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Posted: Friday, September 3rd 2010 at 5:57pm

Week 2: Major match-ups highlight exciting slate

By Morgan Lee Editor
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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Chestatee quarterback Scott Chewning
We learned a good bit about high school football last week, but this week will tell us even more about what to expect this season in northeast Georgia.

There are some major match-ups this weekend, including a state-wide and nation-wide battle that will have outlets all over the southeast and beyond interested.

Check out our week 2 previews for all you need to know about tonight's contests...

GAINESVILLE at WHITE COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: White County Stadium, Cleveland
-- RADIO: 1240 AM; 105.1 FM
-- GAINESVILLE (0-1, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA): Lost to Buford 40-19 last week.
-- WHITE (1-0, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA): Defeated East Jackson 21-14 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Gainesville won 42-20 on Sept. 11, 2009. The Red Elephants lead the series 11-1.
-- NOTABLE: Gainesville is looking to bounce back from last week’s disappointing loss to Buford, while White County hopes to kick its season into overdrive with a win over the Red Elephants. The Warriors showed grit and determination last week in coming from behind against East Jackson, but coach Gregg Segraves knows that this week’s game is a very different challenge. “They’ve got so much speed, and they’re so dangerous,” Segraves said of Gainesville. “We’ve always had the best success when we go right at them, and that’s what we’re going to try and do.” White County certainly has size on its side and will look to make the most of that against a Red Elephants defense that features two Division-I caliber players in linebacker A.J. Johnson and defensive lineman Thomas Niles. “Both of those can make plays; they’re so good,” Segraves said. Yet the duo will face a tough challenge against the Warriors combination of running back Ashely Lowery and quarterback Cole Segraves. Lowery is a University of Kentucky commit that scored touchdowns on the ground and through the air last week and has the size to run through tacklers. “We’ve got to slow down Lowery and Segraves,” Gainesville coach Bruce Miller said. The Red Elephants defense played well at times last week but were victimized by the big play, with three Buford touchdowns covering the length of 25 yards or more. “We’ve got to eliminate that,” Miller said. Linebacker Kevin Hall and lineman Tim Rucker will also play key roles for Gainesville on Friday. On offense, the Red Elephants will look for continued maturation from freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was 19 of 34 for 182 yards, three interceptions and a touchdown last week, as well as rushing for 80 yards. Running back Devon Pierce also ran hard against the Wolves and should get the bulk of the carries, as Markece Robertson injured an ankle this week in practice and is doubtful to play. “There were a lot of positives last week, and we fought for four quarters,” Miller said. “But we’ve got to keep improving and get better.” White County’s defense will be led by linebacker Levi London and defensive end Adam Hooper. “It’s going to be an electric atmosphere,” Segraves said.


WEST HALL at CHESTATEE
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: War Eagle Stadium, Gainesville
-- WEST HALL (1-0, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA): Defeated East Hall 18-6 last week.
-- CHESTATEE (0-0, Region 8A-AAA): The War Eagles went 4-6 in 2009.
-- LAST MEETING: Chestatee won 41-30 in 2007. The series is tied at 3-3.
-- NOTABLE: West Hall is coming off a solid opening-week victory, while Chestatee is just beginning its 2010 campaign. With a fairly inexperienced team taking the field this season, War Eagles coach Stan Luttrell was grateful for the extra days of preparation. “We have so many young guys that I think the extra week to prepare has helped us,” Luttrell said. “I feel pretty good about it.” Chestatee will be led by senior quarterback Scott Chewning in its split-back option attack. “Scott’s got to lead the team,” Luttrell said. “If he’s having a good game, we’ll be successful. He’s a take-charge kind of guy.” Chewning will be handing off to a young but talented duo at running back in Quan Clark and Montrai Tate. “They’re our key younger guys,” Luttrell said. Sophomore nose guard Johious Cantrell will also play a big role for Chestatee on a defense that will face a Spartans team led by standout quarterback Shunquez Stephens. Stephens ran and threw for a touchdown in last week’s win over East Hall. Stephens has two dangerous targets to throw to in receiver Brandon Fuqua and tight end William Stroup and a sizable offensive line to protect him. The line is also big for the Spartans’ defensive front, which features nose tackle Ryan Casey. “They’re big up front defensively, and they run to the ball well,” Luttrell said. “They’re definitely an improved team from last season. And they’re excited about getting the win last week.” Chestatee is equally excited about getting its season underway – though Luttrell says his squad must guard against getting too excited. “We’re well prepared, and we’re excited for the season to be here,” he said. “But we have to be controlled. We can’t turn the ball over. Hopefully we can play like we can.” West Hall is looking to go 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Chestatee has not won its season opener since 2007.

