview lost three straight games by three points or less to start the season.

One of these two is going to get back on track with a win tonight.

Creekview has a senior-heavy roster, even though this is the program’s first season competing in a region schedule. The Grizzlies rely on Michael Ay, Hunter Livingston and Chase Wideman to do most of the running in their wing-T offense. Creekview also has the ability to pass the ball with effectiveness on the intermediate routes, thanks to senior quarterback Collins Wold and wide receiver Josh Reyes.

Johnson has a trio of able ball carriers with Anthony Prophet (495 yards, 8 TDs), Mantevius Rucker (302 yards) and Mick Shannon (231 yards) to try to keep the Grizzlies defense on its toes. The Grizzlies have fallen victim to the big play this season, as seen with two long touchdown runs by North Hall last week.

Prediction: CREEKVIEW. The Grizzles finally get that first win that counts toward a subregion record.

Flowery Branch at West Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Spartan Field, Oakwood

Radio: 550-AM

Coaches: Flowery Branch, Lee Shaw; West Hall, Mike Newton

Records: Flowery Branch (4-1, 1-0 Region 7B-AAA); West Hall (3-2, 0-1)
Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 248 So.), WR Rodney Gibson (6-3, 180 Sr.), LB Gage Brown (5-10, 180 Sr.). Flowery Branch, DE Izaan Cross (6-4, 250 Sr.), FB/DE Daniel Drummond (6-3, 230 Sr.), QB Connor Shaw (6-1, 185 Jr.).

Outlook: After being shutout for the first time this season in a 43-0 rout by Gainesville last week, West Hall will be looking for redemption at home tonight against the Falcons.

And, more importantly, stop a two-game losing streak.

The Spartans offense was dismal at best last week against the Red Elephants. Not only was sophomore quarterback Shunquez Stephens held to 176 yards passing on 15-of-40 attempts, but an offense that came in averaging 25 points per game was held scoreless.

West Hall’s offensive line didn’t have its best game (Gainesville had four sacks and constantly pressured Stephens) and will have to step up for the Spartans to have a chance against a Flowery Branch defense that has only allowed two touchdowns in the last two games.

Flowery Branch, on the other hand, is riding a wave of momentum. After the defense came up big in its win over Chestatee, the offense found its rhythm last week in a 41-7 win over Johnson.

West Hall wide receivers Rodney Gibson (472 yards, six touchdowns) and Terrell Penland (277 yards, three touchdowns) will be looking to get back on track and that could spell trouble for a Falcons’ secondary that hasn’t been tested since the opening game of the season, a 28-25 loss to Stephens County.

Offensively for the Falcons, Rodriquez Frazier (two rushing touchdowns last week), Connor Shaw (two passing and one rushing touchdown last week) and company will be up against a defense that prior to last Friday, was giving up only 13 points per game.

Luckily for the Falcons, however, the offense had its breakthrough last week and can now concentrate on building on it, not starting it.

Prediction: FLOWERY BRANCH. Confidence breeds confidence and the Falcons have it. The offense won’t be able to put on quite the clinic it did last week, but has found its niche and will show up.

Lumpkin County at Chestatee

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: War Eagle Stadium

Radio: 1330-AM

Coaches: Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones; Chestatee Stan Luttrell

Records: Lumpkin County (2-2, 1-0 Region 7A-AAA); Chestatee (2-2, 1-0)

Key players: Lumpkin County, QB Daniel Abercrombie (5-10, 170 Sr.), RB/LB Jake McClure (5-11, 190 Jr.), RB Haden Rider (5-8, 175 Jr.). Chestatee, LB Chase Vasser (6-4, 211 Sr.), RB Ben Souther (6-1, 200 Jr.), DL Thomas Norman (6-5, 205 Sr.).

Outlook: Three teams are tied for the top spot in Subregion 7A-AAA, and two of them matchup tonight at War Eagle Stadium.

Chestatee is coming off a huge 45-14 win at Pickens, while the Indians are looking to get back on track after a dismal performance in a 14-6 win over perennial bottom-dweller Gilmer.

Stopping Chestatee junior running back Ben Souther (594 yards rushing and seven touchdowns) will be the first order of business for an Indians’ defense giving up 20 points per game.

The second order of business? Making sure they block Chestatee linebacker Chase Vasser (59 tackles).

