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High school football: Week 6 previews
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North Hall at Chestatee

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Chestatee Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: North Hall, Bob Christmas; Chestatee, Stan Lutrell

Records: North Hall (2-2, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA); Chestatee (2-2, 0-0)

Key players: North Hall, RB Imani Cross (6-2, 225 Jr.), QB Kanler Coker (6-4, 195 Jr.), LB Mack VanGorder (5-11, 195 Sr). Chestatee, QB/DB Scott Chewning (5-10, 170 Sr.), RB Montrai Tate (5-10, 155 Jr.), WR/DB Pearce Gruenenfelder (6-0, 155, Jr).

Outlook: North Hall is coming off a 40-0 shutout win over Walnut Grove, while Chestatee lost 27-0 to Monroe Area.
The Trojans and War Eagles have met every season dating back to 2002, with North Hall owning a 7-1 edge. The Trojans won 49-7 last year and have outscored the War Eagles 185-43 in four wins.

North Hall quarterback Coker is tied for the area lead with only four interceptions, while War Eagles defensive backs Chewning and Gruenenfelder are No. 1-2 in the area with three and two interceptions, respectively.

Prediction: NORTH HALL. If history is any indication, this game won’t be close.

East Hall at Rabun County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Frank Snyder Stadium, Tiger

Coaches: East Hall, Bryan Gray; Rabun County, Danny Durham

Records: East Hall (1-3, 0-0 Region 8A-AA); Rabun County (1-3, 0-0)

Key players: East Hall, RB/DB Jamond Witt (5-7, 160 Jr.), OL/DL Sterling Bailey (6-5, 265 Sr.), DE Chaz Cheeks (6-5, 221 Sr.). Rabun County, QB Tanner Wright, WR Dillon Bleckly, DB Blake McCracken.

Outlook: In a wide-open 8A-AA that features six schools — none of which made the playoffs in 2009 — this subregion opener for both schools and the winner already has an edge in the playoff chase.

In terms of wins and losses, the Vikings and Wildcats are mirror images of each other. Both finished the last three seasons 1-9 and both are 1-3 currently.

For the Vikings to win, they’ll need a big game from Witt, the area’s second-leading rusher with 619 yards on just 40 carries — a 12.4 yards per carry average. Defensively, Johnson and Cheeks must contain Wright, who ran for an 85-yard touchdown two weeks ago in the Wildcats’ only win of the season over Oglethorpe County.

The Vikings own a 17-7 edge in this series, but the Wildcats have won the last three meetings, most recently a 35-20 victory in 2005.

Prediction: EAST HALL. The Vikings have more weapons on each side of the ball.

Jefferson at North Oconee

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Titan Stadium, Bogart

Coaches: Jefferson, T. McFerrin; North Oconee, Terry Tuley

Records: Jefferson (2-2, 0-1 Region 8B-AA); North Oconee (4-0, 1-0)

Key players: Jefferson, TE/DE Hoytes Damons (6-2, 240 Sr.), QB Bryant Shirreffs (So.), ATH Cole Givens (Jr.). North Oconee, RB/DB Lane Thompson (5-9, 172 Sr.), FB/LB Russ Williams (6-3, 215 Sr.), C Dillan Prather (6-1, 280 Sr.).

Outlook: After back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and two region titles, the Dragons find themselves in a stacked subregion that features six 2009 playoff teams and a tough nonregion schedule that they came out of 2-1. They dropped last week’s subregion opener 27-17 to Hart County and have spent most of this early season having to overcome injuries.
Getting back on the winning track won’t be easy against the Titans, who reached the second round of last year’s playoffs.

The Titans have outscored their opponents 160-23 this season, including shutouts of Commerce (42-0) and Rabun County (48-0). Jefferson barely edged Commerce 17-14 in the season opener.

The Titans’ and Dragons’ other common opponent is Hart County, which North Oconee beat 28-16.
One factor Jefferson has working in its favor is a 4-0 lead in the all-time series, including a 20-6 victory last year.

Prediction: NORTH OCONEE. The Titans have better demonstrated they can play at a high level than the Dragons and they also have the home crowd backing them.

Union County at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Leopard Stadium, Homer

Coaches: Union County, Brian Allison; Banks County, Blair Armstrong

Records: Union County (1-3, 0-0 Region 8A-AA); Banks County (3-1, 0-0)

Key players: Union County, QB Jesse Wright (6-1, 180 Sr.), WR Tyler Thomas (6-1, 205 Sr.), WR Josh Schultz (6-0, 170 Sr.). Banks County, RB Dylan Lackey (5-10, 175 Sr.), LB Jeremy Greenway (5-9, 185 Sr.), LB Matthew Patton (6-0, 225 Sr.).

Outlook: Tonight is a chance for Banks County to prove its three early season wins weren’t just the product of inferior competition. Conversely, the Panthers are eager to show they’re not as far from playoff contention as a 1-3 record might make them seem.

Union County enters tonight’s subregion opener in need of some positive momentum. The Panthers have lost three straight since an opening-week win over Towns County, yielding more than 30 points in each game.

