By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
HS Football Previews: Week 3
Placeholder Image

Gainesville vs. Winder-Barrow

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: City Park Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: Gainesville, Bruce Miller; Winder-Barrow, Heath Webb

Records: Gainesville (0-1), Winder-Barrow (1-1, 1-0 Region 8-AAAAA)

Key players: Gainesville, LB J.D. Sosebee (6-0, 245 Sr.); RB Michael Byrd (5-7, 170 Sr.); WR Rodney Lackey (5-10, 165 Sr.). Winder-Barrow, RB CeCe Green (5-10, 185 Jr.); QB Noah Chapman (6-2, 175 Sr.); WR Brandon Hayes (6-4, 180 Jr.)

Outlook: The Red Elephants endured a lopsided loss to Grayson in the opener on Aug. 29, but that loss will become a distant memory with a splash in the Region 8-AAAAA opener against the Bulldoggs. Following a bye, Gainesville plays nine straight region games starting tonight at City Park Stadium.

In the opening loss, Sosebee and Toddrick Turner each racked up 11 tackles for the Red Elephants. Senior Mikey Gonzalez threw for 142 yards in his first career start for Gainesville.

Meanwhile, Winder-Barrow has now won back-to-back region contests for the first time since 2005, after beating Apalachee 26-20 last Friday, and also 27-20 to wrap up the 2013 season. Against the Wildcats, Green had a monster outing with 241 yards and a touchdown, while Chapman completed 10 of 20 passes with two touchdowns. Winder-

Barrow lost to open the season against Class AAA’s fifth-ranked Jefferson 41-7.

After a 19-year gap between meetings, Gainesville has topped Winder-Barrow 69-0 and 68-0 respectively the past two seasons.

Chestatee at Pepperell

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Dragon Stadium, Lindale

Coaches: Chestatee, Bill Forman; Pepperell, Jeff Shiflett

Records: Chestatee (0-2); Pepperell (0-2)

Key players: Chestatee, RB/LB Kris Pierce (5-8, 210 Sr.); RB/LB Tray Bryant (6-2, 210 Sr.); RB/LB Marvin Rosario (6-2, 215 Sr.). Pepperell, RB Devyn Young (Jr.); OL/DL Brice Pence (Sr.).

Outlook: The War Eagles are trying to snap back after being shut out in back to back games for the first time since 2002, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

This is Chestatee’s final of three non-region contests before opening play in a highly-competitive Region 8-AAAA against North Oconee on Sept. 26 in Bogart.

Pepperell has had its own struggles, scoring its only 14 points of the year in a loss to Paulding County to open the season Aug. 29. Pence is the Dragons’ leading tackler with 15 stops, while Collins is averaging 60 yards a game rushing.

Flowery Branch at Lanier

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Longhorns Stadium, Sugar Hill

Coaches: Flowery Branch, Chris Griffin; Lanier, Korey Mobbs

Records: Flowery Branch (1-0); Lanier (2-0, 1-0 Region 8-AAAAA)

Key players: Flowery Branch, RB Jeremiah Goss (5-8, 200 So.); WR/DB Cortez Davis (5-11, 175 Jr.); LB/RB Cole Ford (6-0, 215 Sr.). Lanier, RB Ashton Barnes (5-9, 180 Jr.); RB/LB Tario Fuller (6-0, 190 Sr.); OL/DL Travis Taylor (6-4, 280 Sr.)

Outlook: The Falcons’ defense will be tested in their region opener against the Longhorns tonight in Gwinnett County. After a shutout performance against Chestatee on Aug. 29, Flowery Branch’s defense is pitted against a Lanier running attack led by the tandem of Barnes and Fuller.

In the season opener, the Falcons’ defense surrendered 90 yards and just five first downs. Lanier’s running game will challenge Flowery Branch’s bull-headed defense. In a win against Clarke Central on Sept. 5, Barnes ran for 241 yards and scored on runs of 97 and 86 yards. Purdue commit Fuller added 110 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns.

In Flowery Branch’s opener, Goss had 84 rushing yards, along with three catches for 66 yards.

At quarterback, freshman Nick Lance completed nine passes for 179 yards for the Falcons, who play a straight region schedule for the rest of the season.

Johnson at Lumpkin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Burial Grounds, Dahlonega

Coaches: Johnson, Jason Roquemore; Lumpkin County, Tyler Maxwell

Records: Lumpkin County (0-2); Johnson (0-3)

Key players: Lumpkin County, RB/LB Zach Matthews (6-1, 190 So.); OL/DL Garrett Gray (5-10, 225 Sr.). Johnson,OL/DL Donyae Brown (5-11, 220 Sr.); OL/DL Eli Vasquez (5-10, 240 Sr.); QB/LB Chase Sims (6-0, 190 Sr.).

