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High school football previews: Week 3
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Game of the Week: Flowery Branch at Apalachee

Buford vs. Yulee (Fla.)

When: 8:30 tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford


Coaches: Buford, Jess Simpson; Yulee, Bobby Ramsay

Records: Buford (3-0, 0-0 6A-AA); Yulee (0-1)

Key players: Buford, TE/LB Dillon Lee (6-5, 240 Sr.), OL/DL Vadal Alexander (6-6, 340 Sr.), RB/LB Andre Johnson (5-11, 220 Sr.). Yulee, RB Derrick Henry (6-3, 225 Jr.), TE Kelvin Rainey (6-3, 220 Sr.), WR/DB Zach Camp (5-11, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: It’s rare that Buford can face a team with athletes as capable as its own. But that’s what the Wolves will get when they face running back Derrick Henry and Yulee High.

Henry, already a Georgia commit for the 2013 class, has put up eye-popping numbers in two seasons with Yulee. As a freshman, he tallied 2,475 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns. Surprising though it may be that he could top that season, he put up 2,788 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2010.

This will be the player Buford will focus on. Stop Henry, and the Wolves will stop Yulee. But if Henry is able take over the game and keep the Buford defense on the field for long stretches at a time, the Wolves could be in for a dogfight.

But Buford has won 16 consecutive games, not to mention four straight Class AA state titles. The Wolves accomplished all this because they are a team with the athletes capable of slowing players like Henry.

Prediction: BUFORD. Henry will get his yards, but Buford has more than enough talent to put the pressure on the rest of the offense. The Wolves, at home, will keep their winning streak alive.

East Hall at Elbert County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: The Granite Bowl, Elberton

Coaches: East Hall, Bryan Gray; Elbert County, Sid Fritts

Records: East Hall (2-0, 0-0 8-AA North); Elbert County (2-0, 0-0 8-AA South)

Key players: East Hall, RB/DB Jamond Witt (5-10, 173 Sr.), OT/DE C.J. White (6-3, 247 Sr.), RB/DB Austen Mahaffey (Jr.). Elbert County, RB Tyshon Dye (6-2, 180 Jr.), FB Demetrious Sanders (5-11, 190), QB/FS Hunter Blackmon (5-9, 160 So.).

Outlook: East Hall has been one of the suprising teams in the area through the first two games of the season, racking up 88 points in blowout wins over two Hall County opponents.

Elbert County will be a different test altogether.

"This will be a huge test. Elbert County is an exceptional team," Gray said. "They are fast and physical with an extremely dominant run game."

The Blue Devils ground game starts this season with Dye. The junior has rushed for 418 yards already this season to key Elbert County’s 2-0 start.

The Vikings, however, have a running back of their own in Witt, who has 192 yards rushing on 19 attempts, good for a 10.1 yards-per-carry average, and three rushing touchdowns this season.

"Our mindset is that we feel good about our team, schemes and our senior leadership, and if we take care of the ball, excel on special teams and take the game to the fourth quarter we have a good chance to be successful," Gray said.

Prediction: ELBERT COUNTY. East Hall has been dominant in its first two games, but the Blue Devils present a host of new challenges, especially playing at The Granite Bowl.

Johnson at Chestatee

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: War Eagles Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; Chestatee, Stan Luttrell

Records: Johnson (0-2, 0-0 8-AAA South); Chestatee (1-0, 0-0 8-AAA North)

Key players: Johnson, RB/DB Cedric Harris (6-1, 175 Jr.), TE/LB Jose Martinez (6-0, 215 Jr.), RB/DB A.J. Millwood (5-8, 175 Jr.). Chestatee, RB Quan Clark (5-10, 180 Jr.), QB Jordan Degraff (6-2, 170 Jr.), DE Garrett Bennett (5-10, 205 Sr.).

Outlook: In its first game of the season, Chestatee put up 41 points and had 424 yards of total offense, including 373 yards rushing.

And that wasn’t where the team excelled most.

Luttrell, after his team’s 41-14 win over West Hall, stressed how good his defense was in its first test of the season. Overall, it allowed just 273 yards of total offense and was able keep the Spartans out of the end zone for most of the contest.

