Friday night results:
Gainesville 49, Apalachee 6
West Hall 48, Banks County 13
East Hall 54, Johnson 14
Chestatee 33, Eastside 23
Flowery Branch 48, Loganville 14
Pinecrest Academy 43, Lakeview Academy 3
Washington-Wilkes 50, Riverside Military 14
Everyone knows about Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Clemson commitment is the state’s all-time leading passer, becoming the first quarterback in state-history to surpass the 10,000-yard mark in a win over Winder-Barrow last week.
But, few people have yet to realize another Watson is having a big year for another school.
Enter Devin Watson, Deshaun’s younger cousin and starting quarterback at East Hall.
Through four games this season, Devin has guided the Vikings to a 3-1 record, with the only blemish coming on opening night in the form of a 29-27 loss to Dawson County.
Since the loss, East Hall is averaging 56.3 points per game, with Watson at the helm of the offense.
While Deshaun Watson has posted impressive numbers through the Red Elephants’ (3-1) first four games, throwing for 1,288 yards with 12 touchdowns and rushing for 197 yards and three more scores, it is Devin who has scored more touchdowns and rushed for more yards.
Devin has thrown for 1,215 yards with 14 touchdowns, while rushing for 374 yards with six scores. On Friday night, in a 54-14 win over Johnson, Devin had a combined six touchdowns, three on the ground and three in the air.
Although the road will certainly get tougher for East Hall, which still has games remaining at state-ranked North Hall (Oct. 4) and top-ranked Buford (Nov. 1), Watson has been an enjoyable sight for Viking fans and coach Bryan Gray, who called his signal caller “a player” following Friday’s win.
Despite an early loss to Buford, Deshaun Watson and Gainesville are still one of the favorites to compete for the Class AAAAA state championship. The Red Elephants visit Heritage (3-1) on Friday night in Conyers.
PANTHERS GET FIRST WIN: After starting the season with three straight losses, Jackson County recorded its first win on Friday night. The Panthers routed rival East Jackson 38-6.
Junior quarterback Jacob Lewis, a Kennesaw State commitment, threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead the Panthers. Lewis was able to connect with three different receivers for the scoring strikes, including senior Xavier Harper, who caught four TDs a week ago in a loss to Athens Christian.
Jackson County (1-3, 1-0 Region 8-AAA) visits North Oconee (2-1) on Friday night in Bogart.
TIGHT RACE IN REGION 7-AAA: The region schedule has just started, but it is clear there will be another tight race for the four playoff spots in Region 7. Buford and North Hall are expected to take the top two spots in the region — both were semifinalists last season — leaving the final two spots to be battled for by several teams. Dawson County, White County, West Hall and East Hall are all expected to compete for playoff berths.
West Hall started its region schedule with a 48-13 win over Banks County and has proven to be a much-improved team from last season, already tying its win total from 2012. Dawson County, idle on Friday night, beat East Hall 29-27 in the region opener on Aug. 23 and has the upper-hand in the early playoff race.
White County, which lost to Blessed Trinity 30-0 in non-region action on Friday night, has yet to play a region contest and opens play on Friday against East Hall.
The Vikings (0-1 in region play) are in an unofficial must-win scenario to keep their playoff hopes alive.
TEAMS STILL EYEING FIRST WIN: Nearly halfway through the high school regular season, four local teams remain winless. Banks County, Habersham Central and Lumpkin County each fell to 0-4, while Towns County fell to 0-5, with losses on Friday night.
Lakeview Academy, which lost 17 seniors from last year’s team, dropped to 0-3 with a 43-3 loss to Pinecrest Academy on Friday night.
Banks County lost to West Hall 48-13 in the Region 7-AAA opener Friday and visits reigning Class AAA state champion Buford this week and Dawson County the following week. Habersham Central hosts reigning Class AAAAAA champion Norcross this week, after falling to Mountain View in region play on Friday night.
The Raiders’ best chance to a first win this season comes Oct. 11 at Meadowcreek, which has lost 52 straight games.
Lumpkin County is in its first season under coach Brad Waggoner, and the Indians are off to a slow start. The Indians host Walnut Grove on Friday night, which is 1-3 this season.
Towns County has two of the next three weeks off and is playing a non-region schedule this season. The Indians return to action Oct. 4 against Copper Basin (Tenn.).
Lakeview Academy is at Athens Academy this Friday night. The Spartans are 2-1 this season. If the Lions can’t secure a win then, they could get their first victory Oct. 11 at Cross Keys, which is 0-3 this season.