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High school football: Week 10 previews
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The Blitz: Your source for high school football

Chestatee at West Forsyth

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Cumming

Radio: 102.9-FM

Coaches: Chestatee, Stan Luttrell; West Forsyth, Frank Hepler

Records: Chestatee (4-4, 3-2 Region 7A-AAA); West Forsyth (4-4, 2-2 Region 7B-AAA)
Key players: Chestatee, RB Ben Souther (6-1, 200 Sr.), QB/DB Lamar Brooks (5-11, 190 Sr.), RB/LB Keaton Summerlin (5-11, 190 Sr.). West Forsyth, RB Ben Emert (6-1, 230 Sr.), WR Ethan Shirley (6-0, 180 Jr.), OL Jeff Sayer (6-3, 250 Sr.).

Outlook: This season is becoming eerily similar to last season for Chestatee, as the War Eagles have lost two straight subregion games after a 3-0 start. Luckily for the War Eagles, tonight’s game in Cumming has no impact on the playoffs, but a win could give them some much-needed momentum heading into the season finale against Creekview. And a win over the Grizzlies will give Chestatee a good chance at reaching the playoffs.

The postseason is out of the realm of possibility for West Forsyth, which lost a shootout last week to Flowery Branch that put the Falcons in the playoffs for the fifth straight year. With nothing to play for, the Wolverines could just go through the motions, but it’s more than likely that West Forsyth will try and end the season on a high note with two straight wins.

Tonight is a battle between two run-first offenses with Souther leading the way for Chestatee and Emert taking the majority of the carries for the Wolverines. Last week, Emert rushed for 346 yards and five touchdowns in the loss to Flowery Branch and could duplicate that tonight, as the War Eagles allowed 300 yards rushing to North Hall last week.

Prediction: WEST FORSYTH. Emert probably won’t rush for nearly 350 yards, but the Wolverines will use their running skill to control the game and the scoreboard.

Johnson at Gainesville

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Bobby Gruhn Field

Radio: 1240-AM

Coaches: Johnson, Paul Friel; Gainesville, Bruce Miller

Records: Johnson (3-6, 2-2 Region 7B-AAA); Gainesville (8-0, 3-0)

Key players: Johnson, QB Anthony Prophet (6-0, 200 Sr.), RB Mantevius Rucker (6-2, 215 Jr.), DT E.J. Wright (6-4, 300 Sr.). Gainesville, QB Blake Sims (6-1, 180 Sr.), LB A.J. Johnson (6-2, 220 Jr.), WR Tai-ler Jones (6-0, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: Gainesville could easily look ahead with a trip to Flowery Branch on the horizon next week. With a win, the Red Elephants would solidify its second consecutive Region 7-AAA title against the Falcons.

However, first things first. Gainesville has its final regular season home game against the Knights.

The Red Elephants are on a mission to play for a state title this season. On the other hand, Johnson is playing its final game of the season. The Knights won last week against East Hall behind a gritty ground game of 345 yards and six rushing touchdowns.

Johnson is averaging 270 yards of offense per game this season.

Meanwhile, Gainesville cruised last week with a 36-7 win against Gilmer. The Red Elephants have already secured a berth in the playoffs.

Gainesville gets it done on the ground and in the air offensively. Sims now has 1,232 passing yards and 18 touchdowns on the season, while Jones leads the team with 43 catches for 708 yards.

On the ground, Teryan Rucker leads the Elephants with 693 yards and seven touchdowns and Sims has rushed for 438 yards.
Gainesville is averaging 45 points per game. On defense, the Red Elephants are allowing only 139 yards and seven points per game.

Thomas Sprague (98 tackles) and A.J. Johnson (94 tackles), both linebackers, are Gainesville’s leading tacklers.

Prediction: GAINESVILLE. Final tune-up for the Red Elephants before regular season finale at Flowery Branch.