Against Johnson, the War Eagles will face a team that gets most of its yards on the ground. Through two games, Johnson has rushed for a total of 618 yards on the ground to just 30 through the air.

Running backs Cedric Harris and A.J. Millwood lead the way with 260 yards and 285 rushing yards, respectively.

To continue its good start, Chestatee’s defense will start there, focusing on stopping those two prolific backs.

If it can, the War Eagles should have no problem remaining unbeaten.

Prediction: CHESTATEE. Johnson’s lack of a passing game, coupled with Chestatee’s strong defense and rushing attack, will be enough to give the War Eagles the victory.

North Hall at St. Pius X

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: George B. Maloof Stadium, Atlanta

Coaches: North Hall, Bob Christmas; St. Pius X, Paul Standard

Records: North Hall (0-1, 0-0 8-AAA North); St. Pius X (2-0, 0-0 5A-AAA)

Key players: North Hall, RB/LB Imani Cross (6-2, 230 Sr.), OG/DE Cam Howell (5-8, 215 Sr.), C/DT Avery Easton (6-3, 240 Jr.). St. Pius X, RB/DB Geno Smith (6-0, 165 Sr.), QB Trey White (6-0, 185 Sr.), LB/WR T.J. Holloman (6-3, 220 Sr.).

Outlook: North Hall has one of the most talented running backs in the region. Cross, who missed a large portion of 2010 due to injury, came out in the Trojans’ first game of the season and rushed for more than 200 yards.

The Trojans will face a team, however, with a rushing attack equal, or superior, to their own. St. Pius features a running back, Geno Smith, who has committed to Alabama as a defensive back and is considered a top-10 recruit in that category nationally.

It also features Trey White, a quarterback who has already rushed for 235 yards and three scores in two games.

Passing is a rarity for this team. It focuses mostly on controlling the ball and, as a result, the clock. And its athleticism on offense allows for much success for this gameplan.

The key in this game will be which team can better establish the line of scrimmage and control the ball. Whichever can win the rushing battle has a big advantage in winning the game.

Prediction: ST. PIUS X. Cross is a dangerous running back, as he showed in North Hall’s first game. But the combined ground attack of Smith and White will be too much for the Trojans in the end.

West Hall at White County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Warriors Stadium, Cleveland

Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; White County, Bill Ballard

Records: West Hall (0-2, 8-AAA South); White County (0-2, 8-AAA North)

Key players: West Hall, QB Chandler Newton (6-1, 190 So.), OL/DL Dexter Jackson (6-2, 317 Jr.), RB/DB Rico Jones (6-0, 170 Sr.). White County, RB Ryan Kennedy (5-11, 180 Sr.), RB/LB Dalton Whitfield (6-1, 220 So.), QB Will Brock (6-2, 190 Jr.).

Outlook: The Warriors and Spartans are both desperately in need of a victory. Building some confidence for the upcoming subregion schedule will be a must if either want to contend for a playoff spot this season, something neither is out of the running for at this point despite the winless records.

Both experienced a lopsided loss last week: White County lost 40-3 at Gainesville, and West Hall fell 41-14 against Chestatee. Even though this week’s game still doesn’t count toward the subregion schedule, neither wants to fall to 0-3. Last week, Jones gave the Spartans an early burst with a 57-yard touchdown run. West Hall’s other touchdown came on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Newton to A.J. Stephens. The overall offensive numbers were balanced for the Spartans with 278 yards (155 passing, 123 rushing). The defense allowed too many (420 yards) against a high-powered War Eagles offense.

White County’s strength is running the ball. Last week, junior quarterback Will Brock had the team’s longest run of the game at 34 yards in the first quarter. Kennedy and Michael Limbaugh will both receive plenty of carries in the Warriors’ spread option offense.

Against Gainesville, White County only tallied 111 yards of total offense.

Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. Kennedy and the Warriors’ ground game will finally get things going with a win in Cleveland.

