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HS Football Previews: Week 5
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Read a preview of Gainesville vs. Heritage (Conyers) here: 

Flowery Branch at Cedar Shoals

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Waters-Wilkins Stadium, Athens

Coaches: Flowery Branch, Chris Griffin; Cedar Shoals, Scott Wilkins

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

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.). Cedar Shoals, WR Rogerous Swain (6-0, 156 So.); QB Greg Smith (6-0, 185 Jr.); DE/DT Derrick Brown (Jr.)

Outlook: Flowery Branch can’t afford to look past the Jaguars today, as region favorite Lanier could probably tell them. Cedar Shoals was a few yards away from tying the Longhorns on Homecoming night before a fumble turned the tide for Lanier.

This week, Cedar Shoals will use its offensive weapons to try to earn its first win of the 2014 season, and doom the Falcons to their third straight region loss for the first time in school history.

Swain blocked a Lanier punt before quarterback Smith scored on a 1-yard keeper three plays later.

Flowery Branch will need more production out of its running backs not named Jeremiah Goss if it is to bring winning ways back to Falcon Field.


Lumpkin County at East Hall

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Vikings Stadium, Gainesville

Coaches: Lumpkin County, Ty Maxwell; East Hall, Bryan Gray

Records: Lumpkin County (1-3, 0-0 Region 7-AAA); East Hall (1-2, 0-0)

Key players: Lumpkin County, QB/LB Zach Matthews (6-1, 190 So.); RB/DB Gunner Wood (5-10, 175 Sr.); OL/DL Garrett Gray (5-10, 225 Sr.). East Hall, QB/DB Devin Watson (5-11, 185 Sr.); WR Jacquen Hopkins (5-10, 175 Jr.); DL Alan Silva (5-10, 240 Sr.).

Outlook: Lumpkin County has seen a shift in its offense heading into the region opener with Matthews taking over as quarterback and Wood shifting into the running game, according to Maxwell. Last week, Matthews rushed for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns at quarterback in a loss against Our Lady of Mercy.

For the year, Matthews is up to 575 yards and five touchdowns. Wood, who started the season at quarterback on offense, has now transitioned to running back.

East Hall, again, may be without the services of starting quarterback Devin Watson, who was out with a shoulder injury in last week’s loss to Jackson County, according to coach Gray. In his absence, Jiel Vargas and Junior Lee are splitting time under center. The Vikings have one non-region game remaining on the schedule (Johnson on Oct. 17), while Lumpkin County’s remaining six games are all in Region 7-AAA.


Johnson at Riverside Military

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Maginnis Field, Gainesville

Coaches: Johnson, Jason Roquemore; Riverside Military Academy, Gary Downs

Records: Johnson (0-5); Riverside Military Academy (1-2)

Key players: Johnson, OL/DL Donyae Brown (5-11, 220 Sr.); OL/DL Eli Vasquez (5-10, 240 Jr.); QB/LB Chase Sims (6-0, 190 Sr.). Riverside Military Academy, QB Hunter Sims (5-9, 185 So.); C/MLB Cole Garcia (6-2, 230 Sr.); S/WR J.J. McCalston (6-0, 180 Sr.).

Outlook: A matchup of two teams in trouble will play out at Maginnis Field when Johnson takes on the Eagles. Chase Sims and the Johnson offense have produced less than eight points per game, including a 24-point effort against Banks County earlier in the month.

Meanwhile, Hunter Sims and the Eagles earned just a field goal against Rabun County last week to lose their region opener 24-3. Running backs Brandon Grant and Chris Howard combined for 102 yards off of nine carries, but the Eagles couldn’t claw back from a 14-point halftime deficit. One key for head coach Gary Downs will be eliminating mistakes: Riverside gave up two safeties in the first half against Rabun County.


Chestatee at North Oconee

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Titans Stadium, Bogart

Coaches: Chestatee, Bill Forman; North Oconee, Terry Tuley

Records: Chestatee (1-2, 0-0 Region 8-AAAA); North Oconee (1-2, 0-0)

Key players: Chestatee, RB/LB Tray Bryant (6-2, 210 Sr.); RB/WR/DE A.J. Sijiye (6-2, 195 Sr.); RB/LB Kris Pierce (5-8, 210 Sr.). North Oconee, North Oconee, RB Kawon Bryant (5-9, 205 Sr.); QB Tate Adcock (6-0, 185 Sr.); LB Will Mattison (5-9, 160 Sr.).

Outlook: Off a bye week, the War Eagles are eager to get the region portion of the schedule started in the right direction. In non-region play, Chestatee lost by shutout to Flowery Branch and West Hall, but rebounded nicely with a 24-19 win against Pepperell on Sept. 12.

North Oconee has played a grueling non-region schedule to prepare for Region 8-AAAA play. Even though the Titans lost to a pair of ranked opponents (Coffee and Greater Atlanta Christian), they rebounded with a 28-10 win against previously-unbeaten West Hall last Friday.

Leading the way for the Titans, senior running back Bryant had 223 yards and a touchdown catch against the Spartans. In the win, Bryant crossed the 5,000-yard rushing mark as a four-year starter for North Oconee.


