By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Football previews: Week 4
Placeholder Image

Holloway: This game has exactly what it needs

Game of the Week: Gainesville at North Hall

Flowery Branch at Cedar Shoals

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: The Jungle, Athens
Coaches: Flowery Branch, Lee Shaw; Cedar Shoals, Xarvia Smith
Records: Flowery Branch (3-0, 3-0 Region 8-AAAA); Cedar Shoals (1-2, 1-2 8-AAAA)
Key players: Flowery Branch, QB Austin Brown (6-1, 195 Sr.) RB Jeremy Haley (6-0, 170 Jr.), WR Casey Osborne (6-1, 180 Jr.). Cedar Shoals, LB Charmarcus Pittard (6-0, 230 Sr.), QB Shaquile Gatlin (5-9, 180 Sr.), OL Travonta Burgess (6-2, 265 Sr.).
Outlook: With its 52-35 win over defending 8-AAAA champion Apalachee, the Falcons earned a No. 8 ranking in Class AAAA and, more importantly, positioned themselves to contend for this year’s region title.
Heading into the Apalachee game, the Falcons had yet to give up a single point through two games, outscoring Madison County and Winder-Barrow 49-0. Though they gave up 35 points to the Wildcats, the offense had its biggest game of the season, producing a school-record 624 yards of offense, led by Brown (19-of-39 passing, 359 yards and four touchdowns), Casey Osborne (eight catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns) and Jeremy Haley (216 yards and three touchdowns).
On the season, Brown has completed 42 of his 89 passes (47.2 percent) for 625 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Haley has rushed 75 times for 493 yards and six touchdowns, and Osborne has 18 catches for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
What’s scary for Falcons opponents is Brown still hasn’t completely gotten on page with the receiving corps, overthrowing some passes and receivers dropping others. Once the unit reaches its full potential, it could very well be one of the best in the state.
While the Cedar Shoals defense has given up just a field goal in each of its last two games since surrendering 41 points in a season-opening loss to Clarke Central, the Jaguars have yet to face an offense as explosive as the Falcons.
Prediction: FLOWERY BRANCH. Too many offensive weapons for the Jaguars to handle, plus the Jaguars offense is averaging just 10 points a game.

Adairsville at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: East Hall Stadium
Coaches: Adairsville, Jim Kremer. East Hall, Bryan Gray
Records: Adairsville (1-2, 0-0 Region 7A-AA). East Hall (1-2, 0-0 Region 8A-AA)
Key players: Adairsville, LB Michael Hall, RB Bradford Austin, QB Cody Kremer. East Hall, OL/DL Sterling Bailey (6-5, 265 Sr.), DE/RB Chaz Cheeks (6-5, 221 Sr.), RB Jamond Witt (5-9, 165 Jr.).
Outlook: East Hall lost to region opponent Elbert County last week 48-13, with most of Elbert County’s points coming off of Vikings turnovers. If East Hall wants to earn its second win of the season, limiting turnovers and allowing a defense that features two Division-I recruits in Bailey and Cheeks to play more aggressively will be key.
Specifically, the Vikings defense will have to slow down Kremer. Kremer ran the ball 12 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 62 yards and another touchdown on 6-of-9 passing in last week’s 35-7 win over region opponent Sonoraville.
Also important for the Vikings will be Witt. The junior is second in the area in rushing with 362 yards and three touchdowns. After a quiet game last week, Witt will have to play big in order for the Vikings to notch a win.
The two teams have never played, but Adairsville hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2003. In Kremer’s first year as coach in 2009, the Tigers went 5-5 and have their eye on improving that record this season.
Prediction: ADAIRSVILLE. The turnover-prone Vikings won’t be able to put enough points on the board to keep up with the Tigers.