Prince Avenue Christian
at Lakeview Academy

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jock Horner Field, Gainesville

Coaches: Prince Avenue, Mark Farriba; Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn

Records: Prince Avenue (2-0, 0-0 8-A), Lakeview (0-2)

Key players: Prince Avenue, QB/CB Carl Mattox (5-10, 155 Jr.), RB/DB Rob Farriba (6-0, 165 Jr.), DL Tyler Parrish (6-1, 190 Jr.). Lakeview, RB/LB Trevor Price (5-10, 160 Jr.), QB/FS Matt Askounis (5-11, 175 Sr.), OL/DL Will Kendrick (5-11, 260 Jr.)

Outlook: Gruhn knows the Lions are going to need a near perfect night to get out with a win against the Wolverines. The Lions have been on the losing end in both games this season, and is going up against a dominant Prince Avenue team this week that has huge wins against Hebron Christian (41-0) and Georgia Military (28-0) this year. So far, Prince Avenue has racked up 781 yards of offense. Mattox scored three touchdowns last week, and Rob Farriba rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown against Georgia Military. In Week 1, Mattox had 237 yards and three touchdowns (58, 69 and 86 yards) against Hebron Christian.

Prediction: PRINCE AVENUE. The Wolverines have too many offensive weapons back from last year’s playoff squad.

Riverside Military at
Landmark Christian

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Fairburn

Coaches: Riverside Military, Sheldon Ward; Landmark Christian, Kenny Dallas

Records: Riverside Military (0-3, 0-0 8-A), Landmark Christian (2-0, 0-0 5B-A)

Key players: Riverside Military, K/P/DT Victor Salcido (5-11, 222 Sr.), OL/LB John-Mark MacFarlane (5-10, 176 So.), RB/DE Marlan Edwards (6-2, 212 Sr.). Landmark Christian, QB/DB Cantrell Frazier (5-10, 180 Sr.), LB/RB Chase McFarlin (5-10, 185 Sr.), WR/DB Donald Payne (6-1, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: This hasn’t been the kind of start to the season that Riverside Military had in mind. Not only did the Eagles lose their first three games, but they also lost second-year coach Chris Cotter on Tuesday after he resigned his position.

In steps Ward.

Not only is he in charge of trying to get Riverside back on track, but he’s also trying to keep the players believing in the program as it heads into region play. After tonight’s game, the Eagles have a bye, then open Region 8-A play Sept. 23 at George Walton.

Ward knows one area that needs drastic improvement is the running game. The Eagles have run 52 times for only 53 yards this season. Each of the past two weeks, Riverside has been shut out.

MacFarlane has been a shining star on defense for the Eagles with an area-high 30 tackles, and Edwards has 18.

Meanwhile, Landmark Christian is off and running with a pair of wins, including a 69-28 thrashing of Athens Christian last week.

Prediction: LANDMARK CHRISTIAN. Landmark Christian is off to too fast of a start for Riverside to slow down.

Jefferson at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Coaches: Jefferson, T. McFerrin; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Records: Jefferson (2-0, 0-0 8-AA South); Dawson County (1-1, 0-0 8-AA North)

Key players: Jefferson, QB Bryant Shirreffs (6-3, 200 Jr.), RB Tristen Jackson (5-9, 190 S0.), WR Cole Givens (6-0, 185 Sr.). Dawson County, QB Tyler Dominy (6-5, 185 Jr.), RB/LB Zack Martin (5-10, 190 Jr.), WR Bruce Clark (6-4, 190 Jr.).

Outlook: Thus far, Jefferson has crushed a rival in Week 1 and surprised a highly-touted team in Week 2. Week 3 brings a new challenge: stopping a high-scoring offense.

"Dawson County has an outstanding quarterback and a tall receiver and a really good passing attack. Also a power running game with two big fullbacks," McFerrin said. "I am really concerned with their offense. They scored 56 on Pickens County."

Junior Tigers quarterback Tyler Dominy (461 yards passing, seven touchdowns in two games) and junior wide receiver Bruce Clark will be a lot for the Dragons to handle. The Tigers have averaged 38 points scored through their first two games.