West Hall at Dawson County

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Coaches: West Hall, Tony Lotti; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Records: West Hall (3-1, 0-0 Region 7-AAA); Dawson County (0-3, 0-0)

Key players: West Hall, DB/RB Tyquan Statham (6-2, 200 Jr.); OL/LB Ty Statham (6-1, 205 Sr.); RB/DB Kwon Williams (6-0, 185 Jr.). Dawson County, QB Zack Buchan (6-2, 180 Sr.); C Corbin Thomas (5-9, 260 Sr.); WR Dalton Edwards (6-0, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: After last week’s humbling defeat to North Oconee, West Hall has a well-placed opportunity to get back in the win column at the expense of their first region rivals. Dawson County (0-3) has not scored more than a touchdown in its first three games, but will need to face the daunting rush defense of the Spartans at Tiger Stadium.

Meanwhile, a deep West Hall backfield has helped lead the Spartans (26.5 points per game) to a commanding 3-1 start to the season that bodes well for a flattering region schedule.

Four different running backs scored for West Hall in its recent shutout rout of North Hall. If quarterback Jacob Satterfield can safely get the football to playmakers like Statham and Williams, there’s every reason to expect a 1-0 start to region play for the visitors.

North Hall at Stephens County

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Coaches: North Hall, David Bishop; Stephens County, Frank Barden

Records: North Hall (0-3, 0-0 Region 8-AAAA); Stephens County (2-1, 0-0)
Key players: North Hall, RB/DL Austin Perry (6-4, 220 Sr.); OL/DL Hayden Hughes (6-2, 230 Sr.); RB/LB Bobby Mendenhall (5-9, 205 Sr.). Stephens County, OL Ben Cleveland (6-7, 314 Jr.); RB Jai Brown (Sr.); QB Mason Long (6-0, 185 Jr.).

Outlook: If North Hall is to tally its first win of the 2014 season, it needs to improve greatly on last week’s decisive loss. Carrollton held the Trojans to just 55 first-half yards and three first downs in a 46-10 rout. Stephens County, anchored by 6-foot-7 offensive lineman Ben Cleveland, won’t give North Hall and head coach David Bishop any easier of a time at The Reservation.

North Hall will look to running back Austin Perry to kickstart its sputtering offense. The Trojans have averaged less than a touchdown in each of the team’s first three games, including a 38-0 shutout by West Hall earlier this month.


Lakeview Academy vs. Providence

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Jock Horner Field, Gainesville

Coaches: Providence Christian, Ken Robinson; Lakeview, Matthew Gruhn

Records: Providence Christian (0-3, 0-1 Region 8-A); Lakeview Academy (0-3, 0-1)

Key players: Providence Christian, QB/DB Jeremy Hardnett (Jr.); SS/SB Kendall Adams (5-11, 152 So.); MLB/C Ben Ellison (5-9, 185 Jr.). Lakeview Academy, QB/DB David Abee (6-1, 170 Sr.); OL/DL Kyle Larsen (6-1, 190 Sr.); RB/DB/KR Tae Turner (5-10, 155 Jr.).

Outlook: Lakeview comes off a bye week still in search of its first win of 2014.

The Lions fell 13-6 to East Jackson and 14-6 to Towns County in the first and third weeks, respectively, of their season.

One of these teams will pick up its first victory tonight because Providence carries the same 0-3 overall and 0-1 Region 8-A records.

This could be an opportunity for Lakeview to get its offense going. The Storm are surrendering 44 points per contest.


Jefferson at Jackson County

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Panthers Stadium, Jefferson

Coaches: Jefferson, Ben Hall; Jackson County, Benji Harrison

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

Key players: Jefferson, RB Colby Wood (5-9, 165 Fr.); QB Evan Shirreffs (6-5, 195 Sr.); DB Tradd Porter (6-0, 180 Sr.); Jackson County, QB Jacob Lewis (6-0, 180 Sr.); WR/TE Adrian Parsons (6-4, 190 Sr.); LB Griffin McElvery (5-10, 185 Jr.).

Outlook: Even though these two high schools are in the same city, they’ve only met six times previously heading into tonight’s Region 8-AAA opener. Class AAA’s fourth-ranked Jefferson won all six prior meetings, including a 49-0 win last season. Quarterbacks for both schools are having a big 2014 season.

Shirreffs has passed for 844 yards and eight touchdowns for Jefferson, while Lewis has completed 62 percent of his throws for 743 yards and five touchdowns for Jackson County.

At Jefferson, Dalton Hill has proved the top receiving threat with 15 catches for 407 yards and three touchdowns. 

For the Dragons in the running department, Wood (364 yards, seven touchdowns) and senior Sammy Williams (325 yards, five touchdowns) have received the majority of the carries.

Senior Caleb Smith is Jackson County’s top receiver with 32 catches for 295 yards.

On defense, Jefferson has allowed seven points or fewer in three of four outings. With 29 tackles, Cooper Young leads a group of Jefferson defenders with more than 20 tackles on the season.