Athens Academy at Lakeview

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Jock Horner Field, Gainesville

Coaches: Athens Academy, Michael Gunn; Lakeview Academy, Matthew Gruhn

Records: Athens Academy (5-3, 2-2 Region 8-A); Lakeview Academy (1-6, 0-4)

Key players: Athens Academy, QB Mark Sanders, RB Chandler Gunn, WR Partick Wellborn. Lakeview Academy, RB/LB Tom Drury (5-10, 190 Sr.), LB/RB Lex Little (6-1, 190 Sr.), QB/LB Jordan Chastain (6-0, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: Athens Academy is coming off a 31-0 loss to Class A’s No. 1-ranked Wesleyan and currently sits as the No. 4 team in the region.

Led by Sanders, Gunn and Wellborn, the Spartans are averaging 34 points per game while giving up only 16.

Lakeview, on the other hand, is coming of its fifth-straight loss, this one a 41-0 loss to Commerce.

The Lions, led by Tom Drury (504 yards and 3 touchdowns), are averaging 9.9 points per game and giving up 21.

Prediction: ATHENS ACADEMY. The Spartans are just too strong.

Gilmer at North Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: The Brickyard

Coaches: Gilmer, Wesley Tankersley; North Hall, Bob Christmas

Records: Gilmer (4-4, 2-2 Region 7A-AAA); North Hall (6-2, 4-0)

Key players: Gilmer, OL/DL Wesley Nestor (6-0, 265 Sr.), LB Sawyer Petit (6-2, 200 Jr.), OL/DL Derrick Greene (5-10, 205 So.). North Hall, OL/DL Daniel Blitch (6-5, 320 Sr.), LB/RB Peyton Wilhoite (6-1, 220 Sr.), QB/DB Nathan Jones (5-11, 185 Sr.).

Outlook: Every game in the subregion is big. This one for the Trojans looms particularly large. North Hall has a chance tonight to lock up the subregion for the fourth consecutive season.

North Hall has won all four subregion games to this point and has only allowed one touchdown in the last three North subregion games combined.

With a win, the Trojans will extend their streak to 21-consecutive wins in subregion competition.

Wilhoite (78 tackles, two tackles for a loss) leads a Trojans defense that is allowing 281 yards of offense per game. Meanwhile, the Trojans are averaging 339 yards offensively per game (258 rushing). Jones has 509 passing yards and four touchdowns this season for North Hall. Wilhoite is North Hall’s leading rusher with 477 yards and six touchdowns.

“They are very good at what they do and do it full speed,” Gilmer coach Wesley Tankersley said. “We are striving to become a team that is more like North Hall.”

Gilmer is still mathematically alive for the playoffs but would have to win its final two games and also have Creekview lose its last two games. The Bobcats’ back-to-back subregion victories came earlier this season against Lumpkin County and Pickens.

Prediction: NORTH HALL. The Trojans lock up the subregion and a home playoff game tonight.

Riverside at Union County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville

Coaches: Riverside, Scot Sloan; Union County, Brian Allison

Records: Riverside (3-5, 3-4 Region 8-AA); Union County (5-3, 4-3)

Key players: Riverside, QB/LB Lucas Bersin (6-0, 205 Sr.) RB/LB Aaron Gambrah (6-1, 200 Sr.), TE Brandon McKinney (6-5, 255 Sr.). Union County, QB Kolt Owenby (6-2, 180 Sr.), WR/LB Blake Gowder (6-2, 210 Sr.), LB Michael Sossei (6-0, 190 Sr.).

Outlook: It’s do-or-die time for Riverside. Union County hasn’t reached that level of peril, but tonight’s game is a near must-win for the Panthers, too.

Riverside absorbed a costly loss last week at Oglethorpe County and has now dropped four of its last five. If that turns into five out of six tonight, the Eagles will be eliminated from postseason contention.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have won three straight and taken over the No. 4 spot in the region. They’ve done so with an awful lot of offense and just enough defense to get by. In their three-game winning steak, Union County is scoring more than 38 points per game. Owenby has been at the forefront. In the last two weeks, the area’s leading passer has accounted for 611 passing yards, 208 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns. Gowder, who leads the area with 56 receptions for 894 yards, has been his top target.

Offensively, Riverside has difficulty finding a consistent source of production. For the year, the Eagles are averaging 107 rushing yards and 127 passing yards per game.

Prediction: UNION COUNTY. The Panthers’ offense is too much to keep pace with.

