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HS Football Previews: Week 10
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East Hall’s Abraham Sepulveda (55) tackles Franklin County’s Conner Williams while teammate Noah Dyer looks on at East Hall Stadium. - photo by Jared Putnam

Read a preview of Chestatee vs. North Hall here: 

Gainesville vs. Loganville

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: City Park Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: Gainesville, Bruce Miller; Loganville, Mike Parris

Records: Gainesville (6-2, 6-1 Region 8-AAAAA); Loganville (4-4, 3-4)

Key players: Gainesville, QB Mikey Gonzalez (5-9, 165 Sr.); WR Messiah Dorsey (5-11, 180 Jr.); LB J.D. Sosebee (6-0, 220 Sr.). Loganville, RB Darryl Giles Jr. (5-11, 180 So.); QB Cody Mixon (Jr.); LB Cameron Taube (5-11, 185 Jr.).

Outlook: The Red Elephants are in firm control of second place in 8-AAAAA, while the Red Devils have seen a hit to their playoff chances after back-to-back losses to Salem and Flowery Branch.
Gainesville’s senior quarterback Gonzalez set a new school record for single-game passing yards (457) in last week’s win against Cedar Shoals.

He broke Deshaun Watson’s record of 433 from the 2013 postseason against South Paulding. Gonzalez is now up to 2,044 yards and 23 touchdown throws on the season, while only throwing six interceptions.

In the victory against the Jaguars, Dorsey also set a school single-game receiving record with 234 yards.

He’s now Gainesville’s leading receiver with 610 yards and six touchdowns.

Gainesville would like the No. 2 seed to the postseason to ensure a home game in the playoff opener. Lanier can close out the 8-AAAAA title with a win against Winder-Barrow tonight in Sugar Hill.

The Red Elephants lost the head-to-head meeting against the Longhorns 26-23 on Oct. 10.

For Loganville, Giles is currently ranked No. 9 in the state with 1,325 yards.

Gainesville wraps up the regular season at Flowery Branch on Nov. 7.

Riverside Military vs. Union County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Maginnis Field, Gainesville

Coaches: Riverside Military, Gary Downs; Union County, Brian Allison

Records: Riverside Military (2-6, 1-3 Region 8-AA); Union County (7-1, 3-1)

Key players: Riverside Military, LB Cole Garcia (6-2, 230 Sr.); TE/DE Avery Cagle (6-4, 220 Sr.); WR/LB Chris Howard (6-2, 215 Sr.). Union County, QB Joseph Mancuso (6-4, 200 Jr.); WR Jacob Rogers (6-2, 185 Sr.); LB Chase Barnett (5-9, 200 Sr.).

Outlook: After a loss to region leader Rabun County on Oct. 17, Union County still has the advantage for second place in Region 8-AA. The Panthers have a matching 3-1 region mark as Greene County, but have the upper hand as a result of a 42-27 head-to-head win on Oct. 10.

Mancuso remains one of the most proficient passers in the state, throwing for 2,164 yards and 27 touchdowns, while only throwing one pick through eight games.

Union County operates a pass-heavy offense, throwing for 2,191 yards and rushing for 1,377 on the season.

Rogers (625 yards, 11 touchdowns) and senior Robert Prunier (33 catches, 508 yards) are the Panthers leaders at wide receiver.

Barnett is Union County’s best defender, racking up 122 tackles (85 solo) and has caused five fumbles.

Garcia (87 tackles) and Howard (78 stops) are Riverside’s leaders on the defense.

Flowery Branch at Salem

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Evans Stadium, Conyers

Coaches: Flowery Branch, Chris Griffin; Salem, John Starr

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

Key players: Flowery Branch, RB Jeremiah Goss (5-9, 200 So.); LB Cole Ford (6-0, 215 Sr.); LB/TE Zack Smith (5-11, 220 Sr.). Salem, RB/DB Hasan Boddie (5-10, 185 Sr.); WR Kanome McIntosh (6-1, 170 Sr.); QB Tristin Hernandez (5-10, 160 So.).

