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High school football: Week 9 previews
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Chestatee at White County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Warriors Stadium, Cleveland

Radio: 105.1-FM

Coaches: Chestatee, Stan Luttrell; White County, Tommy Flowers

Records: Chestatee (2-5, 0-3 Region 8A-AAA), White County (6-1, 3-0)

Key players: Chestatee, QB/DB Scott Chewning (5-10, 170 Sr.), WR/DB Brice Beck (6-0, 165 Sr.), LB Daniel Moreno (5-11,180 Sr.). White County, QB Cole Segraves (6-4, 195 So.), WR/RB/DB Ashely Lowery (6-2, 205 Sr.), DB Patrick Jones (5-11, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: With a head-to-head advantage against Lumpkin County and Stephens County (both 2-1 in subregion play) already locked down, White County can secure a spot in the region title game with a win tonight. 

Last week, Cam Segraves’ fourth quarter interception secured the win for the Warriors against Stephens County.
On Oct. 1, White County got over the first of three subregion hurdles with a 21-14 win against Lumpkin County in Cleveland. Its other subregion victory is against North Hall.

If White County were to lose, it would have one more crack at securing the subregion title at Franklin County on Oct. 29.

Offensively, White County is led by Segraves (882 yards, five touchdowns) and Lowery (709 yards, eight TDs).

Meanwhile, Chestatee is trying to snap a seven-game subregion losing streak that dates back to last season. Last week, the War Eagles amassed 310 yards of offense in a 41-14 loss to Franklin County.

Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. The Warriors have too much to play for to not be on their game tonight.

Dawson County at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: East Hall Stadium, Gainesville

Radio: 550-AM

Coaches: Dawson County, Jeff Lee; East Hall, Bryan Gray

Records: Dawson County (1-6, 1-2 Region 8A-AA); East Hall (3-4, 2-1)

Key players: Dawson County, QB Tyler Dominy (6-4, 165 So.), LB Cody Smith (5-10, 200 So.), RB Zach Martin (6-0, 200 So.). East Hall, RB/DB Jamond Witt (5-7, 160 Jr.), OL/DL Sterling Bailey (6-5, 265 Sr.), DE/RB Chaz Cheeks (6-5, 221 Sr.).

Outlook: The Vikings experienced a minor setback last week with a 20-7 loss to Fannin County, but will look to get back on track against a one-win Tigers team.

It’s worth noting the Tigers’ and Vikings’ only common opponent was Fannin County, and Dawson County beat them 24-17.

Fannin County had the answer for  Witt, breaking his three-game streak of 200 or more rushing yards. Last week, according to The News Observer, Witt was held to just 40 yards on 16 carries.

Prediction: EAST HALL. Bailey and Cheeks will disrupt Dominy and the Tigers’ pass-heavy offense, adding to Dominy’s already high interception total. Witt will run circles around a Tigers defense that has allowed nearly 30 points a game.

Jackson County at Jefferson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

Coaches: Jackson County, Billy Kirk; Jefferson, T. McFerrin

Records: Jackson County (3-4, 1-3 Region 8B-AA); Jefferson (3-4, 1-3)

Key players: Jackson County, ATH Alex Crawford (5-8, 140 Sr.), LB Billy Manis (6-2, 225 Sr.), RB Austin McDonald (5-10, 210 Sr.). Jefferson, RB/LB Chris Jackson (5-11, 185 Sr.), FB/DE Zach Allen (6-1, 230 Sr.), QB Bryant Shirreffs (6-2, 190 So.).

Outlook: Both teams have been all but eliminated from postseason contention, so tonight’s game is purely for county bragging rights.

That in itself should be plenty to pack the bleachers. Despite being separated by only one mile, the schools have met on the football field only twice, with the last meeting in 1985. Both will enter tonight with something to prove, and neither team is downplaying the importance of beating their neighbors.

Jefferson is the two-time defending 8-AA champion, but dreams of a third straight title came crashing down after back-to-back losses to Hart County and North Oconee.

The Dragons were competitive in those games, and in a 24-21 loss to North Hall, but they were blown out 51-7 by Elbert County last week. In the loss, the Jefferson passing game was held to only 8 yards, while the Blue Devils ran 40 times for 350 yards.

The Dragons will be looking to get Shirreffs back on track this week; he leads the offense with 879 passing yards in his first year as a starter and has accounted for 13 touchdowns.

The season has been similarly disappointing for Jackson County, but the Panthers still have hope of finishing .500 for the first time 1992.

Prediction: JEFFERSON. The Dragons have the better offensive firepower.