West Hall at East Hall

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Vikings Stadium, East Hall

Coaches: West Hall, Mike Newton; East Hall, Bryan Gray

Records: West Hall (0-8, 0-3 Region 7B-AAA); East Hall (0-8, 0-4)

Key players: West Hall, QB Shunquez Stephens (6-4, 240 Jr.) WR/LB Ishmail Nuckles (6-0, 180 Sr.); RB Marquise Young (5-9, 180 Sr.). East Hall, OL/DE Sterling Bailey (6-6, 250 Jr.), RB/DE Chaz Cheeks (6-5, 225 Jr.), QB/DB Desmon Gardner (5-10, 165 Sr.).

Outlook: It’s nothing quite as precious as a playoff berth, but there’s more than just bragging rights on the line tonight when the Spartans and Vikings meet. With opportunities dwindling, both teams are still looking for their first win of the season.

For West Hall, the problem has been on the defensive side. The Spartans have had opportunities to win games this year (most recently in a 49-45 loss to Johnson two weeks ago), and feature one of the area’s most prolific offenses, led by Stephens’ nearly 2,000 passing yards.

Meanwhile, the Vikings feature a pair of big, tenacious defensive ends in Bailey and Cheeks, but have struggled with their offensive productivity.

Prediction: WEST HALL. The Spartans get in the win column, while the Vikings are left with one final chance next week against Pickens.

Westminster at Buford

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford

Radio: 550-AM

Coaches: Westminster, Gerry Romberg; Buford, Jess Simpson

Records: Westminster (6-2, 5-0 Region 6-AA); Buford (7-1, 4-1)

Key players: Westminster, RB Ralph David Abernathy IV (5-6, 150 Jr.), QB William Linginfelter (6-0, 135 Jr.), TE/LB Malcolm Chester (6-1, 195 Sr.). Buford, FB/LB Jessel Curry (6-2, 218 Sr.), OL/DL Du’Von Millsap (6-5, 333 Sr.), OL/DL Kolton Houston (6-5, 280 Sr.).

Outlook: There’s still an outside chance for Buford to win its eighth-straight region title, and in order to keep those hopes alive, the Wolves will have to take out the current No. 1-seed in their region, Westminster.

A Buford win tonight would force a three-way tie for first in the region and the tiebreaker scenario would be murky, with the Wolves beating Westminster, Westminster beating Lovett and Lovett beating Buford. But for that to happen, the Wolves will have to beat the Wildcats, who have won six straight, surrendering only 12 points over the past four games.

Buford’s defense has been just as good of late, allowing one touchdown during its five-game win streak.

Prediction: BUFORD. The Wolves make things interesting in Region 6-AA and force a three-way tie for first place.

Creekview at Lumpkin County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Indians Stadium, Dahlonega

Coaches: Creekview, Al Morrell; Lumpkin County, Tommy Jones

Records: Creekview (7-1, 3-1 Region 7A-AAA); Lumpkin County (4-4, 1-3)

Key players: Creekview, QB Cody Allen (Jr.), RB Hunter Livingston (Sr.), RB/DB Michael Ay (Sr.). Lumpkin County, RB/LB Jake McClure (5-11, 195 Sr.), RB/DB Ian McIntosh (5-9, 160 So.), TE/DL B.J. Dorsey (6-2, 215, So.).

Outlook: Since being beaten handily by North Hall (45-21) in its subregion opener, Class AAA’s No. 10 Creekview has played like a team possessed.

The Grizzlies are averaging 45.75 points per game in the last four games, 44 against subregion competition. As if their offensive production isn’t enough, their defense is allowing only 8, outscoring opponents 183-35.

In three of Lumpkin County’s four losses, the Indians have been within 12 points of their opponents and can boast that they have the stingiest defense in the subregion, allowing only 13 points per game.

The crux for the Indians — averaging 17 points per game — is that Creekview is second only to them in points allowed per game with 17 and have, as has been said, held opponents to half that since the North Hall loss.

Lumpkin County will need another performance like it got from quarterback Taylor Guthrie (141 yards and a touchdown) to have a chance at ending Creekview’s four-game winning streak.

The defense will do what it’s done all season, effectively and efficiently stop opponents, but the Indians offense will have to be at its best.