Outlook: Flowery Branch is still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt. The Falcons would need to win out against Salem and Gainesville, and hope the Seminoles also lose their final game of the season against winless Cedar Shoals.

The Falcons have played better in recent weeks, including last Friday’s 29-14 homecoming win against Loganville.

Goss remains the Falcons’ top ball carrier with 758 yards, while sophomore Jasen Johnson is second on the program with 82 carries for 505 yards. Ford remains Flowery Branch’s leader on defense with 66 stops, followed by Smith with 53.

Salem is still in solid standing to earn a playoff spot, despite last week’s 42-35 loss to region frontrunner Lanier. The Seminoles’ only other loss of the season came against Gainesville, 29-6, on Oct. 3 at City Park Stadium.

Lanier can secure the region title with a win tonight against Winder-Barrow in Sugar Hill.

Johnson vs. Franklin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: Johnson, Jason Roquemore; Franklin County, Jerry Underwood

Records: Johnson (2-6), Franklin County (2-6, 1-4 Region 7-AAA)

Key players: Johnson, OL/DL Donyae Brown (5-11, 220 Sr.); OL/DL Eli Vasquez (5-10, 240 Jr.); WR/DB Orion Pittman (6-0, 170). Franklin County, RB/SS Conner Williams (5-8, 150 So.); QB Tyrique David (5-11, 160 So.); FB/SS Dylan Smith (5-8, 165 Sr.).

Outlook: Johnson comes off its second bye week of the season hoping to pick up its third win against a team that has lost four straight. After a spirited display at East Hall, in which the Knights picked up two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Roquemore’s team will look again to playmaker Pittman to make crucial defensive plays against Franklin County’s David.

For Franklin County, Williams ran the ball 41 times for 150 yards in last week’s loss to East Hall.

The Lions are averaging just under 12 points per game in each of its last four losses, but gave No. 2 seed Lumpkin County a scare earlier this month in Carnesville.

Johnson finishes the season next week with an away game at Dawson County (1-7, 1-4 Region 7-AAA).

West Hall at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Leopards Stadium, Homer

Coaches: West Hall, Tony Lotti; Banks County, Biff Parson
Records: West Hall (7-1, 4-0 Region 7-AAA); Banks County (5-3, 2-2)

Key players: West Hall, RB/DB Kwon Williams (5-10, 185 Jr.); WR/DB Tyquan Statham (6-2, 200 Jr.); P Anthony Lotti (6-0, 180 Jr.). Banks County, WR/CB Zez Steeple (5-9, 145 Jr.); RB/QB/LB Trevae Cain (Jr.); QB/FS Griffin Goodwin (So.).

Outlook: With a win tonight and a loss from Lumpkin County, the Spartans can wrap up their first region championship in program history, dating back to when the school opened in 1988.

Should West Hall and Lumpkin County both win tonight, a head-to-head matchup on Nov. 7 would decide the region title in Oakwood.

Williams was the reason the Spartans cruised past Fannin County last week, after putting up 285 yards of offense. He’s now the team leader with 609 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Statham is second on the team with nine yards per touch and 498 yards. As a team, West Hall has rushed for 1,930 yards this season.

Banks County is currently tangled in a three-way tie for third place in the region.

After a slow start in region play, the Leopards edged out Lumpkin County, 49-46, and beat Dawson County 27-21 last Friday.

Lakeview vs. Prince Avenue

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jock Hornor Field, Gainesville

Coaches: Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn; Prince Avenue, Jeff Herron

Records: Lakeview Academy (3-5, 3-3 Region 8-A); Prince Avenue (6-2, 5-1)

Key players: Lakeview Academy, RB/CB Tae Turner (5-10, 175 Jr.); QB/SS David Abee (6-2, 176 Sr.); DT/G Conner Sosebee (6-2, 230 Jr.). Prince Avenue, RB/SS Jonah Doster (5-6, 170 Sr.); QB/SS Tyson Herron (6-1, 180 Sr.); WR/FS Noah Campbell (5-9, 160 So.).

