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Football: Friday night previews
Here are previews of tonight's action
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Hear Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle talk about the impact the Warren Featherbone Co. has had on the Gainesville-Hall County community.

Here are previews of tonight's action. 

East Hall at Chestatee

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: War Eagle Stadium

Records: East Hall (0-5); Chestatee (4-1)

Coaches: East Hall, Bryan Gray; Chestatee, Stan Luttrell

Key players: East Hall, WR/FS Austin Morgan (6-0, 180 Sr.); WR/LB Montoious Tanner (6-0, 185 Soph.); LB Hugo Rangel (5-5 150 Sr.). Chestatee, RB Jo Jo Sweet (5-11, 195 Sr.), LB Chase Vasser (6-3, 200 Jr.), QB Ethan Souther (5-8 160, Sr.).

Outlook: In terms of momentum, these two teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Chestatee is coming off its biggest win of the season and, arguably, school history, after beating Gainesville 35-19 at home last week.

Winless East Hall lost in a rout, 37-7, to West Hall last Friday, the only other team without a win before Week 6.

The War Eagles controlled their game with Gainesville with a safe, consistent running attack, and this week should be no different.

The trio of Jo Jo Sweet, Ben Souther and Ethan Souther give Stan Luttrell’s split-back option versatility.

They are all capable of running for over 100 yards in a game. With the number of carries they will be getting, more than one could reach triple digits.

The War Eagles are averaging 36 points per game and have only failed to pass 30 points once, their 43-14 loss to Flowery Branch.

Chestatee’s defense looked just as impressive last Friday night. After giving up 19 points in the first half, the War Eagles shut down and shut out Gainesville’s big-play offense.

East Hall is still searching for a lot of things, but near the top of that list is a quarterback.

While Desmon Gardner was the starter in last week’s loss, coach Bryan Gray split the duties under center with two other quarterbacks.

Without a solidified leader, East Hall’s offense is scoring an average of 5.6 points per game. East Hall has scored in double digits once this season and has been shut out twice.

The Vikings are also still looking for some defense. East Hall is giving up an average of 41.6 points per game.

Chestatee won last year’s game against the Vikings 22-14 but has lost two of the last three meetings between the two teams.

Prediction: CHESTATEE. If the War Eagles keep the turnovers to a minimum, they should breeze to their first subregion win of the season.


Mount de Sales at Riverside Military Academy

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Maginnis Field

Records: Riverside (2-3), Mount de Sales (2-3)

Coaches: Riverside Military, Chris Lancaster; Mount de Sales, Robert Slocum

Key players: Riverside Military, RB/LB Tersoo Uhaa (5-9, 200 Sr.); WR Kyle Glennon (5-10, 200 Jr.); WR/DB Ewin Holyfield (6-0, 175 Sr.). Mount de Sales, QB/LB Rosser McCallie (5-11, 170 Jr.); RB/DB Jamiah Walker (5-11, 175 So.); DE/TE Phillip Harvey (6-3, 225 Sr.).

Outlook: Riverside Military will have senior quarterback Bill Dearybury back on the field after missing the Eagles’ last game two weeks ago with turf toe. According to Eagles coach Chris Lancaster, it’s still unclear whether Dearybury is going to be at 100 percent. He’ll wear a steel insert in his shoe tonight to remedy the injury.

"It’s good to have him back at quarterback, he’s a tough kid and great leader for our team," Lancaster said.

Dearybury’s presence was missed in their loss to Deerfield-Windsor on Sept. 28. The Eagles’ were in position to win but couldn’t put together their two-minute offense needed to win or send the game to overtime.

Riverside has now dropped its last three games. However, the final five games in the Georgia Independent Schools Association’s North Class AAA region are what determine the playoff qualifiers.

According to Lancaster, the Cavaliers are a Wing-T based offense that also can go to a three-receiver set. On defense, Mount de Sales lines up in an eight man front.

"The bottom line for us is we have to take care of the fundamentals," Lancaster said. "(Tonight’s) game is very important for our team."

Prediction: RIVERSIDE MILITARY. The Eagles are going to be closer to full strength with Dearybury back in the huddle, and eager to get a win on homecoming at Maginnis Field.


West Hall at Pickens

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Dragons Stadium, Jasper

Directions: Start going Northeast on Ga. 365 toward Bradford Street. Turn left at Jesse Jewell Parkway. Turn right at Ga. 53, continue on Ga. 53 North. At the traffic circle, take the third exit onto Ga. 53/Main Street and continue to follow Ga. 53. Turn right at Ga. 53/ Ga. 754. Turn right at Dragon Drive. The school is on the right.