Flowery Branch at Loganville

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Red Devil Stadium, Loganville

Coaches: Flowery Branch, Lee Shaw; Loganville, Eric Godfree

Records: Flowery Branch (7-0, 7-0 Region 8-AAAA); Loganville (5-2, 5-2)

Key players: Flowery Branch, QB Austin Brown (6-1, 195 Sr.), WR Casey Osborne (6-3, 185 Jr.), DB Kyle Famiano (5-9, 180 Sr.); Heritage, RB Mykel Wyyet (Sr.), QB Garrett Ford (Jr.), DB Brandon O’Rourke (Sr.).

Outlook: The Red Devils will present the Falcons’ toughest challenge until their final regular season matchup against undefeated Clarke Central. Flowery Branch has passed every 8-AAAA test thus far with flying colors and if it passes this week’s, it will all but assure the Falcons will be playing for the region title Nov. 5.

Loganville’s only losses this season are to Clarke Central (45-32) and the Falcons’ opponent last week, Heritage (31-17).

Flowery Branch nearly shut out Heritage last week — the Patriots scored a defensive touchdown — winning 31-7.

Prediction: FLOWERY BRANCH. The Falcons have too many offensive weapons and variations in which to use them and execute in a precise and urgent manner. The defense is quick to the ball and makes plays, having scored a touchdown in each of the past two weeks.

North Hall at Franklin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Ed Bryant Stadium, Carnesville

Radio: 102.9-FM

Coaches: North Hall, Bob Christmas; Franklin County, Tommy Welch

Records: North Hall (3-4, 1-2 Region 8A-AAA), Franklin County (3-3-1, 1-2)

Key players: North Hall, QB Kanler Coker (6-4, 190 Jr.), RB/LB Imani Cross (6-2, 220 Jr.), WR C.J. Curry (6-2, 190 Jr.). Franklin County, LB Seth Strickland (5-8, 170 Sr.), QB Kevin Harris (6-1, 190 Sr.), OL/DL Ben Parten (6-2, 230 Sr.).

Outlook: Even though both of these teams are a longshot to make the playoffs, neither is completely out of the running.
North Hall can punch its ticket to the region play-in contest if it wins out against the Lions and Stephens County, which will need to lose tonight at Lumpkin County for that scenario to occur. In that case, the Trojans would be the No. 3 seed to the play-in contest. Also, North Hall makes the region play-in with two more wins, along with a Stephens County win against Chestatee and a Lumpkin County win over Chestatee.
Likewise, Franklin County will need to win out against the Trojans and White County to have a chance to get into the play-in, along with a Chestatee win against the Warriors today.

Prediction: NORTH HALL. The Trojans have been close the past two weeks. They’ll get the kinks in execution worked out tonight in Carnesville.

Gainesville vs. Walnut Grove

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: City Park, Gainesville

Radio: 1240-AM,

Coaches: Gainesville, Bruce Miller; Walnut Grove, Harris Rainbow

Records: Gainesville (6-1, 3-0 Region 8B-AAA); Walnut Grove (1-6, 1-2)

Key players: Gainesville, LB A.J. Johnson (6-3, 235 Sr.), QB Deshaun Watson (6-1, 170 Fr.), WR Stephen Mason (6-0, 150 Jr.). Walnut Grove, RB Dene Phillips (So.), RB Duronta Momon (So.), LB D.J. Brooks (Sr.).

Outlook: The No. 7-ranked Red Elephants are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season, a 49-17 thrashing of then-No. 9 Monroe Area that put them well on their way to playing for their third straight region title.

Walnut Grove is also coming off a big win, but while its 42-35 victory over Johnson won’t equate to playing for a region title, it was still huge because it was the program’s first varsity win in history. Momon led the Warriors by scoring five touchdowns — three rushing, two receiving — which propelled the offense to its largest point total of the season.

Touchdowns won’t come easy against Gainesville, as the defense is allowing around 250 yards of offense and 18 points per game. Johnson continues to dominate on both offense and defense and he leads the area with 112 tackles.

Prediction: GAINESVILLE. Walnut Grove won’t be able to keep pace with Watson and the potent Gainesville offense.

Buford at Greater Atlanta Christian

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Spartan Sports Complex, Lilburn    Coaches: Buford, Jess Simpson; Greater Atlanta Christian, Tim Cokely
Records: Buford (7-1, 3-0 Region 6A-AA); Greater Atlanta Christian (6-1, 2-0)

Key players: Buford, RB Seon Jones (5-9, 178 Sr.), TE/DE Dillon Lee (6-4, 228 Jr.), LB/FB Nathan Staub (6-3, 214 Jr.). Greater Atlanta Christian, WR/DB Zach Strickland (Sr.), QB/DB David McTier (So.), QB/WR/DB Clay Metzger (Jr.).

Outlook: This will be the biggest match-up so far this season in Region 6A-AA with both Buford and Greater Atlanta Christian undefeated. The winner will most likely secure a state playoff spot as the subregion champion, with the loser forced to play their way in the final week of the regular season.

