Region 8A-AAA really is up for grabs. There is no clear frontrunner at this point.
With subregion play scheduled to open this Friday, all six teams in the north have a record at or above .500.
Before subregion play opens, White County, Lumpkin County and Stephens County all sit at 3-1, while Franklin County is 2-1-1. North Hall and Chestatee are both sitting at 2-2.
However, the subregion picture will start to come into focus a little bit this week. White County plays host to Lumpkin County, Chestatee entertains North Hall, and Stephens County and Franklin County face each other.
Last week, Lumpkin County and North Hall were both winners. White County and Stephens County had a bye week.
THREE OF A KIND: For the second time this season, Lumpkin County junior Ian McIntosh scored three touchdowns in the same game. On Friday, McIntosh scored for the Indians on runs of 44 and 11 yards in a win against Johnson at Billy Ellis Memorial.
McIntosh also scored on a 50-yard touchdown catch from senior quarterback Taylor Guthrie just before the half.
In Week 1, McIntosh made Lumpkin County school history as the first player to score an offensive, defensive and special teams touchdown in the same game, a win against Riverside Military in Dahlonega.
RAMIFICATIONS OF EJECTION: Gainesville (3-1) coach Bruce Miller, according to his own understanding of GHSA rules, will not be able to coach in Friday’s game against Johnson as a result of his ejection from last Friday’s 28-7 win against Franklin County. Miller was ejected as a result of two unsportmanlike penalty calls — both for player equipment violations.
The second unsportsmanlike penalty call occurred when one of his player’s lost his mouth piece. Miller says the one-game suspension is excessive.
“I think it is a rule that certainly needs to be looked at,” Miller said. “It’s not like I did anything wrong.”
If unable to coach, Miller says that defensive coordinator Jim Pavao will assume his role on the sideline.
HEAD’S UP PLAY: When Chestatee defensive lineman Garrett Bennett lost his helmet in a first quarter play against Monroe Area on Friday, he didn’t give up on pursuit of the ballcarrier. After losing his helmet away from the play, Bennett ran toward the play and assisted on the tackle. The Purple Hurricanes fans thought it was a dead ball. So did Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell.
NOT FAR FROM THE BALL: Chestatee senior Scott Chewning plays all night without much rest. Not only does he lead the War Eagles at quarterback, he also plays free safety, punts and handles punt returns on special teams.
“He’s really doing a good job for us,” Luttrell said. “It really isn’t normal to have a player in on that many phases of the game.”
In last Friday’s 27-0 loss against Monroe Area, Chewning completed six passes for 47 yards, had the game’s longest run of 68 yards and averaged 34 yards on his punts for the night.
PLAYING LIKE A CHAMPION: Flowery Branch High is known for having great quarterback play. Senior Austin Brown is looking to follow in the line of brothers Jaybo and Connor Shaw. On Friday, Brown has his best night of the season by completing 21 of 24 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns for the Falcons (5-0, 5-0 Region 8-AAAA).
In a 49-0 win against Rockdale County, Brown tossed two touchdowns to Logan Conley and one each to Casey Osborne and Brody Thomas.
At the midway point of the regular season, Brown is the area’s leading passer with 1,148 passing yards and 12 touchdowns.
Just as impressive, he still hasn’t thrown an interception.
Flowery Branch has a bye Friday, followed by a trip to face Habersham Central (1-4, 1-4) on Oct. 8 at John Larry Black Field in Mount Airy.
STARTING TO CLICK: Habersham Central gave a taste of what its triple-option offense could do when it rushed for 300 yards in a 38-14 loss against Clarke Central on Sept. 17.
However, the Raiders finally capitalized on its offense and a 44-14 win against Madison County on Friday.
Against Madison County, junior quarterback Kevin Ellison had 23 carries for 232 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Zac Franks added 10 carries for 85 yards.
“It was just time that we finally got a win,” Habersham Central coach Stuart Cunningham said.
“We felt like we were getting closer when we played Clarke Central.”
SUPER SPEEDSTER: It took a week off in Region 8A-AA for East Hall’s (1-3) Jamond Witt to stay out of the end zone. Through four games, he’s been one of the biggest scoring threats in Northeast Georgia.
Witt is one of the area’s leading rushers with 50 carries for 619 yards (12.4 yards a carry) and five touchdowns, and eight catches for 154 yards (19.2 yards a catch) and another pair of touchdowns.