JOHNSON at EAST HALL
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: East Hall Stadium, Rabbittown
-- JOHNSON (0-1, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA): Lost 14-8 to Jackson County last week.
-- EAST HALL (0-1, 0-0 Region 8N-AA): Lost 18-6 to West Hall last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Johnson won 41-6 on Oct. 23, 2009. The Knights lead the series 21-10-1.
-- NOTABLE: Two teams coming off bizarre opening week losses will look to get back on track tonight. East Hall suffered five turnovers and two bad punt snaps in its loss to West Hall, while Johnson had an interception return for a touchdown called back in a game that was called after halftime due to lightning (East Hall’s game ended with 4:00 to play for the same reason). “You can’t turn the ball over that many times against any team and expect to win,” Vikings coach Bryan Gray said. “I’m happy with the way our defense fought, but we’ve got to put it all together this week.” East Hall suffered through some shell shock thanks to the turnovers, but Gray says his players will bounce back this week. “They’re resilient,” Gray said. “They’ve just got to know that other teams are going to score sometimes and not let that affect them.” Gray’s much more concerned with facing a Johnson offense that he says could be the best the Vikings face all season. “They’ve got a great center-guard combination,” Gray said. “They’re extremely physical. We’ve got a major mountain to climb.” Johnson’s option offense features Cedric Harris and Joey Brooks, and both should get numerous carries tonight (Brooks is back full speed after suffering a stinger in the first half of last week’s game). “We’re excited about just getting to play a full game,” said Knights coach Paul Friel, whose team had its first game and preseason scrimmage cut short due to lightning. “We only had 17 plays on offense last week and never got in a rhythm.” Johnson will look to find a way past East Hall’s twin Division I defensive ends in Sterling Bailey (6-5, 270 pounds, University of Georgia commit) and Chaz Cheeks (6-4, 225 pounds, Georgia Tech commit). “We’ve got to execute and not make mistakes against those guys,” Friel said. Defensively, the Knights should be back to full strength as Brooks and Taylor Whitmire return at full speed at inside linebacker. Both players went down with mild injuries last week, allowing Jackson County an advantage on their final scoring drive. Johnson will possibly play without running back and cornerback Brandon Buncy, however, who is battling bruised ribs. The group will face an East Hall offense that Gray says must be able to throw the ball successfully. “We’ve got to use as much of our speed as we can,” Gray said. “We’ve got to be able to throw and stop their interior run.”


LUMPKIN COUNTY at UNION COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville
-- LUMPKIN (1-0, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA): Defeated Riverside Military 35-0 last week.
-- UNION (1-0, 0-0 Region 8N-AA): Defeated Towns County 40-7 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Lumpkin County won 24-22 in 2005. Union County leads the series 20-13-1.
-- NOTABLE: Both teams impressed in week one, but the competition should improve in week two. Lumpkin County coach Tommy Jones says his team faces a tough assignment defensively against Union County’s spread attack. “They have the ability to spread the field and find open receivers,” Jones said. “We have to defend the pass very well.” Last week the Indians defended everything pretty well, getting a defensive touchdown and shutting out a tricky Riverside offense. “Our entire defensive front played well,” Jones said. “You hear about B.J. Dorsey, but Jonathan Whitehead also played extremely well. Linebacker Skylar Donovan also had an outstanding game.” The Indians will still be without starting quarterback Taylor Guthrie, recovering from a broken finger in his non-throwing hand. But back-up Logan Moye did a solid job last week, and Lumpkin County will look to run the ball early and often through running back Michael Flanagan, who had 60 yards on nine carries last week. (Safety Kaylen Temples is also out.) The Panthers, meanwhile, will look for another solid game from sophomore quarterback T Bentley, who completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to receiver Josh Schultz in his first series last week. Schultz, a potential star, also had a kickoff return for a score to help send Union County to the win. Receiver Garrett Smith and running back Jesse Wright will also play key roles for the Panthers. “They’re a very well-coached team,” Jones said of Union. “Coach Allison was my college coach, a grad assistant at Furman, and he does a great job.” The contest will also be Lumpkin’s first on the road, though with 17 seniors, the Indians should be ready for the challenge.