West Hall at Stephens County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: The Reservation, Toccoa
Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; Stephens County, Travis Noland
Records: West Hall (2-1, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA); Stephens County (2-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA).
Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 245 Sr.), WR William Stroup (6-6, 210 Sr.), RB Dre Pou (5-10, 175 Sr.). Stephens County, RB Chaz Thornton (So.), ATH Cassadine Blassingame (6-0, 145 Sr.), QB Mark Palmer (6-0, 150 Sr.).
Outlook: The Spartans are coming off their first loss of the season and will be faced with the same style of offense that gave them problems a week ago against White County.
The Indians are primarily a running team, which doesn’t bode well for West Hall, which has surrendered more than 450 rushing yards the past two weeks. That’s good news for Thornton, the dynamic sophomore tailback from Stephens County who is averaging more than 100 yards a game on the ground.
West Hall did make adjustments in the second half that should help limit Thornton’s effectiveness, but it’ll need another strong outing from Stephens to keep this game close. Stephens, who leads the area with 682 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns, has a slew of playmakers at his disposal including Stroup, Pou and wide receiver Brandon Fuqua, who was shut down against White County last week.
Balance will be key against a Stephens County team fresh off a 29-22 win over Oconee County. Thornton, who rushed for 223 yards on 25 carries last week, scored two touchdowns against the Warriors, including a 71-yard run in the fourth quarter that won the game.
It’s been nearly a decade since these two schools have played each other, with Stephens County beating the Spartans 14-7 in 1999.
Prediction: STEPHENS COUNTY. The Indians rushing attack overwhelms the Spartans defense.

Chestatee at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Tigers Stadium, Dawsonville
Radio: 104.3 FM
Coaches: Chestatee, Stan Luttrell; Dawson County, Jeff Lee
Records: Chestatee (1-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA); Dawson County (0-3, 0-0 Region 8A-AA)
Key players: Chestatee, QB Scott Chewning (5-10, 170 Sr.), WR/DB Brice Beck (6-0, 165 Jr.), RB Montrai Tate (5-10, 160 Jr.). Dawson County, OL/DL Zach Johnson (6-3, 300 Sr.), QB Tyler Dominy (6-4, 165 So.), RB/DB Ethan Brown (6-0, 175 Sr.).
Outlook: Chestatee has the opportunity to open with its best start since a 3-0 beginning to the 2007 campaign.
The War Eagles got on track last week with a 49-13 win against Johnson. Chewning threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard touchdown pass to Quan Clark. The War Eagles also played great defense by forcing five turnovers. Last week, lineman Tyler Terry went down with a deep bone bruise and is day to day, according to Luttrell.
Meanwhile, Dawson County is having a tough time finding anything positive to build off. After a 1-9 season last year, the Tigers have only been able to muster four touchdowns through three games in 2010. Dawson County is allowing 31 points per game this season.
Prediction: CHESTATEE. The War Eagles look to take advantage of a struggling Dawson County program.

Therrell at Buford

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Tom Riden Stadium
Coaches: Therrell, Tony Rambo; Buford, Jess Simpson
Records: Therrell (1-1, 0-0 Region 6B-AA), Buford (2-1, 0-0 6A-AA)
Key players: Therrell, WR Karnorris Benson (6-1, 195 Sr.), LB Quintravious Miller (6-1, 178 Sr.), RB DeMarcus Wingfield (5-9, 185 Jr.). Buford, QB Alex Ross (6-2, 198 Sr.) RB Seon Jones (5-9, 179 Sr.), TE/DE Dillon Lee (6-4, 228 Jr.).
Outlook: Class AA’s No. 2-ranked Wolves are coming off a 31-10 win over region crossover opponent Westminster last Friday. In the win, Buford churned out 217 yards rushing with Jones (68 yards on 12 carries) and Domonique Swope (70 yards on 11 carries) leading the way. While Jones leads the team in rushing this year (245 yards and three touchdowns), the Wolves use a variety of runners who are capable of a big play at any moment.
On defense, the Wolves hope to see another big game from defensive back Eric Barr. The senior scored on a 94-yard punt block return and a 71-yard interception return against Westminster.
Therrell’s defense has surrendered 34 points through two games so far this season, but 28 of those came at the hands of Class AAA’s Washington two weeks ago. With Buford averaging 24 points per game, the Panthers’ defense will have to play as stingy as it did in a 28-6 opening night win over region opponent against Clarkston.
The Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since 2002. If they want to break that trend, they’ll need to start with an upset win over Class AA’s three-time defending state champion.
Prediction: BUFORD. The combination of a stout defense and a strong running attack from the Wolves will be too much for the Panthers.

