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Murphy: Bouncing back and looking forward
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The road to earning the right to be called a playoff contender starts with a little damage control over the next couple of weeks for area football programs.

Some teams are trying to recover from a performance that left something to be desired in Week 1, while others are trying to brace for the storm of a tough upcoming stretch of games.

In Chestatee’s case, it’s a little bit of both.

The War Eagles (0-1) were flat in a loss to Gainesville to open the season. Now they have to simmer over that loss for two weeks and prepare for back-to-back games against Johnson and Flowery Branch.

Over the summer, I felt that Chestatee was going to have the toughest schedule to start the season, and that certainly is playing out to be the case.

Another team that will have to do some damage control is North Hall. That may sound silly just looking at the fact that the Trojans (1-0) won their opener, but not when you consider that is just four days the opponent in none other than Class AA’s No. 1-ranked Buford (1-0).

I don’t think it’s necessary to sit here and explain that Buford is a powerhouse, since the defending state champions just knocked off a big Class AAAA school from Texas two days ago.

This game could be a pitfall for the Trojans with a bye week to follow and then a game on Sept. 19 against a very talented looking Gainesville (1-0).

But I don’t think there is a better coach in the area than North Hall’s Bob Christmas at preparing his team for a big game. We’ll see how they handle this upcoming stretch of the schedule with a 17-game regular season winning streak on the line.

Johnson (0-1) also has to do a little damage control after a disappointing loss to North Hall. The Knights have to turn the page quickly with a game Friday night against Class AAAAA’s North Forsyth.

Johnson potentially has one of the most dangerous offenses in Region 7-AAA if they can get the turnovers and silly penalties under control. The Knights can’t afford to get off to a slow start in the cross-over games in Region 7-AAA, considering they start sub-region play against my pick as the top team in the region, Flowery Branch, on Sept. 26.

We’ll all see how East Hall (0-1) rebounds this week after a loss to Murray County on Aug. 23.

The Vikings have potential to be a much improved team this season, but can’t afford to lose the next two games to White County and Lumpkin County.

White County can get back on track with a win against the Vikings this week. I was surprised when the Warriors fell at home to open the season. But I can’t believe for a second that a program with this much senior leadership will stay down for too long after a disappointing loss to start the season.

The only damage control Flowery Branch (0-1) needs after a disappointing loss to Stephens County in Week 1 is to completely erase that game from its memory.

That game really had no significance, except for maybe bragging rights. I said right here last week that the Falcons could lay an egg against Stephens County, and potentially be in contention to play for a state title down the road. I still feel that way.

Lumpkin County (0-1) is next on deck for Flowery Branch. The Indians would love to have a strong showing after dropping a double-overtime game to Dawson County last week.

The team that looks to be in the best shape after week one is Gainesville.

The Red Elephants, early as it may be in the season, seem to be the most complete team on both sides of the ball.

In addition to that, they have very winnable games over the next couple of weeks, leading into the big game against North Hall at The Brickyard.

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