Records: West Hall (1-5). Pickens (2-4)

Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; Pickens, Steve Sewell

Key players: West Hall, RB/LB Marquise Stephens (6-2, 185 Jr.); FB/LB Daniel Drummond (6-3, 230 Jr.); WR/DB Will Edge (5-10 170 Sr.). Pickens, LB/RB Alex Willingham (5-10, 175 Jr.), WR/DB Devin Mosley (5-8, 150 Sr.), QB/DB R.J. Harrington (5-9 165, Sr.).

Outlook: The Dragons have won the last three meetings between these two teams, including a 35-7 blowout last year.

But West Hall has a few things going for it at the start of the season’s home stretch.

First, the Spartans won their first game of the season last week in impressive fashion, beating East Hall 37-7.

Second, West Hall has found a true running attack in the tandem of running back Marquise Stephens and fullback Daniel Drummond.

Both have run for more than 100 yards each in the last two weeks and Stephens has run for more than 100 yards in the Spartans’ last four games.

Third, Pickens is struggling this season. The Dragons have not won fewer than seven games since 2003, but they would have to win all of their remaining games to win six this season.

Pickens’ offense is only slightly better than West Hall’s, averaging two points more per game than the Spartans.

Looking at shared opponents, both teams were shut out by North Hall (Pickens lost 56-0 and West Hall lost 42-0) and both teams beat East Hall.

But Pickens looked more impressive in beating the Vikings, winning 54-14.

Both teams also lost to Gilmer, but West Hall only lost by a missed extra point.

Prediction: WEST HALL. The Spartans have momentum on their side and Pickens looks vulnerable to a strong running game.


Holy Innocents’ at Buford

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tom Ridden Stadium, Buford

Records: Holy Innocents’ (4-1, 1-0 Region 6A-AA); Buford (6-0, 4-0 Region 6B-AA)

Coaches: Holy Innocents’, Ryan Livezey ; Buford, Jess Simpson

Key players: Holy Innocents’, RB Wills Aitkens (5-9, 200 So.); QB Will Allen (5-10, 160 So.). Buford, RB Demetris Murray (5-10, 205 Sr.), DT Omar Hunter (6-0, 305 Sr.), RB/DB Cody Getz (5-6 150, Jr.).

Outlook: Unbeaten. Unchallenged.

With college-level talent littering both sides of the line of scrimmage, No. 1 Buford has smashed each team in its path so far this season, including then-ranked foes Greater Atlanta Christian and Class AAA Cartersville.

Offensively, the Wolves spread the ball around, utilizing their traditional run-first/play-action pass offense. South Florida recruit Demetris Murray is the workhorse with 10 TDs and 7.4 yards per carry, but Indiana commit Alex Hunt has emerged with 186 rushing yards on 19 carries since first getting on the field two weeks ago.

The Wolves defense, a unit led by Notre Dame recruit Omar Hunter and Georgia Tech linebacker recruit T.J. Pridemore, has forced 20 turnovers and is yielding just 1.9 yards per rush this season.

The Bears are led by a pair of sophomores — running back Wills Aitkens and quarterback Will Allen — and are coming off a 42-0 trouncing of winless Cross Keys. It was the third straight win for Holy Innocents’ after a 7-3 loss to North Oconee in Week 2.

Prediction: BUFORD. The Wolves won’t get pushed until the playoffs — if then.


Habersham Central at Dacula

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Dacula

Radio: 99.3-FM

Directions: From Habersham County, take US 441 South to US Interstate 85 South. Follow I-85 South to Exit 120 for Hamilton Mill Road. Turn left on Hamilton Mill Road. Turn right on Braselton Hwy. Turn left at Auburn Road. Turn right at Dacula Road. Turn right at Broad Street. School is located at 123 Broad Street in Dacula.

Records: Habersham Central (4-1, 2-0 Region 8A-AAAA); Dacula (3-3, 2-1 Region 8A-AAAA)

Coaches: Habersham Central, Gene Catchcart; Dacula, Kevin Maloof

Key players: Habersham Central, WR Tavarres King (6-2, 170 Sr.); QB Bo Hatchett (6-1, 190 Sr.); LB Daniel Franklin (6-3 230 Sr.). Dacula, RB/DB Cisco Barry (5-10, 160 Sr.), RB/DB Khiry Battle (6-0, 205 Sr.), RB Zack Scruggs (5-9 165, Sr.).

Outlook: At the midway point of its season, Habersham Central has risen to the top of its subregion, along with Clarke Central. The Raiders can solidify that post with a win in Dacula tonight.

Since falling 31-28 to Stephens County (Class AAA No. 4), Habersham Central has won three straight, outscoring its opponents 102-17.

Record-setting receiver and Georgia recruit Tavarres King is the most potent of the Raiders’ offensive weapons. Despite teams scheming to keep the ball away from the senior speedster, he’s averaging nearly eight catches and more than 120 receiving yards per game. The Raiders running game has proven effective as well, with seniors Zach Chitwood and Robert Renshaw combining for 640 rushing yards this season.