Prediction: CREEKVIEW. The Grizzlies aren’t 7-1 by accident and prove it yet again tonight.

Pickens at White County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Cleveland

Radio: 1350-AM

Coaches: Pickens, Steve Sewell; White County, Gregg Segraves

Records: Pickens (1-7, 0-5 Region 7A-AAA); White County (5-3, 2-2)

Key players: Pickens, QB Cooper Shaw (Sr.) LB Dustin Nicholson (Sr.), RB/LB Jordan Shaw (Jr.). White County, RB Ashely Lowery (6-2, 190 Jr.), DL Tyler Hamilton (6-1, 285 Sr.), QB Cole Segraves (6-4, 225 Fr.).

Outlook: The Warriors know that every game and every point are important if they hope to somehow reach the playoffs this season. With losses to Creekview and North Hall, White County needs to win out and score as much as possible (for tiebreaker reasons), and hope that the Grizzlies lose one of their final two games.

White County should be able to score plenty of points tonight against Pickens, a team that has lost seven straight since the season-opening win against West Hall. The Dragons have scored only seven points during the losing streak and have allowed an average of 36 points per game.

The Warriors enter tonight’s game winners of two straight, including last week’s 17-7 win over Lumpkin County.

Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. The Warriors keep their slim playoff chances alive with a big win.

Oglethorpe County at Banks County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Leopard Stadium, Homer

Coaches: Oglethorpe County, Larry Milligan; Banks County, Blair Armstrong

Records: Oglethorpe County (3-5, 2-5 Region 8-AA); Banks County (2-6, 2-5)
Key players: Oglethorpe County, QB A.J. Perlotte (5-10, 180 Sr.), RB D.J. Johnson (6-1, 175 Sr.), WR Cody Erwin (6-2, 195 Jr.). Banks County, WB/LB Jeremy Greenway (5-9, 170 Jr.), TE/LB Matthew Patton (6-1, 220 Jr.), QB/WR/RB Kane Duncan (6-3, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: Oglethorpe County takes the field with a 9-7 series record against Banks County, and with all the playoff seats taken, it looks to improve its season totals.

The Patriots are coming off of their biggest win of the season defeating Riverside Military, 23-14, last Friday and knocking the Eagles (3-5, 3-4) almost completely out of playoff contention.

Riverside defeated the Leopards 23-12 in Week 2, and Banks County has been on a four-game losing streak and has given up more than five times the point total it scored (134-26).

Oglethorpe County is 2-2 in its last four games.

Prediction: OGLETHORPE COUNTY. The momentum from last week’s win will provide all the power the Pats need to take the win.

East Jackson at Dawson County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville

Coaches: East Jackson, Frank Caputo; Dawson County, Jeff Lee

Records: East Jackson (8-0, 7-0 Region 8-AA), Dawson County (1-7, 1-6)

Key players: East Jackson, RB/DB Deon Sewell (5-9, 185 Sr.), QB Evann Williamson (5-11, 175 Sr.), OL/DL Parker Wilson (5-11, 200 Jr.). Dawson County, QB/DB Ethan Brown (5-11, 175 Jr.), OL/DL Zac Johnson (6-3, 270 Jr.), RB/LB Stephen King (5-10, 170 Sr.).

Outlook: With a win tonight, East Jackson will play for the Region 8-AA title against Jefferson at Memorial Stadium next Friday. The Eagles remained undefeated by ending North Oconee’s unbeaten season with an 18-10 win last Friday.

East Jackson has amassed 293 points this season, 36.63 per game, and has only given up 130 points, 16.25 a game.
Dawson County has only won one game this year and has given up 231 points, 28.88 per game, while scoring 73 points, 9.13 a game.

The series record is 1-0 in favor of the third-year East Jackson program, who defeated Dawson County last season in one of only three of the Eagles’ wins.

Prediction: EAST JACKSON. The Eagles will soar past the Tigers en route to the playoffs.