The Dragons will retaliate with their own quarterback-receiver combo of junior Bryant Shirreffs and senior receiver Cole Givens. Givens finished the game against North Hall with three receptions, 120 yards and a score to lead a Jefferson offense that put up 349 total yards.

Prediction: JEFFERSON. Both teams can score, but the Dragons have been the better team defensively, which will prove to be the difference in Friday’s game.

Fannin County at
Jackson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Panther Stadium, Jefferson

Coaches: Fannin County, Clark Drennan; Jackson County, Billy Kirk

Records: Fannin County (2-1, 0-0 8A-AA); Jackson County (1-1, 0-0 8B-AA)

Key players: Fannin County, QB Trevor Stone (6-0, 180 So.), RB/DB Blake Henry (5-10, 160 Sr.), RB/DB Peyton Satterfield (6-0, 180 So.). Jackson County, QB Kyle Daniel (6-0, 175 Jr.), LB Andy Williams (5-11, 210 Sr.), DL Chris Foster (6-2, 240 Jr.).

Outlook: Fannin County and Jackson County enter tonight’s game on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum.

While Fannin County was knocking off Pickens 29-28 on a last-second hail mary and two-point conversion last week, the Panthers were on the receiving end of a humbling 38-0 loss to Walnut Grove.

Jackson County, which was coming off a 20-12 season-opening win over Johnson, managed only 33 yards of offense in the loss. The Panthers, though, had to be encouraged when watching film of Fannin County giving up numerous big runs to Pickens freshman running back Shannon Brooks last week.

Prediction: FANNIN COUNTY. The Rebels are a work in progress, but they’re a couple of steps ahead of Jackson County.

Banks County
at East Jackson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Commerce

Coaches: Banks County, Philip Jones; East Jackson, Brian Smith

Records: Banks County (2-0, 8-AA North), East Jackson (1-1, 0-0 8-AA South)

Key players: Banks County, QB Tyler Hubbard (5-9, 150 Jr.), RB Dean Ewing (6-1, 200, Sr.), WR Marquaze Maddox (6-0, 165 Sr.). East Jackson, RB C.J. Allen (5-8, 170 Sr.), RB Tyler Collins (5-11, 165 Sr.), OL/LB Caleb Hardy (5-9, 185 Sr.)

Outlook: After winning a game against White County thanks to a Warrior botched snap on the extra point, the Eagles were blown out by Oconee County. East Jackson was unable to put any points on the board, but the inability to score had a lot to do with C.J. Allen being kept out of the game my medical staff after he suffered a concussion the week before.

Allen put up more than 150 yards on the ground the week before and his offensive presence was missed.

Smith admitted not having Allen makes the Eagle squad a completely different offensive team. Banks County has kept to its gameplan of using Tyler Hubbard and Dean Ewing to run the ball, both had more than 120 yards and three touchdowns last week.

Prediction: BANKS COUNTY. Jones stays undefeated as a head coach and picks up his first road win.

Copper Basin, Tenn.
at Towns County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Frank McClure Stadium, Hiawassee

Coaches: Copper Basin, Patrick Daly; Towns County, Kyle Langford

Records: Copper Basin (1-2); Towns County (0-3)

Key players: Copper Basin, QB Matt Ray (5-11, 170 Sr.), WR Stephen Spargo (6-1, 180 Jr.), LB Blake Satterfield (5-10, 180 Sr.). Towns County, WR Zack Stroud (6-1, 170 Sr.), QB Jackson Noblet (5-11, 185 So.), RB Noah Calhoun (5-10, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: The Towns County offense is off to a slow start, scoring just six points through the first three games of the season, including back-to-back shutouts.

Coming off a 38-0 loss to Cherokee (N.C.) last week, the Indians return home to host Copper Basin, a team they lost to 48-0 last year.

2010 marked the second consecutive trip to the Tennessee state playoffs for Class A Copper Basin, but after losing half of last year’s starters on defense, the Cougars have struggled somewhat, dropping a pair of close contests in the last two weeks. The Copper Basin offense, however, hasn’t missed a beat, in Ray’s first season as the starting signal caller.