Outlook: At least one winless streak will come to an end tonight when the Knights and Indians meet in Dahlonega.

Both teams fell on hard times last year, accruing 2-8 records, but a win for either could provide the spark to turning around what has been so far a rough 2014 for Johnson and Lumpkin County.

Next week, Lumpkin County travels to Our Lady of Mercy, while Johnson hosts Pickens in Oakwood.

Riverside Military at Hapeville Charter

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Hornets Stadium, Hapeville

Coaches: Riverside Military, Gary Downs; Hapeville Charter, Winston Gordon

Records: Riverside Military (1-0); Hapeville Charter (0-2)

Key players: Riverside Military, LB/WR C.J. Howard; DB/WR J.J. McCalston (6-0, 180 Sr.); TE/DE Avery Cagle (6-4, 215 Sr.). Hapeville Charter, DE Arden Key (6-6, 220 Sr.); DB/DB Antoine Wilder (6-1, 185 Sr.); TE/DT Aaron Cochran (6-3, 230 Sr.).

Outlook: After a season-opening win against Fellowship Christian on Aug. 29, the Eagles are looking to continue their momentum following a 5-5 mark in 2013. Howard led the way in Game 1 for Riverside with a touchdown catch and 14 tackles on defense.

Though only in its fourth season playing football in South Fulton, Hapeville Charter has started to stockpile some very solid talent. Key and Wilder are both verbally committed to South Carolina, while Cochran has pledged to sign with Louisville.

Next week, Riverside Military opens Region 8-AA play with a matchup with Rabun County in Tiger. Hapeville Charter begins Region 6-AA play against Greater Atlanta Christian on Sept. 19 in Lilburn.

Lakeview Academy at Towns County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Towns County High, Hiawassee

Coaches: Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn; Towns County, Bill Barnhart

Records: Lakeview Academy (0-2), Towns County High (0-2)

Key players: Lakeview, QB/DB David Abee (6-1, 170, Sr.), OL/DL Kyle Larsen (6-1, 190), RB/DB/KR Tae Turner (5-10, 155, Jr.). 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.)

Outlook: One team will get its first win of the season when Lakeview Academy travels takes on Towns County tonight in the Region 8-A opener.

The meeting marks the first region game for either team after years of non-region competition. Lakeview has never won a region contest, but that could change tonight. The Lions won four consecutive meetings with the Indians between 2009-’12, before suffering a 10-7 defeat last season.

Commerce at Jefferson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

Coaches: Commerce, Michael Brown; Jefferson, Ben Hall

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

Key players: Commerce, DL Derek Benoit (6-2, 240 Sr.); RB/DB Cole Chancey (5-10, 175 So.); QB Caleb Brooks (5-10, 160 Jr.). Jefferson, QB Evan Shirreffs (6-5, 195 Sr.); WR T.J. Skelton (6-2, 185 Sr.); RB Colby Wood (5-10, 165 Fr.).

Outlook: Even though it’s a non-region rivalry, it’s one of the state’s oldest as these two cross-county foes meet for the 69th time tonight at Jefferson.

Commerce has a decided 42-21-5 edge in the series history, but Jefferson has won six of the seven meetings since 2007, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association.

Ranked No. 5 in Class AAA, Jefferson is one of the hottest teams in the state with all three wins this season coming by more than 30 points, including a 40-point victory against Class AAAA’s North Hall last Friday in Gainesville. Shirreffs had 263 yards passing against the Trojans and three touchdown throws to Skelton. Freshman-phenom running back Wood scored twice on runs last week for the Dragons, after running for more than 100 yards in each of the season’s first two games. Wood now has 336 yards and six rushing scores.

Kendrick Robinson led a deep Dragons defense with three interceptions against the Trojans.

Commerce is also off to a solid start, winning its first in region play 36-14 against Hebron Christian last Friday. Chancey leads a balanced Tigers ground attack with 197 rushing yards through two games, while Will Thomas has rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown.

Commerce has four backs over 100 yards rushing this season, including quarterback Caleb Brooks. Jesse Underhile is the Tigers’ leading tackler on the season with 18 stops, while three others have 14 tackles each.

Jackson County at Rabun County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Frank Snyder Stadium, Tiger

Coaches: Jackson County, Benji Harrison; Rabun County, Lee Shaw

Records: Jackson County (0-2); Rabun County (1-2)

Key players: Jackson County, QB Jacob Lewis (6-1, 180 Sr.); LB Griffin McElvery (5-10, 185 Jr.); DE Jorge Monzon (6-0, 220). Rabun County, RB/WR Charlie Woerner (6-5, 220 Jr.); RB/DB Eli Gipson (Jr.); LB/P Tucker Williams (6-0, 220 Sr.).

