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High school football: Week 9 previews
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Game of the week 


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Blessed Trinity Stadium, Roswell

Records: Chestatee (3-4, 0-1 Region 7-AAAA); Blessed Trinity (5-2, 1-0 Region 7-AAAA)

Who to watch: Nick Lyles may be the powerhouse of Chestatee’s offense, though quarterback Storm Yarbrough has come into his own as well. Yarbrough has completed 53 percent of his passes for 1,330 yards, 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions this season. The junior signal caller even orchestrated a 15-point comeback against Region 7-AAAA West Hall last week, throwing for 223 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Yarbrough fired a 33-yard touchdown and converted a 2-point conversion pass to bring the War Eagles with seven of the Spartans before the half. And with 3:19 left to play, he converted a third and long into a 30-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Goodall to tie it.

Blessed Trinity sophomore running back Steele Chambers (108 carries, 789 yards, 11 touchdowns) rushed for a season-high 234 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries in a 34-7 win over White County last week. He also has three picks and 43 total tackles for the Titans on defense.

Game notes: After starting region play in disappointing fashion with a 35-28 loss to West Hall in Week 8, the War Eagles faceoff with the Titans for the very first time on the road. The Titans enter this Region 7-AAAA contest averaging 183.7 rushing yards per game. The War Eagles have given up an average of 293 rushing yards each week, including 479 yards against the wishbone set of Lumpkin County in Week 5.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Records: North Hall (5-2, 2-1 Region 7-AAA); Union County (5-2, 1-2 Region 7-AAA)

Who to watch: North Hall’s Kyle Bacus is the spark for its wing-T offense. The senior fullback has been held to under 100 yards just once, but has otherwise dialed in 1,062 yards and 13 touchdowns in seven games.

Game notes: The Trojans are already in good position to make a run to the playoffs, and made it clear they can get a win in other forms against Lumpkin County, scoring touchdowns on three consecutive plays — uncharacteristic of their traditional ground-and-pound approach on offense — to beat their region foes 28-20 last week. The Panthers were handled by Dawson County in a 57-26 loss last week. This will be the first time these two teams have squared off on the gridiron since 1967.

Union County quarterback Cole Wright (80-of-121 passing, 927 passing yards) threw for a season-high 300 yards with two touchdowns and one interception to help the Panthers win a 51-46 shootout against East Hall on Sept. 30. Wright has also added 735 yards on the ground.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Maginnis Field, Gainesville

Records: Riverside (1-5, 1-5 Region 8-A); Commerce (4-2, 3-2 Region 8-A)

Game notes: The Tigers blanked Providence Christian 63-0 last week, an opponent the Eagles squeaked by earlier this year. The Eagles are still in search of their second win this season, and will attempt to bring this all-time series to two wins apiece against the Tigers.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: West Hall Stadium, Oakwood

Records: West Hall (5-2, 1-0 Region 7-AAAA); Marist (4-2)

Who to watch: The ground game of Marist will leave a mark on any defense. The War Eagles rushed for 322 yards on a combined 59 carries against Gainesville. In that game, fullback Michael Addicks, carrying 13 times for 76 yards and a pair of scores, in a 24-10 win at City Park Stadium on Sept. 30.

West Hall’s defense compiled seven sacks, three from Ashun Favorite, and intercepted Chestatee’s Storm Yarbrough twice in their Region 7-AAAA opener.

Game notes: Marist’s offense is known for milking the game clock. The War Eagles held the ball for 33 minutes in the game against the Red Elephants.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Falcon Field, Flowery Branch

Records: Flowery Branch (3-4, 2-1 Region 8-AAAAA); Loganville (5-1, 2-0 Region 8-AAAAA)

Who to watch: Loganville running back Darryl Giles Jr. has a knack for finding the end zone. Giles Jr. averages 104 rushing yards per game and leads the team with 10 total touchdowns, including nine on the ground. He scored four times in a 35-0 shutout of Walnut Grove.

The Falcons may have a versatile quarterback tandem, but Nick Lance (59 of 88, 822 yards, six touchdowns, four interceptions) continues to be the primary conductor of this high-powered offense. He could be in for a big night against a Red Devil defense, so long as he stays upright in the pocket. The Red Devils were tagged for four Jack Mangel passing touchdowns — three in the fourth quarter — in last week’s OT thriller with Clarke Central.

Game notes: Loganville is coming off a thrilling OT showdown with Clarke Central, in which the Red Devils captured their second region win by a 43-37 decision. The Falcons are looking to rebound after a 41-7 loss to Walnut Grove last week.