STEPHENS COUNTY at HART COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Pete Herndon Stadium, Hartwell
-- STEPHENS (0-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA): Lost to Elbert County 20-14 last week.
-- HART (0-0-1, 0-0 Region 8S-AA): Tied Franklin County 14-14 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Hart County won 32-20 on Sept. 25, 2009. Stephens County leads the series 31-17-1.
-- NOTABLE: Stephens County is looking to bounce back from a tough opening loss, while Hart County is hoping to get a complete game in after its contest was stopped after halftime due to lightning. On offense, the Indians will look to senior quarterback Mark Palmer, who played defensive back last season and has never taken a varsity snap under center. Stephens does return sophomore running back Chaz Thornton and senior receiver Cassadine Blassingame. Junior free safety Aaron Trotter also returns after suffering a broken leg last year.


WINDER-BARROW at FLOWERY BRANCH
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Falcon Field, Flowery Branch
-- WINDER (0-1, 0-1 Region 8-AAAA): Lost to Rockdale County 6-3 last week.
-- FLOWERY BRANCH (1-0, 1-0 Region 8-AAAA): Defeated Madison County 21-0 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: This is the two teams’ first meeting.
-- NOTABLE: Flowery Branch proved last week it won’t have a problem with the size challenge that teams present in Class AAAA, blanking a large Madison County team. This week, the Falcons face a Winder team that could present an even tougher challenge, as the Bulldoggs defense has improved dramatically under first-year head coach David Wagner. Winder held 2009 Class AAAA quarterfinalist Rockdale County to just six points last week. “They’re playing with a lot of emotion and belief right now,” Flowery Branch coach Lee Shaw said. “And I think they’re more athletic than what they’ve been given credit for in the past. They showed last week they can play with the big boys, and our schedule just gets harder.” The Falcons defense certainly showed its quality last week and will face a different sort of test this week, moving from a spread opponent to a more traditional wing-T attack for the Bulldoggs. Inside linebackers Jacob Allen and Sydney Cheeks each played big games (16 and 14 tackles respectively) and will be depended upon again tonight. “I don’t know that we’ve ever had that kind of duo at inside linebacker that we have now,” Shaw said. “And our defense ran well and got to the ball. They really played together.” The unit faces a Winder attack that will rely on senior fullback Atrez Gladman and senior quarterback Tony Holton – along with a senior-laden offensive line. The Bulldoggs have moved away from the spread offense that put up big points but yielded few wins over the past few seasons. Meanwhile, the Falcons offense will continue to build on what it showed last week. “It definitely looked like our first game of the season on offense,” Shaw said. “We’re still finding ourselves.” Running back Jeremy Haley had an outstanding game, rushing for 140 yards on 32 carries. “He really played with heart,” Shaw said. “It wasn’t like he was making a cut and finding 10 easy yards. He was battling for a lot of those yards.” Quarterback Austin Brown also tossed a 17-yard touchdown to Byron Keith. “We’ve got to finish drives better in the red zone,” Shaw said. “We got a couple of field goals, and that’s fine. But when you get down there inside the 20, you’d rather see six than three.” Winder’s 4-3 defense is led by senior linebackers Hogan Anderson and Kendrick Davis, along with senior defensive linemen Jacob Dufresene and Jody Royal.


