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Posted: Monday, September 13th 2010 at 2:55pm

Prep football: Five things we learned from week 3

By Morgan Lee Editor
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Flowery Branch receiver Casey Osborne runs for yardage during the Falcons' win over Apalachee on Friday in Flowery Branch. / photo: North Georgia Sports Media
After three weeks of the regular season, there are definitely some patterns emerging. But there is also plenty of chaos still reigning throughout northeast Georgia. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five things we learned from Sept. 10th’s football slate.

1. Flowery Branch has staked a claim to best team in Hall County and is now eying 8-AAAA. The Falcons (3-0) are the only team in Hall County still undefeated. For the last eight years that would have made for some serious bragging right in the old Region 7-AAA. Flowery Branch probably cares little about that now, however, after moving up to Class AAAA. And the Falcons knocked off defending Region 8-AAAA champs Apalachee on Friday -- in a wild, 52-35 shootout that showed that Flowery Branch’s offense is starting to find its rhythm. And if the Falcons can keep things rolling, Flowery Branch will have mouth-watering showdown with 2009 Class AAAA runner-up Clarke Central to close the regular season. Of course there’s a lot of football to be played between now and then, but the Falcons have shown they can play defense, and last week, Flowery Branch also flashed a devastating offense, rolling up 611 yards, including 359 yards passing on 16 completions from quarterback Austin Brown – a mind-numbing 22 yards per completion. Running back Jeremy Haley has also put up 474 yards and six touchdowns in three wins. The Falcons also boast perhaps the best kicking game in Northeast Georgia thanks to senior Will Monday. Of course no Friday night in 8-AAAA will be easy, but it’s been a strong start for the region’s newest team.

2. At this point, the southern half of Region 8-AA has the upper hand. At the start of the season, it appeared that the south subregion of 8-AA was one of the toughest in all of Class AA, sporting five teams that reached the playoffs last season. This past Friday, the teams of 8S-AA won four out of six games in their cross-over battles with 8N-AA. It doesn’t really mean much for the postseason race right now, as 8-AA’s teams battle within subregion for the right to play for a playoff spot. But with East Jackson blanking Banks County, Hart and Elbert Counties running wild, Jefferson pushing past Dawson County, and North Oconee dominating Commerce in a non-region game, it would seem that the south has the upper hand right now – even though Fannin County and Rabun County had impressive wins over southern opponents (Jackson County and Oglethorpe County, respectively) on Friday.

3. The future of 8-AAA is still very much in question. We’re three weeks into the season, and we still have no idea how Region 8-AAA will shake out. Two of the strongest programs in the region -- Gainesville and North Hall -- have each suffered big losses to non-region foes (Buford and St. Pius, respectively), while only two teams -- Lumpkin County and Monroe Area -- have won all of their games (Franklin County has a win and a tie). We’ll get a better idea this coming week, when Gainesville and North Hall square off at The Brickyard and Lumpkin County and Monroe Area battle in Dahlonega. But as of right now, the race for 8-AAA supremacy is wide open.

4. White County got back to its basic best. The Warriors’ strength is putting their hands on the ground and running right over you. They did that this past week to give West Hall its first loss of the season, 45-18. White County rushed for 252 yards in the victory, including 118 for Kentucky-bound running back Ashely Lowery. The Warriors defense played in a similar fashion, stuffing the line of scrimmage. White County faces an interesting test this weekend at Oconee County. If the Warriors make it through unscathed, it will set up a series of showdowns in 8A-AAA, starting with Lumpkin County on Oct. 1 and North Hall on Oct. 8.

5. East Jackson’s early losses didn’t do much to derail the Eagles. After going 9-1 in the regular season last year, the Eagles suffered two straight defeats to open 2010. Both losses came against Class AAA teams (White County and Oconee County), by a combined 10 points. And the Eagles rebounded from those close losses in emphatic fashion this past week, defeating neighbors Banks County 38-0 -- the Leopards first loss of the campaign. East Jackson faces its first subregion game this Friday against a building Jackson County program.

Sept. 10 scores
St. Pius X 49, North Hall 8
Flowery Branch 52, Apalachee 35
White County 45, West Hall 18
Chestatee 49, Johnson 13
Stephens County 29, Oconee County 22
Elbert County 48, East Hall 13
Buford 32, Westminster 10
East Jackson 38, Banks County 0
Jefferson 35, Dawson County 14
Prince Avenue 35, Lakeview 6
Landmark Christian 31, Riverside 15
Rabun County 30, Oglethorpe County 7
Fannin County 28, Jackson County 14
Hart County 33, Union County 6
Hillgrove 42, North Forsyth 28
North Oconee 42, Commerce 0
Mill Creek 35, Cherokee 14
Madison County 22, Winder-Barrow 16
Salem 33, Habersham Central 18

Sept. 17 games
Gainesville at North Hall
West Hall at Stephens County
Chestatee at Dawson County
Franklin County at Walnut Grove
White County at Oconee County
Monroe Area at Lumpkin County
Flowery Branch at Cedar Shoals
Clarke Central at Habersham Central
Salem at Apalachee
Adairsville at East Hall
Jackson County at East Jackson
Jefferson at Hart County
Athens Christian at Banks County
Union County at Robbinsville, N.C.
North Oconee at Rabun County
Fannin County at Murphy, N.C.
Therrell at Buford
Commerce at Washington-Wilkes
Towns County at Hayesville, N.C.
Collins Hill at North Gwinnett
Mountain View at Mill Creek
Etowah at North Forsyth
Associated Categories: Sports News, High School Sports

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