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High school football playoffs: First round previews
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Game of the Week

Gainesville at No. 5 Harrison

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Bruce Cobleigh Stadium, Kennesaw

Records: Gainesville (5-5); Harrison (9-1)

Game notes: In the first meeting between these two schools, the Hoyas are coming off a two-game win streak and have averaged nearly 36 points per game.

Dalton held Harrison to 14 points, the lowest of the season, in its only loss on Oct. 21. Gainesville is 3-2 on the road this season, the most recent of which was a 10-3 loss at Lanier. The Red Elephants have scored 30 points just once this season, a 30-16 win over Winder-Barrow. On the flip side, Gainesville has allowed 30-plus points just once, a 31-28 loss at Jefferson.

Who to watch: Quarterback DJ Irons will be back under center for the Red Elephants after missing a week due to an ejection. Irons has thrown for 15 touchdowns on 1,704 yards this season.

No. 2 Buford vs. North Springs

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Records: Buford (9-1); North Springs (6-4)

Game notes: The Wolves have made a 9-0 run since falling in the opening game to Roswell. They look to continue a trend of making the state championship game, which they’ve done every year since 2007.

North Springs is making its first playoff appearance since making a run to the quarterfinals in 1998.

Who to watch: Buford running back Anthony Grant is just 38 yards from crossing the 1,000-yard mark. He’s scored 15 times this season.

Chestatee at No. 1 Cartersville
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Weinman Stadium, Cartersville

Records: Chestatee (4-6); Cartersville (10-0)

Game notes: Chestatee is back in the playoffs under first-year head coach Shaun Conley. The War Eagles topped White County in region play to make the final playoff spot. Cartersville made a clean sweep of its schedule behind top-rated junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

He’s thrown for 2,432 yards and 31 touchdowns this season. He’s also been picked off seven times. The War Eagles last made the postseason in 2013.
Who to watch: Chestatee wide receiver Baylee Camp has 871 yards for four touchdowns this season.

No. 4 Jefferson vs. Pickens

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

Records: Jefferson (9-1); Pickens (5-5)

Game notes: Jefferson and Pickens have split the four previous games they’ve played against each other. The Dragons’ lone loss of the season came against No. 2 Thomson on Sept. 2 at Memorial Stadium.

Since being held to 20 points in that loss, Jefferson has not scored less than 24 points. Pickens has scored 31 points or more in every game except for three, when they scored 10, 8, and 22.

Who to watch: Junior running back Colby Wood has scored 14 touchdowns and racked up 1,111 yards this season.

North Hall at No. 3 Westminster

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Alfred E. Thompson Stadium, Atlanta

Records: North Hall (6-4); Westminster (8-2)

Game notes: This is the first meeting between the two schools. The Trojans wrapped up its playoff spot with a 68-42 win over East Hall on Oct. 28.

Westminster lost its opening games to Woodward Academy and Greater Atlanta Christian, then went on an 8-0 run. Lovett held the Wildcats to its lowest point total (17) over that span.
Who to watch: Trojans running back Kyle Bacus has rushed for 1,554 yards and 14 touchdowns.

No. 8 Dawson County vs. No. 9 Lovett

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Records: Dawson County (7-2); Lovett (7-3)

Game notes: The Tigers and Lions will meet for the first time tonight. Dawson County fell in its region championship game against Greater Atlanta Christian, 42-7, last week. Lovett has held four opponents to single-digit scores, including a shutout of Stone Mountain and giving up three points to Pace Academy.

Who to watch: Dawson County quarterback Coey Watson is six yards from tossing for 1,500 this season. He’s also connected for 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions.

Watson has rushed for 607 yards and 14 scores as well.

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