CEDAR SHOALS at HABERSHAM CENTRAL
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Raider Stadium, Mount Airy
-- CEDAR SHOALS (0-1, 0-1 Region 8-AAAA): Lost 41-12 to Clarke Central last week.
-- HABERSHAM (0-1, 0-1 Region 8-AAAA): Lost to Apalachee 35-7 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Cedar Shoals won 16-13 in overtime on Aug. 28, 2009. The Jaguars lead the series 11-3.
-- NOTABLE: The Raiders will be desperate to get back on the field and erase the memories of last week’s loss to Apalachee. Yet Cedar Shoals will also be ready to get over a loss to bitter cross-own rivals Clarke Central. Habersham Central’s new option offense had a hard time getting going last week, and a late, 52-yard run from Kevin Ellison was the Raiders’ only score. Ellison led the way with 67 total yards. Meanwhile, Habersham will also look to tighten down on defense after giving up 200-plus yards rushing last week. Things should certainly get easier this week for the Raiders facing a Cedar Shoals team that struggled throughout last season.


BUFORD at CARVER, COLUMBUS
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Columbus Memorial Stadium, Columbus
-- RADIO: WDUN AM 550
-- BUFORD (1-0, 0-0 Region 6-AA): Defeated Gainesville 40-19 last week. Ranked No. 1 in Class AA.
-- CARVER (1-0, 0-0 Region 5-AA): Defeated Spencer 63-0 last week. Ranked No. 2 in Class AA.
-- LAST MEETING: This is the two teams’ first meeting.
-- NOTABLE: This is one of the state’s marquee match-ups this season, regardless of class. Both teams have won state championships in recent seasons, with Buford claiming the last three Class AA crowns and Carver winning the 2007 Class AAA title. And with the Tigers sliding down to Class AA, some wonder whether this could be a state title game preview. “They’re an excellent program with a great tradition,” Buford coach Jess Simpson said of Carver. “If you don’t know about Buford football, you’ve not been paying attention to football in this state for the past decade,” Carver coach Dell McGee said. Both coaches know each other well after playing together at Auburn and each have the utmost respect for the other. The Tigers are led by a number of Division I recruits, including running back Isaiah Crowell, who ran for big yardage against both Gainesville and Flowery Branch in the 2008 and ’09 playoffs respectively. Crowell will likely choose between playing at Georgia or Alabama. “They’re a lot more than just Crowell,” Simpson said. “They remind me a lot of the Charlton County teams of 2004 and ’05.” Those teams derailed the Wolves in the playoffs both of those seasons. “They’ve got tall wide receivers, a senior quarterback, and their back-up tailback is probably the best tailback we’ll see all season.” Defensively, Carver is led by another Division-I recruit in senior Gabriel Wright (6-foot-3, 276 pounds). “Their defense is big and fast,” said Simpson. Yet the Wolves have showed that they should be ready for the challenge through last week’s defeat of Gainesville and an impressive scrimmage against Clarke Central. Buford has a large group of talented skill position players, including a trio of dangerous tailbacks in Seon Jones, Darrian Smith and Dominique Swope. Jones led the way last week with 140 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Yet Buford is far more than just a running team, as quarterback Alex Ross showed, completing 5 of 7 passes for 127 yards and two scores. The Wolves also showed that their lines of scrimmage are ready for the season despite replacing all five offensive line starters. “This is one of the games statewide that a lot of people wanted to see,” Simpson said. “It should be a great game, and there’s been a lot of talk and speculation about it, not just here but throughout the state.”


BANKS COUNTY at RIVERSIDE MILITARY ACADEMY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Maginnis Field, Gainesville
-- BANKS (1-0, 0-0 Region 8N-AA): Defeated Social Circle 40-14 last week.
-- RIVERSIDE (1-1, 0-0 Region 8-A) Lost to Lumpkin County 35-0 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Riverside won 23-12 on Sept. 4, 2009. Banks County leads the series 11-5.
-- NOTABLE: Banks County is looking to keep its fast start rolling, while Riverside hopes to bounce back from its first loss of the season. The Leopards feel like they owe the Eagles something after falling to Riverside for two straight seasons. “We played well in both of those games but just couldn’t finish,” Banks coach Blair Armstrong said. “We’d like to be able to whup ‘em at least one time.” Armstrong’s team should be feeling confident coming in after its first-season opening win of his three-plus year reign. “We’ve worked hard on speed and athleticism since I got here; we’ve been working on getting faster just as much as strength, hoping it would pay off,” Armstrong said. “I think it did last week.” The Leopards stayed step-for-step with an athletic Social Circle team – a fact that could pay off against an Eagles team led by athletic freshmen Justin Martin (running back) and Michael Gallup (quarterback). “Riverside’s always very competitive and always brings some tough players to the field,” Armstrong said. “And we’re concerned about their quick guys in the backfield.” The Leopards will look to stop the Eagles’ single-wing offense before it can get going, depending on players like defensive end Ali Autry (220 pounds) and middle linebacker Matthew Patton (6-0, 220 pounds). Linebacker Jeremy Greenway could also be key after posting a game-high 11 tackles last week. On offense, the Leopards will turn to running back Dylan Lackey, who rolled up 157 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries last week. Banks’ rushing attack finished with 327 total yards on the ground. Quarterback Harrison Dale also was a perfect 4-for-4 passing for 76 yards. The group will look to find a way past Riverside standout defensive linemen Kameron Clingman and Tarvin Dukes.


