Thursday October 19th, 2017 2:04PM

Week 6: Playoff picture could begin to take shape with huge matchups on tap

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
  Contact Editor
Several regions could begin to take shape as far as the playoff hunts go after Friday with some huge games on tap around northeast Georgia.

None may be bigger than than the top 10 showdown in Washington between defending state champion Jefferson and Washington-Wilkes in Region 8-AA. The two teams are combining for nearly 90 points a game and last year's game -- a 31-0 Jefferson victory -- decided the region champ.

Also in Region 8-AA, Riverside Military Academy will find out if it will be a player in the region traveling to Tiger to take on an explosive Rabun County team. The Wildcats are averaging 50 points a game and have given up just 20 total points all season.

Region 7-AAA finds several key matchups with defending state champ Buford traveling to new-and-improved West Hall. The Spartans are still a huge underdog but have put up huge offensive numbers so far. Buford has outscored its opposition 210-21 this season.

Meanwhile, East Hall and North Hall will face-off at The Brickyard while Dawson County tries to rebound from its loss to the Trojans last week against Banks County.

In Region 8-AAAAA, Gainesville and Flowery Branch will try to stay on top of the region standings playing host to winless teams Cedar Shoals and Apalachee, respectively.

For a look at all of the night's contests involving area teams, simply scroll down. And be sure to check back with Access North Georgia and our Friday Game Night page throughout the night for score updates and game stories and video highlights. You can also check for scores and highlights on our Twitter feed @FridayGameNight


-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Falcons Field, Flowery Branch
-- APALACHEE (0-4, 0-2 Region 8-AAAAA): Lost 43-19 last week to Clarke Central
-- FLOWERY BRANCH (3-2, 3-0 Region 8-AAAAA): Defeated Salem 38-7 last week.
-- HISTORY: Flowery Branch has never lost to the Wildcats, including a 30-20 win last year. The Falcons lead the series 3-0. . . Flowery Branch is following last year's path to success having won three straight after two losses to open the season. But, the three region wins have come against three of the bottom four teams. . .This is a big game for the Falcons as the schedule will get considerably tougher with Heritage, Clarke Central, and Gainesville to end the regular season. . .Flowery Branch is averaging 41 ppg in region contests while Apalachee is allowing 47.5 ppg on the season.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Tiger Stadium, Dawsonville
-- BANKS COUNTY (0-5, 0-2 Region 7-AAA): Lost 63-0 to Buford last week.
-- DAWSON COUNTY (3-2, 1-1 Region 7-AAA): Lost 51-6 to North Hall last week.
-- HISTORY: Dawson County won 45-9 last year but Banks County leads the series 23-9. . .Last year's win for Dawson County snapped a six-game losing streak to the Leopards. . .Dawson County is set up for a run to the playoffs with four of its last five games at Tiger Stadium, where the Tigers are 2-0 this season. . .Offense is the key for the Tigers. They are averaging 26.3 ppg in their three wins but scored just six total points in their two losses. . .Banks County is playing its fifth road game of the season so far and has struggled on both sides of the ball allowing 38.2 ppg on defense while scoring just 9.2 ppg on offense. . .The Leopards have lost six straight road games going back to last season.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Spartan Stadium, Oakwood
-- RADIO: 550 AM
-- BUFORD (4-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAA): Defeated Banks County 63-0 last week. The Wolves are ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.
-- WEST HALL (4-1, 2-0 Region 7-AAA): Defeated Fannin County 49-7 last week.
-- HISTORY: Buford won 61-0 last year in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. But, West Hall was awarded the victory after Buford had to forfeit the win later in the season. . .The Wolves are off to another dominating start outscoring their opposition 210-21 so far on the season. including back-to-back 63-point efforts. . .The Spartans have been scoring on a school-record pace with three consecutive 48-point-plus games, the first time any West Hall team has done that. But, they have not faced a defense like Buford's, which has pitched back-to-back shutouts and held Gainesville to just one touchdown until late in the fourth quarter.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Bobby Gruhn Field, Gainesville
-- RADIO: 1240 AM
-- CEDAR SHOALS (0-5, 0-3 Region 8-AAAAA): Lost 27-13 to Loganville last week.
-- GAINESVILLE (4-1, 3-0 Region 8-AAAAA): Defeated Heritage, Conyers 48-7 last week. The Red Elephants are ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAA.
-- HISTORY: Gainesville won 42-23 last year in the first meeting between the two schools since 1977. Cedar Shoals leads the series 2-1. . .Region play has been good to Gainesville, which is winning by an average margin of 55-4.3 in three region contests so far. . .The Jaguars have lost six straight going back to last season and nine of their last 10 overall since beginning the 2012 season 3-2. . .Gainesville is just 1-1 at home this season.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: War Eagle Stadium, Gainesville
-- CHESTATEE (3-1, 2-0 Region 8-AAAA): Defeated Stephens County 17-0 last week.
-- JOHNSON (1-4, playing non-region schedule): Bye last week. Lost 54-14 to East Hall two weeks ago.
-- HISTORY: Chestatee won 36-26 last year and leads the series 9-3. . .The War Eagles have won five straight against the Knights at Billy Ellis Stadium and are 7-1 on the road since 2011. . .Chestatee's defense played one of its best games in school history last week handing Stephens County its first shutout since 2001. The War Eagles have allowed just 37 points over the past three games after giving up 33 to North Hall in the opener. . .The Knights are giving up 38.8 ppg on defense and have scored just 12.2 ppg on the season.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Ray Lamb Stadium, Commerce
-- COMMERCE (3-2, 1-0 Region 8-A):
-- ATHENS CHRISTIAN (2-3, 0-1 Region 8-A):
-- HISTORY: Athens Christian won 19-14 last year. Commerce leads the series 6-1. . .The Tigers got a huge win last week and need to keep rolling this week. They finish with the top four teams in the region over the last month of the season. . .Athens Christian has struggled defensively over the last three games allowing 145 points, including back-to-back 50 point games in two losses. . . Commerce is scoring just 15.6 ppg and has been shutout twice.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Frank McClure Stadium, Hiawassee
-- COPPER BASIN (0-5): Bye last week. Lost 33-20 to Andrews (N.C.) two weeks ago.
-- TOWNS COUNTY (0-5, playing non-region schedule): Bye last week. Lost 34-14 to Rabun Gap two weeks ago.