Class AA’s second-ranked Buford is outscoring subregion opponents by an average of 43.2 points per game so far after defeating Avondale 48-2 last week.

The two teams have faced two common subregion opponents this season, Decatur and Clarkston. Buford defeated Decatur 42-7, while Greater Atlanta Christian gave up 18 points in a 28-18 win. Each team scored more than 40 points against Clarkston, with Great Atlanta Christian winning 42-7 last week.

Prediction: BUFORD. The Wolves have too much defense and Jones has too much power on the ground for the Spartans to stop.

West Hall vs. Monroe Area

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Spartan Stadium, Oakwood

Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; Monroe Area, Matt Fligg

Records: West Hall (3-4, 1-2 Region 8B-AAA); Monroe Area (6-1, 2-1)

Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 240 Sr.), QB/DB Chandler Newton (6-2, 180 Sr.), WR Brandon Fuqua (5-10, 170 Sr.). Monroe Area, RB Tre Burdette (6-1, 185 Sr.), DE Stephon Tuitt (6-5, 260 Sr.), TE/DE Kendarious Whitehead (6-3, 215 Jr.).

Outlook: Since starting the year 2-0, the Spartans have lost four of five, including a 42-7 defeat to Oconee County, a team that had one win entering that game last week.

Stopping the skid will be difficult tonight, as West Hall entertains a Monroe Area team fresh off its first loss of the year and hungry to get back to its winning ways. The big question mark for the Purple Hurricanes is the status of QB Demontavious Smith, who injured his shoulder last week in a loss to Gainesville. Smith is questionable for tonight’s game.

West Hall also has injury issues at quarterback, as Stephens left last week’s loss with a thigh bruise and it’s uncertain whether he’ll play tonight.

Stephens is more than likely to tough out the injury like he has in the past, but if he can’t go, Newton has shown he’s more than capable of running the offense. Newton has six touchdowns, 590 yards and has completed 56 percent of his passes as a quarterback.

Prediction: MONROE AREA. The Purple Hurricanes prove why they’re poised to make the playoffs.

Johnson vs. Oconee County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, Oakwood

Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; Oconee County, Mitch Olson

Records: Johnson (1-6, 0-3 Region 8B-AAA); Oconee County (2-5, 1-3)

Key players: Johnson, RB Cedric Harris (So.), OL/DL David Harkins (6-0, 280 Sr.), QB Luke Gilleland (5-10, 175 Jr.). Oconee County, QB Conner White (So.), QB/DB Santonio Brown (Sr.), RB/DB Davis Aiken (Jr.).

Outlook: After their thrilling win over West Hall two weeks ago, the Knights suffered a disappointing loss last week to previously winless Walnut Grove.

The Knights will take on a different set of Warriors tonight. Like Walnut Grove, Oconee County likes to run the ball and had success doing so last week in a blowout win over West Hall, amassing 246 yards on 29 carries. Brown, who split time at QB with White last week, amassed 79 yards of that total and played an integral role in the passing game with two touchdown passes.

Prediction: OCONEE COUNTY. The Warriors win their second game in as many weeks against a team from Oakwood. 

Lakeview Academy at Georgia Military

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Davenport Field, Milledgeville

Coaches: Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn; Georgia Military, Brad Owens

Records: Lakeview Academy (2-4); Georgia Military (4-3)

Key players: Lakeview Academy, RB Nick Drury (5-11, 175 Sr.), QB Jackson Wells (6-5, 175 Sr.), LB Mills Rogers (5-11, 180 Sr.); Georgia Military, DB Devonta Walker (Fr.), LB Skylar Walker (Jr.).

Outlook: Lakeview Academy is coming off a 49-21 win over North Cobb Christian, which marks the first time the Lions have won two games in a single season in school history. The win also marked a school record for points scored in a game.

Drury had five touchdowns last week and the offense accumulated 413 rushing yards out of its triple option. If the Lions want to notch a third win, they’ll have to have a similar showing this week on both sides of the ball.

Prediction: LAKEVIEW ACADEMY. The rushing game of the Lions is rolling and that won’t stop against a team that is giving up more than 23 points per game.

Habersham Central at Heritage

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Evans Memorial Stadium, Conyers

Radio: 99.3-FM

Coaches: Habersham Central, Stuart Cunningham; Heritage, Chad Frazier

Records: Habersham Central (2-5, 2-5 8-AAAA); Heritage (5-3, 5-3)

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.); Heritage, RB/DB Quami Stanley (Jr.), WR/DB Dominic Craft (Jr.), RB/LB Toby Brotherton (Sr.)

Outlook: Habersham Central is coming off a bye week after being handled by Flowery Branch 42-7 at Raiders Stadium. Cunningham and the Raiders coaching staff had a chance last Friday to watch Flowery Branch dominate Heritage, 31-7.