GILMER at DAWSON COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville
-- GILMER (0-1, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): Lost to Fannin County 17-14 last week.
-- DAWSON (0-1, 0-0 region 8N-AA): Lost 27-14 to Pickens last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Gilmer won 32-0 in 1993. The Bobcats lead the series 4-0.
-- NOTABLE: Dawson County will be eager to bounce back from last week’s loss against a Gilmer team that also suffered defeat last week. Dawson County’s defense is led by linebacker Lee Smith (leading tackler in 2009), senior defensive back Levi Wilson and senior defensive end Matt Satterfield. On offense, the Tigers could look more toward the running game thanks to players like offensive lineman Zach Johnson (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) leading the way. Fullback Zach Martin and senior H-back Eian Perry will provide a power and speed combo for Dawson County, while sophomore quarterback Tyler Dominy (6-4, 170 pounds) gets his first full season as a starter under center. Senior Ethan Brown is also a threat at wide receiver.


EAST JACKSON at OCONEE COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Warrior Stadium, Watkinsville
-- EAST JACKSON (0-1, 0-0 Region 8S-AA): Lost to White County 21-14 last week.
-- OCONEE (0-0, Region 8B-AAA): The Indians went 3-7 in 2009.
-- LAST MEETING: This is the two teams’ first meeting.
-- NOTABLE: The Eagles battled hard throughout last week’s loss and twice had a lead on the White County before falling behind for good. East Jackson tests itself against another Region 8-AAA team this week, taking on an Oconee County team yet to play this season. The Warriors struggled last season, and the Eagles will be eager to get back on the winning track after losing just one game during all of last year’s regular season. East Jackson will be led by quarterback in junior Cody Gibbs, who was a wide receiver last year. He will be aided by three strong running backs -- C.J. Allen, Chaz Malcolm and Tyler Collins -- basing out of a wing-T formation.


PICKENS at FANNIN COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Rebel Stadium, Blue Ridge
-- PICKENS (1-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): Defeated Dawson County 27-14 last week.
-- FANNIN (1-0, 0-0 Region 8N-AA): Defeated Gilmer 17-14 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Pickens won 20-14 in 2007. The Dragons lead the series 16-9.
-- NOTABLE: Fannin County picked up a victory over one of its neighbors last week and will look to do so again this week. Rebels quarterback Trevor Stone will look to keep Fannin’s momentum going. The Rebels also return junior running back Blake Henry (400 yards in 2009), along with senior tight end Ryan Nix. Fannin is a young squad overall this season but do feature two stout defensive ends in seniors T.J. Kolacz and Lukas Gerran. Strong safety Brandon Minter will also play a key role.


WALNUT GROVE at JACKSON COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Panther Stadium, Jefferson
-- WALNUT GROVE (0-1, 0-0 Region 8B-AAA): Lost to Morgan County 16-3 last week.
-- JACKSON (1-0, 0-0 region 8S-AA): Defeated Johnson 14-8 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: This is the two teams’ first meeting.
-- NOTABLE: The Panthers got another big win in the building process of coach Billy Kirk last week, knocking off a Class AAA team in its opener. Jackson County got the victory in unorthodox fashion, scoring just before halftime to seal the victory in a game that was only 24 minutes long thanks to bad weather. The Panthers will look to keep that momentum going against a young Walnut Grove program this week -- Walnut Grove is actually in its first season as a varsity program. Jackson County moved the ball well last week, rolling up 262 total yards, including 126 on the ground in just a half. Running back Austin McDonald will look to play another key role, as will quarterback Kyle Daniel -- who tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Davon Ledford last week. Jackson County’s defense is led by senior linebacker Kelly Motes, senior defensive lineman Alex Nanigan and senior free safety Alex Crawford.