Prediction: BANKS COUNTY. The Leopards’ ground game should lead the way to another win.

Johnson at Gainesville

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: City Park, Gainesville

Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; Gainesville, Bruce Miller

Records: Johnson (0-4, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA), Gainesville (3-1, 0-0)

Key players: Johnson, RB Cedric Harris (So.), TE/DE Cody Lewallen (6-6, 205 Sr.), OL/DL David Harkins (6-0, 280 Sr.). Gainesville, LB A.J. Johnson (6-3, 235 Sr.), QB Deshaun Watson (6-1, 170 Fr.), RB Devon Pierce (5-7, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: It’s been four years since the Knights shocked Gainesville with a 33-31 win and halted any hopes the highly-favored Red Elephants had of winning the region that year. While Gainesville isn’t as powerful a team as it was that year — or the last three years for that matter — it’ll still take a lot for Johnson to take down a team that seemed to find its groove in the second half of last week’s win over Franklin County.

Gainesville will be playing tonight without its head coach, as Miller was suspended for this game after being ejected from last week’s win for two equipment violations. Defensive coordinator Jim Pavao will man the sidelines for the Red Elephants, who scored 21 unanswered points in the second half against Franklin County.

Prediction: GAINESVILLE. The Red Elephants are 35-8 against the Knights and have won the last three meetings by a score of 165-46.

West Hall vs. Walnut Grove

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Spartans Stadium, Oakwood

Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; Walnut Grove, Harris Rainbow

Records: West Hall (2-2, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA), Walnut Grove (0-4, 0-0)

Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 240 Sr.), WR William Stroup (6-6, 210 Sr.), RB Dre Pou (5-10, 175 Sr.). Walnut Grove, QB Daniel Kemp (Fr.), LB D.J. Brooks (Sr.), RB/WR Micah Reed (Jr.).

Outlook: The Spartans were riding high after winning their first two games, but back-to-back losses to White County and Stephens County have them needing a win to gain back any momentum they once had.

It’s a good thing for West Hall that Walnut Grove is its first subregion opponent. The Warriors are in just their second year of existence and have opened the 2010 season with four straight losses, including a 40-0 defeat at the hands of North Hall last week. Walnut Grove has scored only 18 points all year, while allowing more than 40 per game.

Prediction: WEST HALL. The Spartans offense is too much for the inexperienced Warriors.

Buford at Decatur

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Decatur High Stadium, Decatur

Coaches: Buford, Jess Simpson; Decatur, Price Jones

Records: Buford (4-1, 0-0 Region 6A-AA); Decatur (4-1, 0-0)

Key players: Buford, QB Alex Ross (6-2, 195 Sr.), RB Seon Jones (5-9, 180 Sr.), FB/LB Nathan Staub (6-3, 214 Sr.). Decatur, RB Quendarius Hall (5-9, 200 Sr.), WR Terryon Robinson (6-0, 170 So.), LB Nick Bentley (5-8, 225 Fr.).

Outlook: There’s really nothing new with the Wolves. They’re running at will up and down the field, and have a quarterback and receivers who are very efficient too.

The Wolves opened the season with a challenging slate of games, including Gainesville, Class AA’s No.1-ranked Carver-Columbus and Lovett. Now the test of playing in the subregion begins.

Prediction: BUFORD. Although Decatur is no pushover, the Wolves are hitting full stride as the subregion opens.

Oglethorpe County at Jackson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Panther Stadium, Jefferson

Coaches: Oglethorpe County, Larry Milligan; Jackson County, Billy Kirk

Records: Oglethorpe County (0-5, 0-2 Region 8B-AA), Jackson County (2-3, 0-2)

Key players: Oglethorpe County, DE/TE John Hensford (Sr.), LB/FB Davis Meyer (Sr.), WR Josh Jarrells (Jr.). Jackson County, WR/QB Tony Holton (Sr.), WR/QB Jalen Banks (6-1, 175 Jr.), LB Kelly Moates (5-11, 190 Sr.).

Outlook: The Panthers are in need of a win after dropping three straight, including a 54-6 loss last week to Elbert County. Luckily for them, winless Oglethorpe County is coming to town.

The Patriots are off to their worst start since 2008, and enter tonight averaging 7.6 points per game. After facing an offense like Elbert County’s last week, the Panthers should be able to contain the Patriots.

Prediction: JACKSON COUNTY. The two teams haven’t played since 1989 when the Patriots won 30-8. The Panthers don’t have to worry about that kind of outcome tonight.

Towns County at North Cobb Christian

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: North Cobb Christian Stadium

Coaches: Towns County, Kyle Langford; North Cobb Christian, Harry Miles

Records: Towns County (0-5); North Cobb Christian (2-3)

Key players: Towns County, WR/DB Noah Calhoun (5-10, 170 Jr.), WR/DB Billy Meier (5-7, 180 Sr.), OL/DL Josh Goodwin (5-11, 240 Sr.). North Cobb Christian, DE/FB Chad Smith (6-2, 210 Sr.), WR/RB Corey Harris (5-10, 165 Jr.), LB/FB Grant Titus (5-9, 165 Jr.).