The Falcons sport a bevy of talented backs including last year’s leading rusher Zack Scruggs and Arkansas recruit Khiry Battle. But lately the crew-by-committee approach has tilted in favor of Cisco Barry, who rushed for 118 yards and three scores on 19 carries in last week’s 28-21 loss to Clarke Central.

Prediction: HABERSHAM CENTRAL. The Raiders’ balance is the reason they haven’t lost in Region 8-AAAA since Sept. 22 of last year, and it’s the reason they’ll win again tonight.


Lumpkin County at Gilmer

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Huff-Mosley Memorial Stadium, Ellijay

Directions: From Dahlonega: Start out going South on School Drive towards US Highway 19. Turn left onto US Highway 19. Turn right onto Skyline Drive. Turn left onto N. Hall Road. Turn left onto West Circle. Turn right onto Bus Barn Road NW. Turn right onto Torrington Road. Turn left onto Hamp Mill Road. Turn right onto Ga. Highway 52 and follow it for 2.5 miles. Take another right onto Ga. Highway 52 and follow it 34 miles before taking a slight right on Depot Street in Ellijay. Turn right onto Jeff Street and follow it for 0.1 miles ending at Gilmer County School.

Records: Lumpkin County (3-2); Gilmer (2-3)

Coaches: Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones; Gilmer, Bradley Warren

Key players: Lumpkin County, QB Daniel Abercrombie (5-10, 160 Jr.); RB/DB Ken Jackson (5-9, 170 Sr.); OL/DL Mike Trump (6-3, 275 Sr.). Gilmer FB Ethan Watkins Sr.; RB Rod Newberry Sr.; DB Darrin Greene Sr.

Outlook: Gilmer is coming off wins against West Hall and Pickens, and according to Lumpkin County coach Tommy Jones, the Bobcats are "playing with a lot of confidence."

The Indians’ confidence is high as well.

Playing last week without star running back Cameron Jackson, who went down with an ankle injury in the Indians’ game against Gainesville, Lumpkin County managed to score 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat Johnson 17-7.

With its win over the Knights, Lumpkin County is off to its best start since 2003.

Gilmer, however, is also off to its best start since 2003 and that’s not where the similarities end with the two teams.

"Gilmer is a lot like us," said Jones. "They run a 3-5 on defense and a double slot on offense and try to do the same things we do."

The good thing about facing a team that is schematically akin to your team?

Both sides of the ball are familiar with what the other side is going to do simply because they have faced it each day in practice.

Lumpkin County and Gilmer are seperated by only eight points when it comes to average points per game and three points when it comes to how much they give up per game.

Gilmer beat Lumpkin County 40-17 in 2006.

Prediction: LUMPKIN COUNTY. Having gotten blown out last season by Gilmer the Indians will have a chip on their shoulder and combined with the confidence that comes with a win like they had last week, Lumpkin County will leave Ellijay with a win after a hard-fought game.


Bremen at Jefferson

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jefferson

Directions: From Gainesville, take 129 South for approximately 22 miles. Turn left onto Old Swimming Pool Road. Stadium is on the right.

Records: Bremen (5-1), Jefferson (3-2)

Coaches: Bremen, Ricky Tolleson; Jefferson, Bill Navas

Key players: Jefferson, QB Josh Bohanan (5-9, 180 Sr.); RB Zach Crosby (5-9, 175 Jr.); DB Tab Martin (5-9, 165 Jr.).

Outlook: Last season, Bremen cruised past Jefferson 42-14. This game marks only the fourth time the two teams have played one another.

Jefferson is coming off its second consecutive win, a 55-0 rout against Trion in Week 6.

Bremen, who began the season 5-0, lost 33-25 last Friday to Eagles Landing Christian Academy.

Senior linebacker Mack Rakestraw leads a talented, experienced Jefferson defense. Last week, Rakestraw finished the first half with six tackles (four for loss), one sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

In Week 6, the rushing trio of Tyler Hill, Zach Crosby and Tab Martin accounted for seven of Jefferson’s eight touchdowns.

Prediction: JEFFERSON. Although this could be one of Jefferson’s toughest game yet, the Jefferson backfield should wear down a Bremen defense that is giving up nearly three touchdowns per game.

Rabun County at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Homer

Records: Rabun County (0-5, 0-1 Region 8B-AA); Banks County (1-4, 0-0 Region 8B-AA)

Coaches: Rabun County, Steve Patterson; Banks County, Blair Armstrong

Key players: Rabun County, QB Andrew Smith (5-9, 165 Sr.); FB/SS Mikey Ciochetti (5-10, 175 Sr.); TE/DE Austin Franklin (6-0 175 Sr.). Banks County, RB Justin Beasley (5-9, 175 Jr.), QB Dustin Worley (6-3, 205 Sr.), WR Jamail Jennings (6-3 185, Sr.)