ROBBINSVILLE, N.C., at RABUN COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Frank Snyder Stadium, Tiger
-- ROBBINSVILLE (1-0): Defeated Christ School 29-20 last week.
-- RABUN (0-1, 0-0 Region 8N-AA): Lost 19-15 to Hayesville, N.C., last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Robbinsville won 54-18 in 2003. Robbinsville leads the series 3-1.
-- NOTABLE: Rabun County will be eager to bounce back from last week’s loss in a tough match-up at home. The Wildcats played well in spurts last week but couldn’t maintain an early lead. Senior quarterback Tanner Wright threw a touchdown pass to tight end Dillon Bleckley last week. Tanner also features at free safety and will punt for Rabun. Fullback Ryan Watts and running back Jack Woerner, who also scored last week, will also play key roles in the Wildcats’ Double slot offense.


COMMERCE at FRANKLIN COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Ed Bryant Stadium, Carnesville
-- COMMERCE (0-1, 0-0 Region 8-A): Lost to Jefferson 17-14 last week.
-- FRANKLIN (0-0-1, 0-0 Region 8A-AAA) Tied Hart County 14-14 last week (game was shortened due to lightning).
-- LAST MEETING: Franklin County won 21-14 on Sept. 11, 2009. Commerce leads the series 16-8.
-- NOTABLE: Commerce is looking to a rebound from a physical rivalry showdown, while Franklin County is just looking for a full game after last week’s non-region battle was ended at halftime due to lightning. “We showed we’re a hard-nosed, aggressive team that will fight you tooth and toenail,” Tigers coach Steve Savage after last week’s tough loss to Jefferson in which they outgained the Dragons but couldn’t finish key drives. This week, Commerce faces a tough test against a physically-imposing Lions team that has speed in the backfield. Franklin County’s spread offense is led by junior quarterback Kevin Harris and sophomore running back Andrew Heaton. And while the Lions lost two outstanding playmakers after last season in QB Deshawn Merritt (600 yards rushing, 1,300 passing in 2009), WR DaQuan Merritt (11 TDs), Savage expects a fierce battle. “This week we face a formidable opponent that’s probably got us outweighed 40 pounds per man,” Savage said. The Tigers will look for continued strong play from quarterback Cody Streetman, who rushed for 140 yards on 32 carries in last week’s loss. Halfback Addison Davis will also be a key for Commerce. “We’re trying to improve,” Savage said. “If we can just get through these first few tough non-region games and not get too beat up it’ll help us. Our kids want to play tough foes, but when you do you may not always win.” Franklin County is led by senior middle linebacker Seth Strickland (leading tackler in 2009) and junior defensive end Austin Staret in an 8-man front.


KINGS RIDGE CHRISTIAN at LAKEVIEW ACADEMY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Jock Horner Field, Gainesville
-- KING’S RIDGE (1-0, 0-0 Region 5-A): Defeated St. Francis 45-0 last week.
-- LAKEVIEW (1-0, playing a non-region schedule): Defeated Fellowship Christian 29-0.
-- LAST MEETING: This is the two teams’ first meeting.
-- NOTABLE: Coming in off last week’s first-ever varsity shutout win, Lakeview Academy is looking forward to Friday’s showdown with a very good Kings Ridge team. “There’s been a little more pep in the step this week than I’ve seen in a while,” Lions coach Matthew Gruhn said. “When you win like that there’s a lot more motivation each day at practice. Hopefully we’re not overconfident.” Lakeview faces a Kings Ridge team that will look to run over and through the Lions defense. “They go in ‘I’ formation and with the power game; then they’ll hit you with the play-action pass,” Gruhn said. “We’ve got to stop the big play. They had several of those last week.” Led by senior inside linebacker Mills Rogers and defensive linemen Logan Jones and Alex Oliver, the Lions are preparing for an explosive Kings Ridge team that led 39-0 after three quarters last week. Meanwhile, the Lakeview offense will face a five-man defensive front from Kings Ridge that likes to bring a lot of pressure. “We’ve got to control their pressure on offense,” said Gruhn. “And we can’t turn the ball over.” The Lions will hope for another big game from fullback Nick Drury, who scored two touchdowns in last week’s win. Quarterback Jackson Wells will also play key role for Lakeview’s triple option attack, as will Trevor Price and Matt Askounis, who each scored in the opener. The Lions will be without one of its players this week, as starting offensive guard Jared Beck with an injury that will keep him out two weeks.