On the flip side, the War Eagles must contain Lumpkin County’s two-headed rushing attack of Haden Rider (238 yards and two touchdowns) and Jake McClure (216 yards and one touchdown).

The good news for Lumpkin County is that Chestatee is giving up just as many points as it scores so, essentially, one defensive stop for the Indians could amount to a win.

Prediction: CHESTATEE. The War Eagles will capitalize on their chances of not only making the playoffs, but getting ahead in the subregion.

Avondale at Buford

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Coaches: Avondale, Michael Carson; Buford, Jess Simpson

Records: Avondale (0-4, 0-1 Region 6-AA); Buford (4-0, 2-0)

Key players: Avondale, TE Courtney Brantley (6-1, 185 Sr.) WR Robert Lewis (5-7, 143 Jr.), LB Tim Holcombe (6-0, 190 Sr.). Buford, RB Storm Johnson (6-1, 202 Jr.), RB Cody Getz (5-7, 157 Sr.), DT Dallas Lee (6-4, 295, Sr.).

Outlook: Class AA’s top-ranked and unbeaten Wolves are still flawless in region play, having shut out both 6-AA opponents (Decatur and Lovett) by a total of 72-0.

A third straight shutout for the Wolves is a reasonable expectation, as Avondale is going in the opposite direction fast.
The winless Blue Devils have allowed 127 points in their last two games while scoring only 13.

If Avondale wants any chance to keep the score from getting out of hand, they will have to stop the running back tandem of Cody Getz and Storm Johnson, who have combined for 833 rushing yards this season.

The Blue Devils will have to pressure Buford’s passing game to keep things from getting ugly. Wolves quarterback Michael May has completed 78 percent of his passes this season for 432 yards.

Prediction: BUFORD. The Wolves come out in their usual fashion and the varsity won’t have to play past halftime.

Jackson County at Hart County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Herndon Stadium, Hartwell

Coaches: Jackson County, Billy Kirk; Hart County, Joby Scroggs

Records: Jackson County (1-2-1, 0-1 Region 8-AAA); Hart County (1-3, 0-1)

Key players: Jackson County, WR Marquice Gillespie (5-9, 145 Jr.) RB Rodderick Burks (5-8, 160 Jr.), LB Matt Robinson (6-0, 210 Sr.). Hart County, RB/DB John Blackwell (5-6, 150 Sr.), TE/DL Jeffrey Rucker (6-3, 260 Sr.), RB/LB Keitius Harper (5-10, 195 Jr.).

Outlook: The Panthers travel to Hartwell tonight where they’ll meet a bunch of Bulldogs in a bad mood.

Hart County lost its sixth consecutive contest to rival Stephens County last week in heartbreaking fashion, surrendering the game-winning score with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

It was the third straight loss for the Bulldogs, who opened the season with a 17-14 win over Greater Atlanta Christian.

They’ll be looking to get back on track in tonight’s homecoming matchup against the Panthers.

Prediction: HART COUNTY. Don’t let the Bulldogs’ record fool you. They’ve played a tough schedule and will be eager to prove they still belong near the top of Region 8-AAA.

Banks County at East Jackson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Commerce

Coaches: Banks County, Blair Armstrong; East Jackson, Frank Caputo

Records: Banks County (2-3, 2-2 Region 8-AA); East Jackson (1-4, 1-3)

Key players: Banks County, RB Justin Beasley (5-9, 175 Sr.) QB Chris Porter (5-10, 175 Sr.), DE Lyn Hester (6-3, 250 Sr.). East Jackson, QB Evan Williamson (5-11, 175 Jr.), RB/LB Robbie King (6-0, 165 Sr.), RB/DB Zach Gilbert (6-0, 202 Sr.).

Outlook: With the top of the the region beginning to separate itself from the pack, and a game with unbeaten Jefferson looming next Friday, tonight’s game is a crucial one for Banks County.

The Leopards’ powerful wing-T offense, led by Northeast Georgia’s leading rusher Justin Beasley, was stuffed last week in a 12-7 loss to North Oconee. The Titans were the first team this year to keep Beasley (875 yards, 10 touchdowns this season) under 100 yards, and the first team to limit the Leopards to fewer than four touchdowns in a region game.
Banks County will be looking to regain some steam against East Jackson, which has surrendered 79 points in the last two weeks to two of the region’s most prolific offenses (Union County and Riverside).