Jefferson at Hart County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Pete Herndon Stadium, Hartwell
Coaches: Jefferson, T. McFerrin; Hart County, Joby Scroggs
Records: Jefferson (2-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AA); Hart County (1-1-1, 0-0 8A-AA)
Key players: Jefferson, FB/DE Zach Allen (6-1, 230 Sr.) TE/DE Hoytes Damons (6-2, 240 Sr.), OT/DT Cody Berryman (5-10, 240 Sr.). Hart County, RB/LB Stephon Eades (6-0, 195 Jr.), QB Landon Beck (6-2, 205 Sr.), WR John Vollrath (6-1, 165 Sr.).
Outlook: Heading into their subregion opener, both the Dragons and Bulldogs are coming off impressive wins in 8-AA crossover games last week. Hart County defeated Union County 33-6 and Jefferson handled Dawson County 35-14.
However, McFerrrin knows his squad has its work cut out for them facing a Hart County team that finished 8-3 last season in Region 8-AAA.
“They’re the favorites to win the region,” he said.
Jefferson hopes to have success with their spread attack against the Bulldogs, which defends in 4-3 and 4-4 formations. The Dragons have been a pass-first team thus far, with sophomore quarterback Bryant Shirreffs completing 34 of his 51 passes for 440 yards and four touchdowns and only one interception. He’s also their leading rusher with 55 yards on 16 attempts and three touchdowns.
Hoytes Damons leads Jefferson with 12 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown, and Cole Givens has eight catches for 136 yards and a team-high three touchdowns.
In addition to playing an opponent that hasn’t had a losing season in 18 years, the Dragons head into tonight’s game missing four starters, though McFerrin wouldn’t specify. McFerrin also said the Dragons spent the week adjusting its normal game plan to fit the current personnel.
Look for Hart County to mix the I-formation with a four receiver shotgun set in a balanced attack.
Prediction: HART COUNTY. With the Dragons on the road and missing four starters, tinkering with team schemes on short notice may be too much to overcome against a strong region opponent.

White County at Oconee County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Warriors Stadium, Watkinsville
Coaches: White County, Greg Segraves; Oconee County, Mitch Olson
Records: White County (2-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA); Oconee County (1-1, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA)
Key players: White County, RB/DB Ashely Lowery (6-2, 205 Sr.), QB Cole Segraves (6-4, 200 So.), DL Adam Hooper (6-0, 265 Sr.). Oconee County, QB/LB Santonio Brown (6-0, 185 Sr.), RB/WR Davis Aiken (5-9, 165 Jr.), OL/DL Greg Marshall (5-11, 200 Sr.).
Outlook: After a Week 2 slip up against Gainesville, the Warriors got right back on track with a 45-18 win against West Hall last Friday in Oakwood. In the win, Kentucky verbal commit Lowery rushed for three touchdowns and 121 yards as part of a team total of 285 rushing yards.
White County also displayed its defensive capability by limiting the strong right arm of West Hall’s Shunquez Stephens, including a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ryan Kennedy. White County held the Spartans to 56 first-half yards.
Meanwhile, Oconee County is looking to rebound from a 29-22 loss to Stephens County last Friday. The Warriors won in Week 1 against East Jackson, 17-14.
Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. The Warriors continue to play dominating defense.

Athens Christian at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Leopard Stadium, Banks County
Coaches: Athens Christian, Bill Forman; Banks County, Blair Armstrong
Records: Athens Christian (1-2, 0-0 8-A); Banks County (2-1, 0-0 8B-AA)
Key players: Athens Christian, HB/DB Anthony Cosby (5-10, 190 Sr.), HB/DB Peyton Mapp (5-10, 190 Sr.), QB Zack Resop (6-3, 185 Sr.). Banks County, RB Dylan Lackey (5-10, 175 Sr.), RB/LB Jeremy Greenway (5-9, 185 Sr.), OL/LB Matthew Patton (6-0, 225, Sr.).
Outlook: After finding ample running room in two lopsided wins to start the season, Banks County’s wing-T offense was limited to 58 rushing yards in a 38-0 loss to East Jackson last week.
The Leopards get one more week to work out any remaining kinks before diving into their subregion schedule.
Athens Christian enters tonight’s game coming off back-to-back losses, including a 22-21 heartbreaker last week to Hebron Christian. The Eagles let a 13-0 lead slip away and lost after a personal foul penalty set up the game-winning 22-yard field goal.
Prediction: BANKS COUNTY. The Leopards should be able to get their leading rusher, Lackey, back on track and keep the ball away from the Eagles.