The Cougars lost 35-27 to Hayesville (N.C.) last week, a team that beat Towns County, 21-6, in Week 1.

Prediction: COPPER BASIN. The Indians may finally get the offense on track, but it’s doubtful they’ll be able to manage enough to outscore the Cougars.

Commerce at North Oconee

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Bogart

Coaches: Commerce, Marvin Justice; North Oconee, Terry Tuley

Records: Commerce (1-1, 0-0 8-A), North Oconee (1-0, 0-0 8-AA South)

Key players: Commerce, QB Cody Streetman (6-1, 200 Sr.), Michah Eason DL/OL (6-1, 230, Jr.) FB/LB Chance McClure (6-0, 215 Jr.), North Oconee, QB Blake Gaubert (6-2, 205, Sr.), FB/LB Dalton Greene (5-10, 215, Sr.), ILB Kawon Bryant (5-9, 173, Fr.)

Outlook: In their last three meetings, the average margin of victory in this game is more 40 points, with Commerce winning two of the blowouts.

Commerce is coming off of Marvin Justice’s first victory as the Tigers head coach thanks to a big performance by four-year starting quarterback Cody Streetman. Streetman had 217 yards on the ground along with two touchdowns.

Another big performance will be needed from Streetman in order for Commerce to come back from Bogart victorious.

The Tigers’ Chance McClure has begun to show what he can do on both sides of the ball. He is the team’s second leading rusher and has 23 tackles, three for loss, through two games.

Prediction: NORTH OCONEE. With superior size on the line, the Titans even up the series.

Union County at Hart County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Herndon Stadium, Hartwell

Coaches: Union County, Brian Allison; Hart County, Joby Scroggs

Records: Union County (0-2, 0-0 8-AA North); Hart County (1-1, 0-0 8-AA South)

Key players: Union County, QB T Bentley (6-0, 190 Jr.), WR/DB Zach Williams (5-10, 170 Sr.), RB/LB Ian Petkevich (6-0, 196 Sr.). Hart County, RB/LB Stephon Eades (6-0, 200 Sr.), RB/LB Deonte Allen (Sr.), QB Chris Ayers (Sr.).

Outlook: Last week’s game got away from Union County quickly.

Unable to slow down Lumpkin County’s Ian McIntosh in the first half, the Panthers surrendered 28 points in the first two quarters and couldn’t mount a second-half rally in a 28-13 loss. Union County is also looking for more offensive consistency after scoring 33 total points through two weeks.

Bentley leads the Panthers through the air, but they’ve yet to find a source of balance in the running game.

Prediction: HART COUNTY. Given the disparate nature of their outcomes thus far, it’s hard to know what to make of either team, but look for the Bulldogs to win in a game closer than last year’s 33-6 victory.

Habersham Central vs. Salem

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: John Larry Black Stadium, Mount Airy

Coaches: Salem, John Starr; Habersham Central, Stuart Cunningham

Records: Salem (1-1, 1-1 Region 8-AAAA); Habersham (1-1, Region 8-AAAA)

Key players: Salem, RB Jahaad Coleman (5-9, 170, Sr.), DB Eric Crawford (5-6, 150, Sr.), Brandon Culler ( 5-9, 250, Sr.) Habersham Central, QB Kevin Ellison (6-1, 180, Sr.), FB/DE Patrick Burns (6-1, 190 Sr.), LB Drew Ferguson (Sr.).

Outlook: Kevin Ellison has been a force to be reckoned with for Habersham Central this season. In two games, he has 449 yards and eight touchdowns on only 37 attempts and is averaging more than 200 rushing yards a game.

The Raiders are trying to stay positive this week after blowing a 34-7 lead at Clark Central a week ago. Habersham’s Drew Ferguson, the team’s leading tackler, will try to slow down the Seminoles’ Jahaad Coleman who had 139 yards and two scores a year ago in a 33-18 Salem win.

The Seminoles use a more balanced approach, with four different players trotting into the end zone for scores last week

Prediction: HABERSHAM CENTRAL. In what amounts to a "pick-em" scoreline, the home team holds the advantage.


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