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High school football: Week 5 capsules
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Chestatee running back Nick Lyles is tackled by North Hall defenders during the 2016 game in Gainesville. - photo by Scott Rogers

Game of the week: Flowery Branch's Ben Hall braces for first encounter with Jefferson High since coaching departure

Chestatee vs. Lumpkin County

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: War Eagle Stadium, Gainesville

Records: Chestatee (2-2), Lumpkin County (0-3)

Last week: The War Eagles snapped a two-game skid by defeating Fannin County, 31-7, behind Nick Lyles’ four touchdowns. The Indians lost to Madison County, 28-7.

What to watch for: The Indians are looking to avoid an 0-4 hole, which would be their worst start since 2013. Lumpkin County’s transition to a pro-style offense has been bumpy so far, producing only 28 points through its first three games. Senior quarterback Chandler Woodham will try to smooth out that process as both a passer and a rusher.

Chestatee senior running back Nick Lyles is just 204 yards shy of 2,000 for his career and has a solid chance to eclipse that mark against an Indians defense that has struggled this year. In four games, Lyles has rushed for 469 yards and nine touchdowns to the tune of 7.3 yards per carry.

West Hall at Dawson County

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Records: West Hall (3-1), Dawson County (2-0)

Last week: The Spartans topped Jackson County, 31-21, for their third straight win since dropping the season opener to Gainesville. The Tigers had a bye.

What to watch for: The Spartans currently lead the all-time series 5-3, including their thrilling double-overtime win against the Tigers last year. After getting shut out in the season opener, West Hall’s offense appears to have found a rhythm with sophomore Michael Thompson getting most of the snaps at quarterback. Senior running back Cooper Adams has paced a solid ground attack, and the Spartans’ defense is giving up just 16 points per game this year.

Dawson County’s defense, meanwhile, has allowed just 14 points through two games this season. Senior quarterback Coey Watson is a dual-threat guy capable of finding the end zone at any moment.

East Hall at Jackson County

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Jackson County High, Jefferson

Records: East Hall (2-1), Jackson County (3-1)

Last week: The Vikings defeated Johnson 60-7, while the Panthers lost to West Hall 31-21.

What to watch for: In just three games, East Hall quarterback Austin Parker (52 completions, 1,140 yards, 15 touchdowns) surpassed 1,000 yards passing, and the Vikings’ high-powered spread attack put up 58 points per game. The Vikings lead the series 7-4, though they have lost three of the last four against the Panthers.

Jackson County is off to one of its best starts in the past decade behind the strong rushing of Noah Venable, who’s averaging more than 200 yards per game this year.

Habersham Central vs. Stephens County

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Raiders Stadium, Mt. Airy

Records: Habersham Central (1-2); Stephens County (1-2)

Last week: Habersham Central lost to Franklin County, 46-45, in overtime; Stephens County lost to Flowery Branch, 31-6

What to watch for: These two schools from neighboring counties have a long history together. Stephens County has won 28 of 40 games against Habersham Central dating back to the first meeting in 1970, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. Habersham Central lost to Stephens County in 2016, 27-7, and has dropped 12 straight in the rivalry dating back to 1997. But with quarterback AJ Curry at the helm of an offense averaging 46 points per game, the Raiders are poised to finally end that trend.

North Hall vs. White County:

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: The Brickyard, Gainesville

Records: North Hall (0-3), White County (3-1)

Last week: The Trojans lost 42-35 in a tight game against Pickens in Jasper. White County suffered a 49-26 loss Rabun County in Cleveland.

What to watch for: Peyton Mavity rushed for 122 yards and scored one touchdown for North Hall last week, while Jack Brown rushed for three touchdowns. The Trojans will need to work on closing out games after allowing Pickens to take the lead with just more than six minutes to play. 

Despite being a freshman, Ben Haynes has taken the reins at quarterback for White County. He threw for 252 yards last week, and Kaleb Crane rushed for 163 yards with two touchdowns for the Warriors. After hauling in a touchdown catch against Rabun County, Ty Ulrich also poses a scoring threat. Brett Bardenwerper added two field goals for White County, giving the Warriors a solid option on special teams. 

The series between these two teams is tied at 22 wins apiece. The Warriors’ only win last season came against North Hall, a 24-23 victory secured by a 2-point conversion in overtime.

Riverside Military Academy vs. Towns County

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Maginnis Field, Gainesville

Records:  Riverside Military Academy (0-3), Towns County (1-2)

Last week: The Eagles fell short in a 16-13 loss to George Walton Academy in Gainesville, while Towns County took a 28-0 loss against Prince Avenue Christian in Athens.

What to watch for: Riverside Military is still seeking its first win of the season, and Stephen Aleandre (more than 300 rushing yards) will likely need a big game to make that happen. The Eagles take on their Region 8-A foe hoping to avenge a 13-6 loss from last season.

The Indians will lean on the rushing duo of Zach Davenport (247 yards, three touchdowns) and Cole Ledford (140 yards).

Buford vs. South Pointe (S.C.)

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Records: Buford (2-0); South Pointe (2-0)

What to watch for: Ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, the Wolves will be playing their first game in September. The opponent couldn’t be much stronger. South Pointe is the top-ranked program in any classification in South Carolina and comes in at No. 20 nationally, according to MaxPreps.com. 

Through two games, Christian Turner is leading the Wolves with 256 yards, while Anthony Grant has 160 yards on the ground. South Pointe’s top player is Clemson commit Derion Kendrick, a quarterback, who has thrown for 687 yards and rushed for 225 in only two games. South Pointe defensive end Eli Adams, a Virginia Tech commit, has 6 ½ sacks.

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