Outside of their 38-7 win over Oglethorpe County, the Eagles have had trouble generating offense against 8-AA opponents, scoring just 26 points in its other three region games.

Prediction: BANKS COUNTY. The Leopards’ defense has shown improvement in the last two weeks, and it’s hard to imagine their running game being held down two weeks in a row.

Dawson County at Oglethorpe County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Patriot Stadium, Lexington

Coaches: Dawson County, Jeff Lee; Oglethorpe County, Buddy Cain

Records: Dawson County (1-4, 0-4 Region 8-AA); Oglethorpe County (1-4, 0-4)

Key players: Dawson County, QB Chase Gilreath (6-1, 190 Jr.) WR/DB Cody Tobias (6-0, 185 Sr.), RB Eian Perry (5-7, 190 So.). Oglethorpe County, QB/DB A.J. Perlotte (5-10, 165 Jr.), OL/DL Orlando Cunningham (6-2, 240 Jr.), RB/DB D.J. Johnson (5-11, 170, Jr.).

Outlook: At the midpoint of the season, playoff aspirations are quickly dissipating for both of these teams.

Both picked up thrilling Week 1 wins, but since then have suffered four humbling defeats.

For Dawson County, last week’s 26-18 loss against previously winless Rabun County may have stung the most. The Tigers fell behind 19-0 before pulling it together in the second half, only to fall a touchdown short. It was their second consecutive loss by less than 10 points.

Prediction: DAWSON COUNTY. Tonight’s game will be a telling one about the character of the Tigers. It won’t be easy to rebound from last week’s disappointment playing two hours from home, but they’ve got the talent to do it.

Commerce at Athens Academy

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Slaughter Field, Athens

Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Athens Academy, Michael Gunn

Records: Commerce (1-3); Athens Academy (4-0, 1-0 Region 8-A)

Key players: Commerce, RB Jon Cash (5-9, 160 Jr.), RB Javon Womack (5-11, 175 Sr.), LB Josh Streetman (5-10, 175 Sr.). Athens Academy, RB James Colquitt (5-8, 165 Sr.), QB Will Daniel (5-10, 175 Jr.), WR/DB McKay Matthews (5-9, 175 Sr.).

Outlook: Commerce is in the midst of the toughest part of its schedule. After a 35-6 loss to Class A’s second-ranked Lincoln County last Friday, it visits fourth-ranked Athens Academy, which is fresh off of a 42-13 win against Prince Avenue Christian.

Through four games, the unbeaten Spartans have remained consistent on offense and are averaging 40.5 points per game. Their defense has also stayed potent and has yet to allow more than two touchdowns this season.

Commerce only has one win this season, but have yet to play a region game. A win against Athens Academy would make the Tigers a favorite for the Region 8-A title.

Prediction: ATHENS ACADEMY. The Spartans have flourished on both sides of the ball this season, and will be able to shut down Commerce’s running game.

Habersham Central at Madison County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Red Raider Stadium, Danielsville

Radio: 99.3 FM

Coaches: Habersham Central, Gene Cathcart; Madison County, Randell Owens

Records: Habersham Central (2-3, 2-3 Region 8-AAAA), Madison County (2-3, 2-3)

Key players: Habersham Central, QB Austin Brown (6-0, 185 So.), WR Zach Mayfield (5-9, 165 Sr.), RB David Griffin (5-10, 175 So.). Madison County, RB/DB Aldreakis Allen (6-0, 208 Sr.), LB Cody Esco (6-0, 215 Sr.), DB Alex Young (5-8, 160 Sr.).

Outlook: The two “Raiders” of 8-AAAA enter this game with identical records against region opponents, but their results last week are different, and that may effect their momentum tonight.

Habersham Central put together its finest showing last week, defeating Winder-Barrow 46-6, while Madison County lost its second straight region game in a 21-14 loss to Salem.

The Raiders’ win last week was different than their usual games.

Instead of using their traditional passing game, Habersham Central picked up 228 yards on the ground, led by Kevin Ellison’s 92 yards and two touchdowns.

They also allowed only 21 rushing yards, which could mean trouble for Madison County senior running back Aldreakis Allen.

Prediction: HABERSHAM CENTRAL. The Raiders proved last week that they can stop the run, which could neutralize Allen and Madison County’s running game.

Last week’s record: 13-1
Season record: 45-10-1



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