CHEROKEE, N.C., at TOWNS COUNTY
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Frank McClure Stadium, Hiawassee
-- CHEROKEE: (N/A)
-- TOWNS (0-1, playing a non-region schedule): Lost to Union County 40-7 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: This is the two teams’ first meeting.
-- NOTABLE: The Indians suffered a tough loss last week and will look to bounce back at home. The Towns County offense is led by returning running back Noah Calhoun. Calhoun will take most of handoffs out of the shotgun, as the Indians ran out of the formation 80 percent of the time in 2009. Towns County returns 15 starters this season, including a strong defense led by seniors Taylor Denton and Josh Goodwin on the defensive line. Senior Devin Henderson and sophomore Joseph Foster will also lead the linebackers in the Indians' 3-3 stack defense.

CRENSHAW (Calif.) at NORTH GWINNETT
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Tom Robinson Memorial Stadium, Suwanee
-- CRENSHAW (0-0): The Cougars went 14-1 in 2009 and were state runners-up.
-- NORTH GWINNETT (2-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAAA): Defeated Bob Jones, Ala., 42-20 last week. The Bulldogs are ranked third in Class AAAAA by the Associated Press.
-- LAST MEETING: This is the two teams’ first meeting.
-- NOTABLE: “Big, fast and nasty,” is how North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire describes visiting Crenshaw. The California school is one of the name programs in the Los Angeles area and played for a state title last season against one of the biggest programs in the nation in De La Salle. “They went 14-1 for a reason,” Sphire said. Crenshaw is led by University of Southern California commit De’Anthony Thomas. Thomas plays running back and safety for Crenshaw and is an explosive athlete. “They run mostly out of the ‘I’ and get Thomas running downhill,” Sphire said. “Of course their quarterback is a track star too, and he’ll keep it and take off. He runs about a 10.8 (second), 100 (meters), and Thomas runs a 10.5, 100. They’ve got skill players that are just fabulous athletes.” To negate some of that, the Bulldogs could look to the deepest corps of running backs its had since Sphire’s arrival. Ethan Kilgore, Donnie Miles, Joseph Jones and Dante Sawyer could help North Gwinnett keep Crenshaw’s offense on the sidelines. “I’m surprised at how well we’ve run the ball,” Sphire said. “And we’ve got to run the football and pick up first downs on Friday. We need to be smart, not necessarily conservative.” Of course the Bulldogs also have an outstanding playmaker of their own in quarterback/receiver C.J. Uzomah, and North Gwinnett will make full use of his skills at both positions, with Scott Hosch sliding into quarterback when Uzomah splits out. Regardless of what happens this week, Sphire says he’s more than pleased with his team’s start this season – though he warns against over-optimism. “Both of our opponents so far have been in bit of transition, so it might be a little bit of illusion as to how good we are.”


ALPHARETTA at MILL CREEK
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Mill Creek Community Stadium, Hoschton
-- ALPHARETTA (1-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAA): Defeated North Cobb 42-19 last week.
-- MILL CREEK (0-1, 0-0 Region 7-AAAAA): Lost to Dacula 34-31 last week.
-- LAST MEETING: Alpharetta won 10-6 in 2005. The series is tied at 1-1.
-- NOTABLE: After last week’s tough loss, Mill Creek will be ready to bounce back at home. The Hawks are paced by senior fullback Tyler Cierski, a Maryland commit, and junior linebacker Taylor Coleman. Mill Creek’s defense will employ a 4-3 look this season – different from last season’s 3-5 – and also features linebacker Cody Rediger and defensive lineman Kelsey Griffin.

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