Outlook: Both the Panthers and Tigers are 2013 playoff programs that are off to a slow start this season. Jackson County has lost non-region games against Madison County and White County, while Rabun County’s lone victory is 23-14 against Habersham Central.

Lewis has passed for 447 yards for the Panthers, while Antonio Strickland is his leading receiver with 20 catches for 188 yards.

Leading the way for Rabun County is the dual-threat offensive weapon Woerner, who has rushed for 220 yards and caught passes for 142 through three games. Woerner is being recruited as a tight end at the next level, ranked No. 12 nationally by Rivals.com, and holds offers from Clemson, Duke, Georgia and Tennessee, among others.

From the secondary, Gipson is the Tigers’ leading tackler with 34 stops and 3 1/2 tackles for a loss. From linebacker, Williams has 26 tackles and three for a loss.

White County vs. Pace Academy

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Warrior Field, Cleveland

Coaches: Pace Academy, Chris Slade; White County, Bill Ballard

Records: Pace Academy (1-2); White County (1-1)

Key players: Pace Academy, QB Kevin Johnson (6-0, 180). White County, CB/RB Maurice Sutton (6-0, 195 Sr.); OL/TE Sean Freeman (6-1, 220 Sr.); DE/WR/TE Tucker Cook (6-3, 195 Sr.)

Outlook: The Warriors, led by running back Maurice Sutton, have proved they can put up the numbers they need to win football games. Against visiting Pace Academy, White County will have to prove it can also improve on defense.

The Warriors have given up 34 points per game so far this season, but they’ll need to show they can slam the door shut on the Knights before White County’s region opener next week against Buford.

Banks County vs. East Jackson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Leopards Stadium, Homer

Coaches: Banks County, Biff Parson; East Jackson, Gary Hughes

Records: Banks County (1-1); East Jackson (1-1)

Key players: Banks County, WR/DB Malcolm Mitchell (5-9, 165 Sr.); RB/QB/LB Trevae Cain (6-0, 205 Jr.); OL/DL Trent Cape (5-7, 210 Sr.). East Jackson, RB Taylor Murphy (6-1, 215 Sr.); QB Cody Hardwick (5-9, 145 Jr.); WR/LB Spencer Davis (5-10, 180 Sr.).

Outlook: Both programs in a rebuilding mode are coming off a win in their latest outings. Banks County pulled off a come-from-behind 28-24 victory against Johnson last week, while East Jackson took down Lakeview Academy 13-6 on Aug. 29.

Cain has proved to be the Leopards’ biggest offensive weapon, with 71 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns and a 47-yard touchdown pass against the Knights. East Jackson has won four of six all-time meetings against Banks County.

Dawson County at Heritage (Ringgold)

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Ringgold

Coaches: Dawson County, Jeff Lee; Heritage, E.K. Slaughter

Records: Dawson County (0-2); Heritage (1-1)

Key Players: Dawson County, QB Zack Buchan (6-2, 180 Sr.), C Corbin Thomas (5-9, 260 Sr.); RB/CB Khalyahl Hood (5-7, 145 Jr.); WR/CB Christian King (6-2, 215 Sr.)

Outlook: For the struggling Tigers, now is the time to reverse their early-season struggles.

Dawson County has scored a total of seven points in losses to Forsyth Central and Gilmer.

A victory here could give the Tigers momentum ahead of a six-game stretch of region contests.

Habersham Central vs. South Forsyth

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: John Larry Black Stadium, Mt. Airy

Coaches: South Forsyth, Jeff Arnette; Habersham Central, Michael Pollock

Records: South Forsyth (1-1, 1-0 Region 6-AAAAAA); Habersham Central (0-2, 0-1 Region 6-AAAAAA)

Key Players: South Forsyth, QB Matthew White (6-1, 215 Sr.), FB/LB/SS Sam Outlaw (Jr.). Habersham Central, QB Bennett Black (6-1, 185 Sr.), RB Michael Babers (5-10, 205 So.).

Outlook: The Raiders will look for their first victory since 2012 in this region matchup, but it won’t be easy.

Union County vs. Andrews, N.C.

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Coaches: Andrews, Avery Cutshaw; Union County, Brian Allison

Records: Union County (2-0), Andrews (0-3)

Key players: Union County, QB Joseph Mancuso (6-3, 195 Jr.), LB/RB Chase Barnett (5-11, 190 Sr.), WR Jacob Rogers (6-2, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: Union County gets a chance to start the season 3-0 when the team plays host to winless Andrews (N.C.) tonight.

Led by junior quarterback Mancuso, the Panthers’ offense has put up 85 points in the first two games of the season.

Regional events