Commerce at Social Circle

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Redskin Stadium, Social Circle

Coaches: Commerce, Steve Savage; Social Circle, Troy Morris

Records: Commerce (4-4, 3-1 Region 8-A); Social Circle (4-4, 3-1)

Key players: Commerce, RB/DB Deon Brock (5-9, 165 Sr.) LB Josh Streetman (6-2, 205 Sr.), QB Cody Streetman (6-0, 190 So.). Social Circle, QB Devaris Pitts (Jr.), LB Austin Farmer (Jr.), RB Jeremy Wyatt (Sr.).

Outlook: All Commerce needs to lock up the No. 2 seed from 8-A and the home playoff game that comes with it is a win tonight.
With the exception of a 28-3 hiccup against No. 1 Wesleyan, the Tigers have been on a tear since beginning region play, picking up three wins in four weeks by an average of four touchdowns. Brock is a big reason why. The senior speedster leads the area with 15 rushing touchdowns and is second in the area with 1,089 rushing yards. Last week, in a 41-0 win over Lakeview, Brock led the way with 120 rushing yards and three scores on just four carries.

Social Circle isn’t hurting for offense, either. In their three region wins, the Redskins are scoring 37 points per game, but have had some trouble slowing down opposing running games. Prince Avenue pushed the Redskins until the waning moments last week, getting 340 yards on the ground from its two leading rushers.

Prediction: COMMERCE. The Tigers are more sound in all phases.

Habersham Central at Salem

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Reid Stadium, Conyers

Radio: 99.3-FM

Coaches: Habersham Central, Stuart Cunningham; Salem, Chad Estes

Records: Habersham Central (4-5, 4-5 Region 8-AAAA); Salem (5-3, 5-3)

Key players: Habersham Central, OL Kalan Jones (6-3, 280 Sr.); RB/DB Kevin Ellison (5-10, 170 So.), LB Keylan Myers (5-9, 170 Sr.). Salem, RB Julian McLean (5-8, 160 Sr.), QB JoJo Smith (5-10, 165 Sr.).

Outlook: Until last week, Habersham Central had playoff hopes to hold onto to. A 34-14 loss to Rockdale County ended that.

Now, the Raiders turn their attention to finishing the season at .500 as they wrap up 2009 tonight in Conyers.

Standing in the way are the Seminoles, who have rebounded from a heart-breaking last-minute loss to Clarke Central with back-to-back blowouts over Cedar Shoals and Winder-Barrow. In those wins, Salem is averaging 320 rushing yards per game from their Wing-T attack.

That puts the onus on Habersham’s defense, which is yielding 209 yards per game to opposing rushers.

Myers’ 98 tackles and 11 tackles for loss leads the Raiders and puts him near the top of both categories in Northeast Georgia. Smith and McLean will get most of his attention tonight. Both runners topped 100 yards in last week’s 41-7 win over Winder-Barrow.

Prediction: SALEM. In the middle of a four-way tie for the region’s final two playoff spots, the Seminoles are on a roll and have more left to play for than the Raiders.

Robbinsville (N.C.) at Towns County

When: 7:30 tonight

Where: Frank McClure Stadium, Hiawassee

Coaches: Robbinsville, Dee Walsh; Towns County, Kyle Langford.

Records: Robbinsville (6-2, 3-1); Towns County (2-6)

Key players: Robbinsville, RB/LB Kurt Odom (6-1, 195 So.), QB Blake Anderson (5-7, 135 So.), QB/DB Cassidy Galaviz (5-10, 145 Sr.). Towns County, WR/S Matt Hogsed (6-1, 180 Sr.), QB John Swilley (6-3, 225 Sr.), RB Matt Beni (5-10, 175 Sr.).

Outlook: Towns County is 1-3 in its last four games, but its win came by way of a forfeit from Asheville School (N.C.) on Oct. 9.

The Indians were shutout 15-0 last week against Georgia Military, Hebron Christian shut them down with a 38-13 win on Oct. 2 and Dade County blew them out 56-15 on Sept. 25.

The Knights are 3-1 in their last four games, but the loss was a 18-16 heartbreaker against Murphy (N.C.) on Oct. 9.

Robbinsville gained back its momentum with a 62-6 defeat of Rosman (N.C.) Oct. 16 and a 40-6 win against Hayesville (N.C.) last week.

Prediction: ROBBINSVILLE. The Knights enter the field with a 1-0 series record against the Indians and look to improve to 2-0.

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