Outlook: After opening its season with an electrical storm-interrupted 14-0 win over Jackson County, Banks County has lost its last four in a row. Other than a blowout against Greene County, however, the Leopards have managed to remain competitive in every game during that span.

If they’re to snap their own skid — an extend Rabun County’s — much of the work will likely fall to Justin Beasley, the Leopards’ junior tailback. Beasley is averaging 124 rushing yards per game this season and 7 yards per carry.

The Wildcats have struggled this season defensively, surrendering 38 points per game. They’ve lost seven consecutive games, dating back to last season, and their 21-7 loss to Dawson County last week was their closest game this year.

Prediction: BANKS COUNTY. Beasley should be enough to boost Banks to its first win over Rabun County since 2001.


Union County at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Dawsonville

Radio: 104.3-FM

Records: Union County (1-4, 0-1 Region 8B-AA); Dawson County (2-4, 1-0 Region 8B-AA)

Coaches: Union County, Todd Peugh; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Key players: Union County, QB Kolt Owenby (6-2, 210 So.); RB/WR Blake Gowder (6-2, 215 So.); LB Robert Hider (5-10 200 Sr.). Dawson County, QB Austin Lark (5-10, 175 Sr.); WR/CB Shawn Baker (5-8 150 Jr.); RB/LB Evan Weatherford (5-10, 170 Jr.)

Outlook: Despite losing big in each of its first four games, Dawson County’s in first place. Well technically, the Tigers are tied with Fannin County at the top of the subregion, but any way you slice it, they’re a legitimate contender for a playoff spot.

The Tigers gave up more than 200 yards on the ground in last week’s 21-7 win over Rabun County, but the Tigers defense forced five turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by junior Shawn Baker.

The defense could get tested again tonight against the Panthers’ pass-happy offense. Union County’s only win came against Towns County (a team in the midst of a 32-game losing streak), but the Panthers are putting up 21 points per game.

Prediction: DAWSON COUNTY. With something to play for, the Tigers won’t slip up at home.


Commerce at Social Circle

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Social Circle

Records: Commerce (4-2); Social Circle (2-4)

Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Social Circle Troy Morris

Key players: Commerce, QB Reuben Haynes (6-0, 185 Sr.); TE/S Cohen Cooke (6-0, 185 Sr.); C Baxter Barnes (5-10, 225 Sr.). Social Circle, TB Jamahl Street; QB Damion Partee.

Outlook: Commerce won the matchup between these two teams last year 24-20 and has won the last 10 out of 12 times the two have played one another.

The Tigers success usually depends on how many times Commerce quarterback Reuben Haynes touches the ball.

Haynes has accumulated 981 rushing yards (9.3 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns through six games. Haynes has also passed for 800 yards and four touchdowns.

Prediction: COMMERCE. The Tigers offense shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball against Social Circle’s defense.


Jackson County at Clarke Central

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Billy Henderson Stadium

Directions: From Jefferson, head south on US 129 into Athens. Turn right onto Milledge Avenue. School is at 350 South Milledge Ave.

Records: Jackson County (0-5, 0-2 Region 8A-AAAA); Clarke Central (4-1-1, 3-0 Region 8A-AAAA)

Coaches: Jackson County, Billy Kirk; Clarke Central, Leroy Ryals

Key players: Jackson County, LB Jacob Dias (6-0, 230 Sr.); QB Chad Daniel (6-2, 190 Sr.); RB Adarius Hendrix (5-10 170 Sr.). Clarke Central, RB Darreion Robinson (5-9, 170 Sr.), QB Beau Evans (6-2, 210 Sr.), RB Terence Scruggs (5-9 180, Sr.)

Outlook: Limping through what will likely be its last season for a while as a Class AAAA school, Jackson County travels to Athens tonight, still in search of its first win.

The Panthers’ roster took a hit due to the opening of East Jackson High this school year, leaving Jackson County with what coach Billy Kirk referred to earlier this year as Class AA numbers.

They’ve only scored two touchdowns this season, but the biggest challenge for the Panthers tonight might be slowing down Clarke Central’s Darreion Robinson. Robinson, a four-year starter and the younger brother of Houston Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson, has already topped 850 rushing yards this season, including last week’s 194-yard outburst in a win over Dacula. Terence Suggs complements Robinson in the Gladiators backfield and rushed for 74 yards last week, including a 40-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: CLARKE CENTRAL. The Gladiators have too many weapons; Jackson County has too few Panthers.

Last week: 8-1

Season record: 44-9

Jeff Cochran, Katie B. Davis, Bill Murphy, Corey Wilson and Brent Holloway contributed
to this report.

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