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Posted: Tuesday, August 26th 2014 at 12:23pm

Three huge prep football contests slated for airwaves on Friday

By Morgan Lee Editor
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West Hall will travel to face Johnson on Friday in the "Battle of Oakwood."
Get ready, the full launch of the 2014 high school football season is just three days away -- and the Jacobs Media family will have every angle covered.

Three area contests will be broadcast live on Friday, including season-openers for four teams.

Chestatee, Flowery Branch, Gainesville and West Hall will each take to the field for the first time this week -- with the War Eagles and Falcons battling each other, Gainesville traveling to Grayson and West Hall taking on Johnson in the latest “Battle of Oakwood.”

The Knights will be looking to bounce back after last week’s 31-3 loss to Madison County and will be looking for a little revenge over the arch-rivals after the Spartans dealt Johnson a 35-0 defeat in last year’s showdown.

West Hall actually leads the series 12-7-1 -- though the Knights actually hold a 6-5 edge in the last 11 games, many of those being close battles (six of the games were decided by a touchdown or less).

Both teams will duke it out live on WDUN AM 550.

West Hall is coming off a huge 2013 in which it got back to the state playoffs for the first time since 2002, yet the Spartans have some big questions to answer in 2014 after graduating key standouts at tight end and quarterback.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Gainesville will begin the Mikey Gonzalez era on Friday at Grayson. The senior will take his chance to step into the rather large shoes of graduated record-breaker Deshaun Watson (who may take the field for Clemson at Sanford Stadium on Saturday).

The Red Elephants will travel to face the Rams on Friday in a game broadcast live on 1240 AM.

It will be by no means an easy task against the Class AAAAAA program that features defensive end Justin Young, a 6-foot-3, 255-pound Georgia commit. Grayson is coming off a 4-6 season -- its first losing mark in seven years -- but is just three years removed from a state championship. Gainesville is coming off a Class AAAAA semifinal berth and a 2012 state crown.

The third game on Friday’s airwaves features a match-up between two playoff foes that once shared a unique rivalry.

Flowery Branch and Chestatee were opened the same year and played their first ever contest against each other -- a rivalry that continued until the 2010 season -- when the Falcons moved up to Class AAAA (Chestatee stayed in AAA). The Falcons and War Eagles are still in different classifications -- Flowery Branch in Region 8-AAAAA and Chestatee in 8-AAAA -- but the renewal of their competition should answer some intriguing questions.

Both teams are replacing their starting quarterbacks, as well as a number of other key players on both sides of the ball. The War Eagles are also under a new head coach, as former assistant Bill Forman takes over in his first game in charge. The new coach is looking to build on the upward trajectory Stan Luttrell began when he took Chestatee to back-to-back state berths and their first ever playoff victory in 2013.

Flowery Branch, meanwhile, is looking to notch its 10th straight playoff appearance and third straight for head coach Chris Griffin, who says his 2014 Falcons will base themselves on hard work and bruising lines of scrimmage.

It should prove eye-opening indeed when the two teams face off on WDUN 102.9 FM.

Apalachee at Woodland-Henry
Banks County at Commerce
Berkmar at Buford
Dawson County at Forsyth Central
East Hall at Wesleyan
Fannin County at Gilmer
Flowery Branch at Chestatee -- Radio: 102.9 FM
Gainesville at Grayson -- Radio: 1240 AM
Habersham Central at Rabun County
Lakeview Academy at East Jackson
Lanier at Lambert
Madison County at Jackson County
Mill Creek at West Forsyth
North Cobb at North Gwinnett
North Forsyth at Cherokee
Pickens at White County -- Radio:
Riverside Military at Fellowship Christian
Stephens County at Franklin County
Union County at Towns County
West Hall at Johnson -- Radio: AM 550
Winder-Barrow at Jefferson
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Gainesville, GA 30501
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