Outlook: While Towns County hasn’t notched its first victory of the season, the Indians certainly have made progress. After losing in Week 3 to Copper Basin (Tenn.) 47-0, Towns County rebounded with a much more competitive 27-7 game against Hayesville (N.C.). Last week, the Indians battled Georgia Military to a 22-15 loss.

Prediction: NORTH COBB CHRISTIAN. Towns County is headed in a positive direction, but still not able to pick up the first victory of 2010.

Commerce at Athens Christian

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Eagle Field, Athens

Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Athens Christian, Bill Forman

Records: Commerce (1-3, 0-0 Region 8-A); Athens Christian (2-3, 1-0 Region 8-A)

Key players: Commerce, QB Cody Streetman (6-1, 185 Jr.), LB Tyler Adams (5-10, 185 Sr.), LB Josh Swistak (5-9, 190 Jr.). Athens Christian, QB Zack Resop (5-9, 170 Sr.), RB Anthony Crosby (6-2, 190 Sr.), WR Caleb Sheally (5-8, 155 Jr.).

Outlook: The Tigers dropped their first three games against teams from larger classifications, but behind five touchdowns from Streetman, got their first win, 41-34, over Washington-Wilkes on Sept. 17.

Athens Christian started its region season last week, snapping a three-game losing streak with a 34-10 victory over winless Social Circle.

Prediction: COMMERCE. After a slow start to their season, the Tigers will look to capitalize on the momentum of their last and soar past the Eagles.

Riverside Military Academy at Social Circle

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Redskin Stadium at Stephens Park, Social Circle

Coaches: Riverside Military, Chris Cotter; Social Circle, David Seawright

Records: Riverside Military (1-4, 0-1 Region 8-A), Social Circle (0-4, 0-1)

Key players: Riverside, LB Tarvin Dukes (6-2, 215 Sr.), QB Michael Gallup (6-0, 160 Sr.), P Victor Salcido (Jr.). Social Circle, QB Marvae Crawford (Sr.), K Tanner Preston (So.), RB Justice Russell (Sr.).

Outlook: The Eagles have dropped four straight since opening the season with a 7-3 win over Pinecrest Academy, and are coming off a 48-0 loss to George Walton Academy in the region opener last week. Not wanting to fall too far back in the standings, the Eagles need a win tonight against a winless Social Circle team.

That should happen as long as Dukes can get to the quarterback like he has in the first five games of the year. The Eagles linebacker currently leads the area with six sacks, and his 35 tackles (seven for a loss) are a team-high.

Prediction: RIVERSIDE MILITARY. Dukes and the defense lead the Eagles to a much-needed win.

Habersham Central at Winder-Barrow

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: W. Clair Harris Stadium, Winder

Coaches: Habersham Central, Stuart Cunningham; Winder-Barrow, David Wagner

Records: Habersham Central (1-4, 1-4 Region 8-AAAA); Winder-Barrow (0-4, 0-4)

Key players: Habersham Central, QB Kevin Ellison (6-0, 175 Jr.), RB Andre Barrs (5-6, 185 Sr.), LB Tyler Stinespring (6-1, 185 Sr.). Winder-Barrow, QB Christian Hodge (Fr.), RB Atrez Gladmon (Sr.), DB Kendrick Davis (Sr.).

Outlook: It took a few weeks, but it appears Habersham Central’s switch to the triple option is starting to click.

After four straight losses to open the season, the Raiders rushed for a school-record 434 yards last week in a 44-14 win over Madison County. Ellison ran for more than 200 yards for the second week in a row, finishing with a career best 241 yards on 23 carries.

Prediction: HABERSHAM CENTRAL. With Ellison and the offense finding their groove, the Raiders are too explosive for the winless Bulldoggs.

Fannin County at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Rebel Stadium, Blue Ridge

Coaches: Fannin County, Clark Drennon; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Records: Fannin County (2-2, 0-0 Region 8A-AA); Dawson County (0-4, 0-0)

Key players: Fannin County, QB Trevor Stone (Fr.), WR Ryan Nix (Sr.), RB Garrison Kreis (Sr.). Dawson County, OL/DL Zach Johnson (6-3, 300 Sr.), ATH Ethan Brown (6-0, 175 Sr.), RB Eian Perry (5-6, 155 Sr.).

Outlook: The Tigers are in the midst of a nine-game losing streak and in that span have been outscored 327-65 and shutout three times, and have lost all games by double digits, including a 55-7 loss to Chestatee on Sept. 17.

Dawson County has never defeated Fannin County — the Rebels own a 6-0 advantage over the Tigers and won last year’s meeting 24-0. The two schools have played every year since 2006, with Fannin County outscoring the Tigers 100-24.

Prediction: FANNIN COUNTY. The Rebels haven’t had a losing season since 2006 and there’s no reason to believe the Tigers, who haven’t had a winning season since 2005, will be able to do anything to stop their losing streak in this series.

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