Outlook: With a win tonight, the Lions can be considered a serious contender for a playoff spot in Region 8-A. It could be a feat to remember, considering Lakeview lost its first three games to open the 2014 season.

But coach Gruhn and company can put all of that behind them with a win at home over Prince Avenue Christian, who come to Gainesville on a four-game win streak. The Wolverines have put up at least 23 points in each of its six wins this year.

Even with running back Tae Turner at the heart of Lakeview’s revitalized attack, the Lions were shut out last week against region leaders Athens Christian.

The Wolverines will look to Doster as a threat on special teams. The senior racked up 100 return yards in a Oct. 11 win over Athens Academy.

East Hall at Fannin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Rebel Stadium, Blue Ridge

Coaches: East Hall, Bryan Gray; Fannin County, Jim Pavao

Records: East Hall (4-4, 2-2 Region 7-AAA); Fannin County (4-4, 2-2)

Key players: East Hall, QB/DB Devin Watson (5-11, 181); WR/P Junior Lee (6-0, 205 Sr.); MLB/TE Ronnie Peebles (5-11, 190). Fannin County, QB Brad Davis (6-1, 160 So.); RB Tyler Beaver (5-11, 180 Sr.); WR/DB/P Cooper Earls (6-0, 172 So.).

Outlook: The implications couldn’t be much clearer in the Region 7-AAA playoff race. The Vikings and Rebels are currently in a three-way tie with Banks County for third place in Region 7-AAA.

The Vikings are coming off two consecutive wins and three in their past four outings. Fannin County suffered a 49-0 defeat at Region 7-AAA leader West Hall last week.

Watson has 1,452 yards and 12 touchdowns passing, and another 477 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing.

Lee (18 receptions, 391 yards, 3 TDs), Rex Purgason (30 receptions, 341 yards, 4 TDs) and Jacquen Hopkins (25 receptions, 337 yards, 4 TDs) have been Watson’s most productive targets.

Jacques Ash is the Vikings’ leading rusher with 522 yards and four touchdowns.

Fannin County’s leading rusher Tyler Beaver was limited to 53 yards on 13 carries against West Hall.

Jefferson vs. Oconee County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

Coaches: Jefferson, Ben Hall; Oconee County, Travis Noland

Records: Jefferson (8-0, 4-0 Region 8-AAA); Oconee County, (7-1, 3-1)

Key players: Jefferson, QB Evan Shirreffs (6-4, 195 Sr.); RB Sammy Williams (5-6, 165 Sr.); DB Tradd Porter (6-0, 180 Sr.). Oconee County, QB Zeb Noland (6-3, 205 Jr.); RB Christian Casey (5-7, 150 So.); WR/DB Chase Major (6-1, 185 Jr.).

Outlook: The fourth-ranked Dragons are locked in a three-way battle for the region title and No. 1 spot to the playoffs with just one week to play. Oconee County is coming off its first loss of the season, 49-21, against still-unbeaten Hart County last Friday. Jefferson wraps up the regular season against Hart County on Nov. 7 in Hartwell.

Both Jefferson and Oconee County are both explosive in the passing game. Shirreffs has passed for 1,611 yards and 15 touchdowns. Oconee’s quarterback Noland has thrown for 1,231 yards and nine touchdowns.

Leading receivers for both include T.J. Skelton (30 catches, 625 yards) and Dalton Hill (25 catches for 605).

Both of Jefferson’s top receivers have six touchdowns. Major is Oconee’s top pass-catching threat with 19 catches for 554 yards.

Jefferson continues to run a shared load in the running game, headed by Williams (123 catches for 826 yards and 14 touchdowns) and freshman Colby Wood (71 for 631). Casey has rushed for 881 yards on 144 carries and three scores.

