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High school football: Week 1 previews
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Game of the Week: Gainesville, West Hall open football season in county clash

North Hall vs. Chestatee

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: The Brickyard

Game notes: This game has lost a bit of its allure since the Trojans dropped down to Class AAA while the War Eagles continue to play in Class AAAA. ... North Hall has continued to improve under third-year coach David Bishop, winning two games in 2014 and six games last season ... Chestatee hired Shaun Conley as coach after going 0-10 in 2015. ... Conley is a first-year head coach but has 25 years as an assistant coach under his belt, including more than a decade under former Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw in South Hall. ... The War Eagles will have the numbers in their favor to make the postseason in 2016, seeking one of four postseason spots from Region 7-AAAA in a five-team region. ... Chestatee also has nonregion games against East Hall and Flowery Branch on the schedule. ... The Trojans are the season opener for Class AAAAA Flowery Branch on Aug. 26. ... North Hall has won 13 of 14 against Chestatee since it branched off and opened in 2002.

East Hall at Habersham Central

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Raider Stadium, Mount Airy

Game notes: The Vikings will have an early test against the biggest school it will face all season, Class AAAAAA Habersham Central. ... East Hall’s pass-happy offense returns a 2,000-yard quarterback in junior Austin Parker and 1,000-yard receiver Markese Jackson from 2015. ... After the season opener, East Hall has nonregion games against Chestatee and Johnson in the next few weeks. ... For the second consecutive year, Habersham Central is coming off a one-win season. ... The Raiders’ offense is bolstered by an electric running game, headed by senior Michael Babers. ... Habersham Central has remained in Class AAAAA this season, despite the addition of a higher classification in the latest realignment by the Georgia High School Association. ... The Raiders’ region includes Gainesville, Lanier and Winder-Barrow, among others. ... The Vikings remain in 7-AAA and will contend with a thick talent pool including North Hall, Greater Atlanta Christian and Lumpkin County, among others, for a playoff spot in November. ... East Hall is facing Habersham Central for the first time in 31 years.

Johnson at Social Circle

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Redskin Stadium, Social Circle

Game notes: The Knights and Redskins will meet for the first time in history tonight as the two vie for a victory to start their 2016 campaign. ... The Redskins are in their third year under head coach Chad Estes. ... After five years of playing a complete nonregion schedule, Johnson will compete in Region 8-AAAAA this season, the fifth under head coach Jason Roquemore. ... The Knights return passing leader Sam Corbett from a year ago. ... Corbett (558 yards) and fullback Cody Long (588 yards) led Johnson in rushing last season, both had five touchdowns. ... The Knights will lean on their linebacking core to be the strength of the defense. ... Roquemore is also looking to his secondary to make big plays this season.

Buford vs. Roswell

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Walter H. Cantrell Stadium, Powder Springs

Game notes: Buford and Roswell bring impressive resumes to this nonregional matchup for the annual Corky Kell Classic in Powder Springs.

The 2014 Class AAAA runner-up Wolves open the season against last year’s Class AAAAAA state runner-up Roswell, a team that compiled 14 wins on the way to a 30-13 loss to Colquitt County from inside the Georgia Dome last December.

The Hornets were bumped up to the Class AAAAAAA this season.

Roswell harnesses a dangerous arsenal of veteran weapons. Those returning include senior running back Sheldon Evans (1,700 yards, 27 TDs), senior wide receiver Jayden Comma (1,088 yards, 13 TDs), senior defensive end Koby Cumberlander (66 tackles, 15 sacks), and senior defensive backs Xavier McKinney (111 tackles, nine interceptions) and Leanthony Williams, both major D-I prospects.

Buford luckily has prior experience playing opponents of a much higher classification, 6A McEachern for example. The Indians handed the Wolves their first regular season loss since 2012 in a 37-14 decision at Walter H. Cantrell Stadium last September.

Roswell has led the series 11-3 since 1952, though this will be the first meeting since 1983.

White County at Franklin County

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Ed Bryant Stadium, Carnesville

Game notes: The Warriors and Lions have met 10 times in history with each team taking five wins apiece in the series. Franklin County won the last meeting against White County, 21-14, in 2011.

Franklin County lost to Adairsville in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs to finish 2015 at 6-5 overall.

This will be the first of six nonregional matchups for the Warriors, plenty of time for coach Bill Ballard to fine-tune his players before their Oct. 7 region 7-AAAA opener with Blessed Trinity. Other teams to share the league this season include Chestatee, Marist and West Hall.

Junior Kaleb Crane, who was an All-Region selection at running back in 2015, makes his debut as the Warriors’ true starting quarterback in the triple-option set against a Lions’ defense that allowed an average of 25 points per game last year — including 54 points against Dawson County.

Jefferson at Discovery

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight

Where: Titans Stadium in Lawrenceville

Game notes: Since ending last year with a second-round playoff appearance under the AAA classification, the Dragons’ 2016 campaign begins against Class AAAAAAA Discovery, a program that begins its first full season under coach Efrem Hill.

The Dragons will look to kickstart their running game with three-year starter Colby Wood (2,100 rushing yards in 2015) on offense.

Returning First-Team All-State safety Zack Boobas should lead the defense.
This is the first meeting between both teams.