Jackson County is coming off its first win of the season, 31-6 last Friday at East Hall.


Commerce at Athens Christian

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Eagle Field, Athens

Coaches: Commerce, Michael Brown; Athens Christian, Chris Williams

Records: Commerce (3-1, 2-0 Region 8-A), Athens Christian (2-2, 2-0)

Key players: Commerce, QB/SS Caleb Brooks (5-10, 160, Jr.); RB/S Cole Chancey (5-10, 175 So.); RB/FS K.J. Jones (5-10, 190 Sr.). Athens Christian, QB/DB Cody Lee (5-10, 140 So.); RB/DB Marquez Henson (5-8, 175 Sr.); WR/DB Demetrius McWhorter (Sr.).

Outlook: Commerce’s only loss in its first four games came against Jefferson, No. 4 in Class AAA.

The Tigers have a pair of wins by a touchdown, including last week against Athens Academy (27-20).

Jones’ late 90-yard interception return for a score sealed the outcome a week ago. Big plays defensively could come in handy again, especially against a team that defeated Athens Academy 31-14 last month.


Banks County vs. Franklin County

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Leopard Stadium, Homer

Coaches: Franklin County, Jerry Underwood; Banks County, Biff Parson

Records: Franklin County (1-2, 0-0 Region 7-AAA); Banks County (3-1, 0-0)

Key players: Franklin County, QB Tyrique David (5-11, 160 So.); RB/CB Bud Woods (5-4, 150 Jr.); FS/SB Brooklon Wright (6-2, 180 Jr.). Banks County, RB/QB/LB Trevae Cain (Jr.); RB/CB Demetrious Walker (So.); WR/DB Malcolm Mitchell (5-9, 150 Sr.).

Outlook: The Leopards have rolled off consecutive victories against Johnson, East Jackson and North Cobb Christian.
Now they’ll open Region 7-AAA play against a Franklin County program that was 1-9 a season ago. The Lions earned their first victory, 27-7 against East Jackson, last Friday.

Cain and Walker have been offensive leaders for Banks County so far, and they’ll need to come up big again versus the toughest opponent the Leopards have faced since a season-opening loss to Commerce.


Habersham Central at Alpharetta

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Alpharetta Stadium, Alpharetta

Coaches: Habersham Central, Michael Pollock; Alpharetta, Jacob Nichols

Records: Habersham Central (0-4, 0-3 Region 6-AAAAAA); Alpharetta (3-1, 3-0)

Key players: Habersham Central, QB Bennett Black (6-1, 185 Sr.); RB Michael Babers (5-10, 205 So.); WR/DE John David Herrin (6-2, 200 Sr.). Alpharetta, CB/FS Dejon Rowe (5-9, 166 Jr.); QB Austin King (6-3, 195 Sr.); MLB Quinn Tucci (Sr.).

Outlook: If Alpharetta quarterback Austin King finds the same rhythm he did last week in a 35-17 win over Lambert, Habersham Central will be in for a long night.

King finished 19 of 27 for 232 yards with one touchdown last week against the Longhorns and will look to improve upon that mark against a leaky Habersham Central secondary. Habersham has given up an average of more than 42 points per game in the team’s opening four losses, including last week’s 56-35 defeat to West Forsyth.


Towns County at George Walton Academy

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Keith Henderson Stadium, Monroe

Coaches: Towns County, Billy Barnhart; George Walton, Don Williams

Records: Towns County (1-3, 1-1 Region 8-A); George Walton (2-2, 1-1)

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.). George Walton, QB Tucker Shull (6-0, 160 Sr.) RB Wes Hutter (5-7, 155 Sr.); RB/DE Austin Parrish (So.).

Outlook: George Walton Academy is built to score and proved it against Providence Christian last week. The Bulldogs scored on each of their opening five possessions to build an insurmountable 36-0 lead that would give coach Don Williams’ team its first region win.

A second consecutive win, this week against Towns County, would put George Walton in strong position in Region 8-A.
The Indians gave up seven touchdowns in last week’s loss to Hebron Christian Academy and can’t afford to suffer another defeat this early in the season. Athens Academy (1-2) will make the trip to Frank McClure Stadium next week.


Union County vs. Social Circle

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Coaches: Social Circle, Chad Estes; Union County, Brian Allison
Records: Social Circle (0-3, 0-0 Region 8-AA), Union County (4-0, 0-0 Region 8-AA)

Key players: Social Circle, QB/FS Stevie Howard (5-9, 140 So.); RB/CB Jeremy Elder (5-11, 167 Sr.); MLB Jimmy Haynes (5-11, 220 Sr.). Union County, QB Joseph Mancuso (6-4, 200 Jr.); WR/DB Robert Prunier (5-9, 175 Sr.); WR Jacob Rogers (6-2, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: The Panthers are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2008, and they have a great shot to reach 5-0 for the first time since 2001 against a program that hasn’t won a game since September 2011.
Mancuso has thrown for 942 yards and 15 touchdowns, including five scores apiece to Prunier and Rogers.
They’ll aim to keep up Union County’s prolific production in this region opener for both teams.

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