Oconee County wraps up the regular season at Elbert County on Nov. 7.

Buford vs. Madison County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Coaches: Madison County, Chris Smith; Buford, Jess Simpson

Records: Madison County (5-3, 3-2 Region 8-AAAA); Buford (8-0, 5-0)

Key players: Madison County, QB/DB Ethan South (5-7, 155 Jr.); RB Malik Freeman (6-1, 200); RB/DB Ra’Shawn Gresham (5-10, 183 Sr.). Buford, RB/LB Joshua Thomas (5-11, 200 Sr.); TE Isaac Nauta (6-4, 240 Jr.); WR/DB David Curry (6-0, 195 Sr.).

Outlook: The Wolves are rounding into form for what they hope will be another state championship run. Buford has won each of its five Region 8-AAAA contests by at least 32 points.

The Wolves have hit the 50-point mark four weeks in a row, and the Buford defense has allowed only 52 points through eight games, with 20 of those coming in a seven-point win against Class AAAAAA’s McEachern.

Curry returned a punt for a touchdown in last week’s 58-3 romp against North Oconee, which was previously unbeaten in region play.

Thomas is Buford’s leading ball carrier, running for 446 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 52 carries. The Wolves’ most telling numbers are on the ground. Buford has now rushed for 2,048 yards, while the defense has allowed just 345.

Madison County is holding on to the final Region 8-AAAA playoff spot for now, sitting a game ahead of White County.

That’s unlikely to be the case by night’s end with the Red Raiders running up against the powerful Wolves and White County visiting winless Monroe Area.

South is a dual-threat quarterback, and Freeman’s size and athletic ability have given opponents problems. But they face their tallest test yet against Buford.

Dawson County at Lumpkin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: The Burial Grounds, Dahlonega

Coaches: Dawson County, Jeff Lee; Lumpkin County, Ty Maxwell

Records: Dawson County (1-7, 1-4 Region 7-AAA); Lumpkin County (4-4, 3-1)

Key players: Dawson County, QB Coey Watson (Fr.); RB/SS Andrew Goley (Jr.); WR/CB Nick Murphy (5-10, 150 So.). Lumpkin County, QB/MLB Zach Matthews (6-1, 195 So.); RB Gunner Wood (5-11, 170 Sr.); RB/OLB Bradley Womack (Sr.).

Outlook: The Indians are fighting to stay in contention for the Region 7-AAA championship. Coming off a bye week, Lumpkin County aims to bounce back from its loss to Banks County by setting up a winner-takes-all Region 7-AAA finale at West Hall.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are eliminated from playoff contention but have been playing better in recent weeks.

In its past four outings, Dawson County has a victory against Franklin County, a pair of seven-point losses and a six-point loss last week to Banks County.

Matthews, Wood and Womack have each had games of at least 175 rushing yards this season, including a 300-yard game for Matthews.

All three are threats to break off long runs at any time.

Watson threw for two touchdowns against the Leopards, one of them to Goley and one to Murphy. Goley added a touchdown run.

White County at Monroe Area

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Legion Field, Monroe

Coaches: White County, Bill Ballard; Monroe Area, Joey Sulkowski

Records: White County (4-4, 2-3 Region 8-AAAA); Monroe Area (0-8, 0-5)

Key players: White County, CB/RB Maurice Sutton (6-0, 190 Sr.); DE/WR/TE Tucker Cook (6-3, 195 Sr.); OLB/RB Sam Turner (Sr.). Monroe Area, QB Jacob Olson (6-1, 180 Sr.); RB C.J. Winding (5-9, 175 Jr.); WR/DB Alfred King (5-10, 170 Jr.).

Outlook: The Warriors, coming off a pivotal 50-28 victory against Chestatee, look to further boost their playoff hopes.

A pair of defensive touchdowns helped White County take control after trailing 21-7 against the War Eagles. Sutton, Cook and Turner each scored two touchdowns for the Warriors. Cook and Turner each had one of their scores on a defensive touchdown.