The Falcons have only lost once in the six-game series thus far, a 35-0 shutout at Red Devil Stadium in 2015.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Waters-Wilkins Stadium, Athens

Records: Buford (5-1, 2-0 Region 8-AAAAA); Cedar Shoals (3-3, 0-2)

Who to watch: The Wolves share the carries in the running game. It showed last week in a 49-0 win against Johnson. Anthony Grant had a 46-yard touchdown and his night was done after two just carries. Fellow running back Christian Turner carried the ball six times for 154 yards and three scores in the first quarter. Buford’s Derrian Brown had five carries for 80 yards and a touchdown as well in the win.

Game notes: Since dropping its opener to Class AAAAAAA Roswell, Buford has been on a roll. The No. 3 Wolves have won five in a row, even capturing their second win in region play with a 48-0 shutout of Johnson last week. The Wolves have not lost a region game on the field since 2009. The Jaguars lost to Flowery Branch 33-0 on Sept. 30, and were idle last week.

This is the first meeting for these two schools.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Longhorn Stadium, Sugar Hill

Records: Habersham Central (4-2, 0-1 8-AAAAAA); Lanier (4-2, 1-0)

Who to watch: Habersham Central quarterback Cole Wilbanks could be the difference maker in this game. Lanier has been stout in recent years in terms of run defense, so the game could hinge on the passing game for the Raiders if they hope to be successful.

Game notes: Lanier is just in its sixth season, so the two schools have not played each other before tonight. The Raiders are coming off a 24-7 home loss to Gainesville, while the Longhorns opened region play with a 34-21 win. Habersham Central is at its best record through six games since 2011. For Lanier, 4-2 is its worst record through six games since going 3-3 to open the 2012 season. Lanier was looked at as a lock to make one of the four playoff spots from the region, while Habersham Central was expected to be a bubble team - fighting with Apalachee and Winder-Barrow for the fourth and final spot. If the Raiders were to pull out a victory tonight, it would set them up for a big finish to the year with Dacula, Winder-Barrow and Apalachee remaining on the schedule.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Titan Stadium, Bogart

Records: Jefferson (5-1, 1-0 8-AAAA); North Oconee (0-6, 0-1)

Who to watch: Colby Wood and Zack Boobas will remain workhorses for the Dragons, at least early on in the game. Jefferson has been able to spread the ball around a little more in the running game this season and the big offensive line for the Dragons has been a big reason why.

Game notes: Jefferson has won four of the six matchups against the Titans. The Dragons are on a three-game winning streak after falling to Thomson in a high-powered Class AAAA matchup at the beginning of September. North Oconee is still looking for its first win this season. The closest game the Titans have played this season was a 10-point loss to Morgan County on Sept. 2.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, Oakwood

Records: Johnson (0-7, 0-3 8-AAAAA); Clarke Central (3-4, 1-2)

Who to watch: Cody Long has been the go-to man in the running game for the Knights. He’ll need to have a big game for Johnson to pick up its first win of the season.

Game notes: The Gladiators are 16-1-1 against the Knights all-time. Johnson topped Clarke Central in 1972, the first meeting between the two, and then tied it two years later. The two played each year from 1972-87, but haven’t played since. The Gladiators are coming off of two straight losses to Buford and Loganville. Both teams are fighting for their seasons in terms of playoff hopes. Should the Knights fall in this one, they would be out of contention altogether.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Rebel Stadium, Blue Ridge

Records: Dawson County (4-1, 2-0 7-AAA); Fannin County (2-4, 0-2)

Who to watch: Coey Watson accounted for five touchdowns (1 passing, 4 rushing) and 264 yards a week ago against Union County.

Game notes: Dawson County is 4-8 all-time against Fannin County. The Rebels won the last two years. Dawson County won the four previous meetings. This contest could decide a spot in the playoffs, though it is still early. If the Tigers win, they’ll have three region victories with three region games remaining. For the Rebels, it’s the opposite scenario. If they lose, it will make the playoffs a longshot.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Spartan Sports Complex, Norcross

Records: Lumpkin County (3-3, 1-1 7-AAA); Greater Atlanta Christian (6-1, 3-0)

Who to watch: Zach Matthews has rushed for 845 yards and six touchdowns for the Indians so far this season.

Game notes: Lumpkin County has lost all six previous meetings against Greater Atlanta Christian. The Indians, under the helm of first-year coach Shane Williamson, are coming off a 28-20 loss to North Hall in region play. The Spartans have won three region contests and will effectively seal their spot in the playoffs with a win tonight. Last week, Greater Atlanta Christian quarterback Davis Mills, a Stanford commit, finished his night at halftime and was 10 of 12 passing for 193 yards and three touchdowns in a 69-12 win against East Hall.


When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Keith Henderson Stadium, Monroe

Records: Lakeview Academy (1-5, 1-4 Region 8-A); George Walton (5-1, 4-1)

Who to watch: Lakeview Academy quarterback Alec Bornhorst has 1,150 yards passing this season and nearly led a comeback win against Athens Christian two weeks ago.

Game notes: The Lions have fallen to the Bulldogs in each of the last two seasons.

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