Monroe Area at Lumpkin County

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Indians Stadium, Dahlonega
Coaches: Monroe Area, Matt Fligg; Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones
Records: Monroe Area (2-0, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA), Lumpkin County (2-0, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA).
Key players: Monroe Area, QB Demond Smith (6-2, 180 Sr.), DE Stephon Tuitt (6-5, 260 Sr.), TE/DE Kendarious Whitehead (6-3, 215 Jr). Lumpkin County, QB Taylor Guthrie (6-5, 190 Sr.), WR/DB Ian McIntosh (5-9, 170 Jr.), TE/DE B.J. Dorsey (6-3, 220 Jr.).
Outlook: Lumpkin County is finally at full strength with the likely return of starting quarterback Guthrie, who missed the first two games with a broken finger, and safety Kaylen Temples is also back on the field. With the return of these two key players, backup QB Logan Moye will move back to his natural spot in the secondary and McIntosh will likely shift over to cornerback.
After soundly defeating its first two opponents on the schedule, Lumpkin County is primed for its first true test of the season. Monroe Area, a loser of 21-straight games at the start of the season, opened the year with a 55-7 win against Monticello and 63-6 win against Riverwood.
“Monroe Area is extremely impressive,” Jones said. “They really run the option offense well.”
Monroe Area’s Tuitt, rated by the best defensive end prospect in the country, verbally committed to Notre Dame on Wednesday.
Prediction: Lumpkin County. The Indians land a big win at home against a legit Monroe Area squad.

Jackson County at East Jackson

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Eagles Stadium, Commerce
Coaches: Jackson County, Billy Kirk; East Jackson, Frank Caputo
Records: Jackson County (2-1, 0-0 Region 8B-AA); East Jackson (1-2, 0-0 8B-AA)
Key players: Jackson County, LB Kelly Moates (5-11, 190 Sr.) ATH Alex Crawford (5-8, 140 Sr.), QB Jalen Banks (6-1, 175 Jr.). East Jackson, QB/DB Cody Gibbs (6-2, 170 Sr.), RB C.J. Allen (5-8, 170 Jr.), C Parker Wilson (5-11, 230 Sr.).
Outlook: After defeating two lower-tier Class AAA schools to start the season in Johnson and Walnut Grove, the Panthers suffered their first loss of the season, 28-14, to Fannin County in a Region 8-AA crossover game that doesn’t affect them in the standings. From this point forward, however, all of their games are against 8B-AA opponents and will determine if they return to the playoffs for the first time since 1992 — the last time they posted a winning season (8-2-1).
The Panthers will look execute to their spread offense against the Eagles’ 3-3 defensive front, and a balanced attack might be the best recipe — Kirk said East Jackson has an effective run-stopping defense.
The Eagles took the opposite path to this week’s matchup, losing to AAA schools Oconee County and White County, before dominating Banks County 38-0 in their 8-AA crossover game. In that game, the Eagles held Banks County to just 58 rushing yards and held the area’s leading rusher heading into the week, Dylan Lackey, to just 15 rushing yards.
The Eagles will look to control the ball in the run game using their Wing-T offense. The Panthers will try and counter with an eight-man front.
Prediction: EAST JACKSON. The Eagles have home-field advantage, are coming off a 10-2 season in which they reached the second round of the playoffs and create too many mismatches for the Panthers on both sides of the ball.

Union County at Robbinsville, N.C.

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Robbinsville, N.C.
Coaches: Union County, Brian Allison; Robbinsville, Dee Walsh
Records: Union County (1-2, 0-0 8A-AA); Robbinsville (2-2)
Key players: Union County, QB/RB Jessie Wright (6-1, 180 Sr.), WR/LB Tyler Thomas (6-1, 205 Sr.), QB T Bentley (6-0, 180 So.). Robbinsville, N.C., QB Cassidy Galaviz (5-10, 160 Jr.), RB C.J. Williams (6-0, 165 Sr.), RB Jaron Ayres (5-8, 160 Sr.).
Outlook: After putting up 40 points in Week 1 against Towns County, Union County has struggled to gain offensive traction against a pair of stout defenses from Lumpkin County and Hart County.
The Panthers will hope to find some relief tonight as they leave Georgia to face a North Carolina foe. Thus far, Union County has employed a dual-quarterback system, with Bentley handling the majority of passing duties, while part-time signal caller Wright does a little bit of everything for the Panther offense.
Robbinsville was in position to get a win last week, but surrendered a 69-yard touchdown pass late and fell 26-23 to Mount Heritage, N.C. Robbinsville had 214 rushing yards in the loss, but lost four fumbles.
Prediction: UNION COUNTY. The defenses they’ve face the last two weeks should have sharpened the Panthers’ air attack and prepared them for a win tonight.