The winless Purple Hurricanes came up just short at North Hall last week, falling 38-35 on a late field goal. Olson threw for 388 yards, three touchdowns and an interception versus the Trojans while rushing for 53 yards and another touchdown.

King is Olson’s favorite target with 52 receptions for 842 yards and six touchdowns, including eight catches for 160 yards and two scores against North Hall.

Hab. Central vs. North Forsyth

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Raider Stadium, Mt. Airy

Coaches: North Forsyth, Jason Galt; Habersham Central, Michael Pollock

Records: North Forsyth (1-7, 1-6 Region 7-AAAAAA); Habersham Central (0-8, 0-7)

Key players: North Forsyth, RB/DB/KR Jesus Torres (5-9, 155 Sr.); DB Logan Cross (5-11, 170 Sr.); WR/DB Colton Miller (Sr.). Habersham Central, QB/WR/CB Bennett Black (6-1, 185 Sr.); RB Michael Babers (5-11, 201 So.); SS/RB Braxton Cole (6-0, 190 Sr.).

Outlook: In this matchup of two teams called Raiders, Habersham Central goes for its first victory against a North Forsyth team that has struggled offensively, not scoring more than 17 points in any game thus far.

Black has thrown for 1,166 yards and nine touchdowns with nine interceptions, and Babers has rushed for 692 yards and five touchdowns.

They give Habersham Central the playmaking ability to contend for the win. Cole leads the Habersham defense with 52 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble.

North Forsyth is allowing 34 points per game while scoring 7.5 per contest and being held to six or fewer points in five of its past six games.

Torres leads North Forsyth with 294 rushing yards and also has 86 receiving yards, while also tallying eight tackles.

Commerce at George Walton

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Keith Henderson Stadium, Monroe

Coaches: Commerce, Michael Brown; George Walton Academy, Don Williams

Records: Commerce (6-2, 5-1 Region 8-A); George Walton Academy (5-3, 4-2)

Key players: Commerce, QB/SS Caleb Brooks (5-10, 160 Jr.); RB/S Cole Chancey (5-10, 175 So.); RB/CB Grant Mayberry (Sr.). George Walton Academy, WR Dimetrios Mason (6-0, 175); MLB Paul Kouassi (5-10, 180 Sr.); WR/CB Redovian Charlie (6-1, 160).

Outlook: The Tigers are coming off their best defensive performance of the season. They held Towns County to 43 total offensive yards in a 58-0 victory.

Commerce also rushed for 293 yards in the win, including 104 yards and two touchdowns from Mayberry.

Commerce is jockeying for a spot in the Class A public school playoff bracket.

The Tigers have been to the postseason every year since 1997. Both of George Walton Academy’s region defeats have come against the Tigers’ fellow contenders by at least three touchdowns.

Towns County at Providence

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Shiloh Community Stadium, Lilburn

Coaches: Towns County, Billy Barnhart; Providence Christian, Ken Robinson

Records: Towns County (1-8, 1-6 Region 8-A); Providence Christian (0-8, 0-6)

Key players: Towns County, FB/DB Cruz Shook (5-9, 205 Sr.); OL/LB Kyle Davis (5-10, 210 Sr.); TE/DL Daulton Rogers (6-1, 200 Jr.). Providence Christian, MLB/RB Max Carter (5-9, 165 Jr.); QB Mitchell Miller (5-8, 152 Fr.); RB/WR Jeremy Hardnett (5-10, 161 Jr.)

Outlook: The Indians have a gilt-edged opportunity to pick up their second win of 2014 when they travel to Lilburn tonight. Providence Christian, winless in its inaugural varsity season, has given up at least seven touchdowns in each of its last four games.

But Towns County must shake off poor recent results, including three shutouts in its previous four contests.

A win on the final game of the season would be a needed confidence boost heading into next season.

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