Monday May 4th, 2015 6:11AM

Three region-defining showdowns set for broadcast this week

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
There are blockbuster match-ups left, right and center this week, as the high school football season heads toward the business end of the 2012 campaign, and three of the biggest showdowns will headline on the Jacobs Media family of radio stations this Friday.

Region 8-AAAAA, in particular, will come under the microscope this weekend, as the four teams battling for the league supremacy will play each other.

Gainesville and Flowery Branch are the only remaining 8-AAAAA programs undefeated in region play, and while their showdown will have to wait till November, the two teams can put a stranglehold on their race to the top in their battles with Clarke Central and Heritage, Conyers, respectively. The four teams have already distanced themselves in the playoff hunt, and the only question that remains seems to be their seeding order.

The seventh-ranked Red Elephants (6-1, 5-0 Region 8-AAAAA) will play host to Clarke Central (3-3, 3-1) at City Park in a contest broadcast live on 1240 AM.

Gainesville has already taken out Heritage this season but will be wary of an athletic Gladiators squad that knows it must win to keep its own region title hopes alive after last week's defeat to Heritage. Both programs feature high-powered offenses, with the Red Elephants averaging 44.7 points per game, and Clarke Central scoring 31.2 per contest.

Meanwhile, down the road in Flowery Branch, the Falcons (5-2, 5-0) will play host to Heritage (6-1, 4-1) looking for their sixth straight victory in a game broadcast live on AM 550.

Flowery Branch has found its identity on offense, using an explosive ground game -- led by a stout offensive line, running back Justin Curry and quarterback Jackson McDonald -- to average 42 points per game since beginning region play.

Heritage, meanwhile, features a strong rushing attack of its own, though the Patriots have lacked some explosiveness while averaging 22.7 points per game in their wing-T offense.

Yet Region 8-AAAAA isn't the only area league to feature crucial showdowns, and Region 7-AAA will also include plenty of big contests -- including Friday's battle between North Hall and White County at The Brickyard, which will be broadcast live on 102.9 FM.

The Trojans (5-1, 3-0 Region 7-AAA) are flying high headed into the battle, having dominated three straight region games by an average margin of 57-9 -- including defeats of Dawson County, East Hall and Fannin County.

North Hall rushed for an astounding 495 yards in last week's 63-0 victory over Fannin County but will face a stout test against the Warriors' defense. White County (4-2, 2-1) was gashed by Buford in last week's 49-14 loss, but the Warriors are only allowing 13.6 points per game over their other five contests.

North Hall's defense will also prep for White County's triple option offense, which has caused problems for a number of opposing defenses in its second year under coach Bill Ballard.

Elsewhere in 7-AAA, Dawson County will head to Buford after a bye, looking to get back into the thick of the region title hunt.

There will also be huge game in Region 8-AAAA for Chestatee, as the War Eagles look to maintain their position atop the league standings and keep pace with undefeated Monroe Area. Chestatee (5-1, 3-0 Region 8-AAAA) will play host to Lanier (3-3, 1-2) this week, knowing that a victory would essentially set up an 8-AAAA title showdown with the Purple Hurricanes on Nov. 2 n Gainesville.

Meanwhile, Rabun County will look to bounce back from its first region defeat last week (vs. Jefferson) in a key showdown in 8-AA, while the Dragons will look to keep rolling at home to Oglethorpe County. And in Region 8-AAA, Jackson County will look for a program-defining victory at Hart County. The Panthers are 4-2, knowing that a win would give them their most victories in a campaign since 1992 (when they went 8-2-1).

Clarke Central at Gainesville
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Top 10 sports stories of the year: 2012 one for the history books
2012 has been all things to all people in the sports world. The last 12 months have run the gamut of emotions and given fans and spectators much to awe, rue and everything in between.
2:33PM ( 2 years ago )
College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta
Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the museum is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
2:15PM ( 2 years ago )
Boys basketball: Dawson County storms to Battle of States crown, 13-0 mark
The Dawson boys basketball team extended their perfect start to the season to 13-0 -- their best opening in over 40 years -- on Saturday, claiming the Battle of the States tournament title in the process, 62-22 over Murphy, N.C., in Hiawassee.
11:17PM ( 2 years ago )
Girls basketball: Chestatee stumbles to losses in tournament play
The Chestatee girls basketball team dropped a 50-47 decision to Allatoona on Saturday at the Allatoona Christmas Tournament in Acworth.
8:19PM ( 2 years ago )
High School Sports
Spring sports postseason reaches its busiest week
The spring sports postseason is picking up steam now...
1:00PM ( 6 hours from now )
Hawks go cold in 2nd half, drop Game 1 to Wizards
Bradley Beal shook off a sprained ankle to score 28 points and the Washington Wizards remained unbeaten in the postseason, knocking off the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 104-98 Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
By The Associated Press
6:34AM ( 22 minutes from now )
Teheran dominant in shutout win for Braves
Julio Teheran gave up just three singles in six sharp innings and the Atlanta Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 Sunday for a split of the four-game series.
By The Associated Press
4:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
No. 12 Nighthawks Wrap Regular Season with 23-9 Thrashing of Emmanuel
Senior day was quite special for the No. 12 University of North Georgia baseball team's senior class as seven of the eight UNG upperclassmen saw action with each offensive player getting at least one hit, four seniors smacking home runs and senior southpaw Phillip Taylor earning the victory on the mound as the Nighthawks downed Emmanuel, 23-9, Sunday afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium.
10:47PM ( 7 hours ago )
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. returns to Talladega victory lane
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. raced to his first Talladega victory since 2004 and punched his ticket into the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in a commanding performance in Sunday’s Geico 500.
By Pete McCole
7:51PM ( 10 hours ago )