Towns County at Hayesville, N.C.

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Hayesville, N.C.
Coaches: Towns County, Kyle Langford; Hayesville, Gary Miller
Records: Towns County (0-3); Hayesville (1-3)
Key players: Towns County, RB Noah Calhoun (5-10, 170 Jr.), WR/DB Billy Meier (5-7, 180 Sr.), OL/DL Dylen Nelson (5-11, 305 Sr.). Hayesville, RB/LB Dakota Lyver (6-0, 170 Sr.), RB/LB Cody Gibson (5-7, 170 Sr.), RB/DB Jocquise Lloyd (5-11, 155, Jr.).
Outlook: Three games into the season, Towns County is still trying to put together the pieces that will ultimately lead to a win.
Last week, in a 48-0 loss to Copper Basin, Tenn., the Indians had freshmen starting at all five positions on the offense line. Meanwhile, the defense is yielding more than 42 points per game so far.
Tonight’s opponent is similar in its search for success. In a 59-14 loss last week to Madison, N.C., Hayesville trailed 21-0 just 15 minutes into the game, and with no passing game to speak of, never threatened Madison’s lead.
The Yellow Jackets were able to churn out 220 rushing yards, but were beset by eight fumbles, three of which were lost.
Prediction: TOWNS COUNTY. Though they haven’t found the right combination yet, the Indians should have confidence in their ability to get a win tonight; they defeated Haynesville 48-12 last season.

Commerce at Washington-Wilkes

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Tiger Field, Washington
Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Washington-Wilkes, Lee Hutto
Records: Commerce (0-3, 0-0 Region 8-A); Washington-Wilkes (0-2, 0-0 Region 7-A)
Key Players: Commerce, QB Cody Streetman (6-0, 185 Jr.), LB Tyler Adams (5-10, 185 Sr.), LB Josh Swistak (5-9, 190 Jr.). Washington-Wilkes, RB Eric Scott (5-11, 175 Sr.), RB Robert McGill (Sr.), OL/DL Jarrett Gaye (Sr.).
Outlook: Entrenched in their worst start this 1992, the Tigers travel to Washington tonight with hopes of rebounding from a 42-0 loss to North Oconee last week. The loss to the Titans was the worst at Commerce since a 54-0 defeat to Lincoln County in 1987.
Failure to move the ball was the major factor in the lopsided loss, as Commerce amassed just 94 yards of offense, all of which came on the ground. Expect a bounceback game from Streetman, who had 288 yards rushing and five touchdowns before finishing with minus-12 yards against North Oconee.
The Tigers defense also must improve from its performance last week, and it will have its hands full in containing Scott and McGill. The two seniors are the key to a Washington-Wilkes’ offense that has been held to just eight points all year.
Prediction: COMMERCE. The Tigers finally get their first win of the 2010 season.

Clarke Central at Habersham Central

When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Raider Stadium, Mount Airy
Coaches: Clarke Central, Leroy Ryals; Habersham Central, Stuart Cunningham
Records: Clarke Central, (2-0, 2-0 Region 8-AAAA); Habersham Central (0-3, 0-3 Region 8-AAAA)
Key players: Clarke Central, RB Quenshaun Watson (5-9, 175 Jr.), TE Jeremy Hughes (5-10, 182 Sr.). Habersham Central, QB Kevin Ellison (6-0, 175 Jr.), LB Tyler Stinespring (6-1, 185 Sr.), OL Garrett Dutton (5-6, 270 Jr.).
Outlook: Habersham Central lost to Salem 33-18 last week, its third consecutive region loss. Now they face the defending state finalist. The Gladiators lost to Sandy Creek 29-15 in the state championship game a year ago.
The Raiders have given up 86 points so far this season, while the Gladiators have scored 75 in two games and are coming off of a bye week. The combination could prove to be rough on Habersham Central if the Raiders’ defense can’t contain a Clarke Central offense which is explosive and will be well rested.
On the other side of the ball, the Gladiators’ stingy defense has surrendered just 13 points per game.
Prediction: CLARKE CENTRAL. The combination of speed and power from the Gladiators will be entirely too much for the Raiders to compete with.

Regional events