Unfortunately, from those two games you can only take away one thing — the Falcons are really good.

All that said, this should be a close game.

Prediction: HABERSHAM CENTRAL. They have the luxury of a bye and a possible edge if they scouted them live at Flowery Branch last week.

Rabun County at Union County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Coaches: Rabun County, Danny Durham; Union County, Brian Allison

Records: Rabun County (1-6, 0-3 Region 8A-AA); Union County (2-5, 1-2)

Key players: Rabun County, RB Jack Woerner (5-11, 190 Sr.), QB Tanner Wright (6-2, 200 Sr.), WR Dillon Bleckley (6-2, 210). Union County, QB/RB Jesse Wright (6-1, 180 Sr.), WR/DB Garrett Smith (6-0, 175 Sr.), WR/DB Josh Schultz (6-0, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: When Union County denied Dawson County at the goalline in the final 90 seconds last week, it not only preserved the Panthers’ 13-7 win, it kept hope of a postseason alive.

The victory snapped the Panthers’ five-game losing skid and landed them just a game out of second place in the wide-open 8-AA North. If Union County can win its final two subregion games, it will earn a spot in a Nov. 5 region play-in games with a playoff berth on the line.

Prediction: UNION COUNTY. The Panthers have more to play for as well as positive momentum on their side.

Fannin County at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Rebel Stadium, Blue Ridge

Coaches: Fannin County, Clark Drennan; Banks County, Blair Armstrong

Records: Fannin County (4-3, 2-1 Region 8A-AA); Banks County (6-1, 3-0)

Key players: Fannin County, QB Trevor Stone (Fr.), WR Ryan Nix (Sr.), RB Garrison Kreis (Sr.). Banks County, RB/LB Jeremy Greenway (5-9, 185 Sr.), RB Dylan Lackey (5-10, 175 Sr.), LB Matthew Patton (6-0, 225 Sr.).

Outlook: Banks County returned to the playoffs for the first time in a decade two years ago, but this year’s team still has the chance to raise the bar. One more win will give the Leopards their most successful season since 1997, the last time they topped the six-win plateau.

A win tonight would also bring the Leopards to the doorstep of the 8-AA championship game. In fact, a win tonight paired with an East Hall loss would clinch the north subregion for Banks County.

Prediction: BANKS COUNTY. Until someone proves otherwise, the Leopards look like the class of Region 8A-AA.

Prince Avenue Christian at Commerce

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tigers Stadium, Commerce

Coaches: Prince Avenue, Mark Farriba; Commerce, Steve Savage

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

Key players: Prince Avenue, QB/RB/DB Carl Mattox (5-10, 155 So.), RB/DB Avery McNeely (5-5, 140 So.), QB/RB William McNeely (5-9, 160 Sr.); Commerce, QB Cody Streetman (6-0, 185 Jr.), LB Josh Swistak (5-9, 190 Jr.), C Zach Harmon (6-2, 200 Sr.).

Outlook: Commerce suffered its first subregion loss of the season last week, losing to Athens Academy 28-21. In that game, Streetman had 165 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while throwing for 99 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

The dual threat of Streetman passing and running on offense has been a good counterweight to the defense of Sergio Rojas (nine tackles last week) and Swistak (eight tackles). While the Tigers are 3-4 overall, three of those losses have come against opponents from higher classifications.

Prediction: PRINCE AVENUE. With the multi-threat options of Mattox, Avery McNeely and William McNeely, the Wolverines will have too many explosive opportunities for the Tigers to counter.

Glascock County at Towns County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Frank McClure Stadium, Hiawasse

Coaches: Glascock County, Chris Kelley; Towns County, Kyle Langford

Records: Glascock County (3-4); Towns County (2-5)

Key players: Glascock County, QB Brandon Osborne (Sr.), RB Antonio Gibson (Sr.), FB/S Montavious Myricks (Sr.); Towns County, WR/DB Billy Meier (5-7, 180 Sr.), RB/DL Taylor Denton (5-11, 220 Sr.), OL/DL Josh Barnes (6-3, 285 Sr.).

Outlook: Towns County is coming off a 14-7 win over River Ridge last week, while Glascock County lost to Georgia Military 25-22. The numbers that each team has put up this season are almost identical.

The two teams are giving up a similar amount of points per game so far this season (Glascock with 30.3 and Towns County with 29) but Glascock has managed to score a total of 195 points, compared to Towns County’s 111.

Against common opponents, each team defeated North Cobb Christian and each lost to Georgia Military, but Glascock managed to score 61 points on North Cobb Christian, while Towns County scored 48. Towns County lost by a touchdown to Georgia Military, and Glascock lost by a field goal.

Prediction: GLASCOCK COUNTY. The Panthers have improved each week this season and lost several games by close margins. Look for superior numbers to wear down an Indians team that is short-handed.

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