-- HISTORY: Copper Basin won 52-34 last year and leads the series 13-3. . .The Indians have lost four straight in the series. . .It should not be a highly offensive game. The Indians are averaging just 11 ppg while the Cougars are have scored just 41 total points in 2013.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: The Brickyard, Murrayville
-- RADIO: 1029 FM
-- EAST HALL (3-2, 0-2 Region 7-AAA): Lost 6-0 to White County last week.
-- NORTH HALL (4-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAA): Defeated Dawson County 51-6 last week. The Trojans are ranked No. 4 in Class AAA.
-- HISTORY: North Hall won 60-12 last season and has won seven straight in the series. East Hall leads the series 33-17-1. . .East Hall has not won at The Brickyard since 2000. . .North Hall has won eight straight at home going back to a loss to Jefferson last season. . .It could be an offensive showcase with both teams piling up huge numbers so far. The Trojans offense has been nearly unstoppable averaging 47 ppg. East Hall is averaging 39.2 ppg. . .It is almost a must-win for the Vikings with losses already to Dawson County and White County and games still to follow with West Hall and No. 1 Buford.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Pete Herndon Stadium, Hartwell
-- EAST JACKSON (1-4, 0-2 Region 8-AAA): Lost 54-3 to Elbert County last week.
-- HART COUNTY (4-0, 1-0 Region 8-AAA): Defeated Franklin County 41-20 last week. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 8 in Class AAA.
-- HISTORY: Hart County won 44-0 last year and leads the series 3-0. . .After starting the season 1-1, the Eagles have struggled on defense the last three weeks allowing 53 ppg in that stretch. . .East Jackson has lost 10 straight road games going back to the 2011 season. . .The Bulldogs have been one of the most balanced teams in the area outscoring opponents 33-14 so far. . .Hart County is 11-2 at home going back to the 2010 season.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Panther Stadium, Jefferson
-- FRANKLIN COUNTY (0-4, 0-1 Region 8-AAA): Lost 41-20 to Hart County last week.
-- JACKSON COUNTY (1-4, 1-1 Region 8-AAA): Lost 62-27 to North Oconee last week.
-- HISTORY: Jackson County won 32-29 last year. Franklin County leads the series 9-2. . .Offensively the Panthers have begun to find their stride averaging 34.6 ppg over their last three contests. Defensively, however, they are allowing 37 ppg. . .Franklin County has scored just 47 points all season and has given up just under 30 ppg on the season. . .Jackson County can stay in the upper division with a win with games left against the top four teams in the region down the stretch.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Tiger Field, Washington
-- JEFFERSON (3-1, 1-0 Region 8-AA): Defeated Greene County 55-10 last week. The Dragons are ranked No. 7 in Class AA.
-- WASHINGTON-WILKES (5-0, 2-0 Region 8-AA): Defeated Union County 41-10 last week. The Tigers are ranked No. 5 in Class AA.
-- HISTORY: Jefferson won 31-0 last year in the first meeting between the two schools since 1969. Washington-Wilkes leads the series 10-3. . .It's one of the biggest matchups in the state Friday and may decide who wins 8-AA as they finished 1-2 in the region last season. . .Expect some points to be scored in this one. The Tigers are guided by quarterback Deandre Harris and running back Quay Blackburn, both sophomores, and the Washington-Wilkes spread offense enters the contest averaging 43.6 ppg. Jefferson quarterback Evan Shirreffs (64-of-106 passing for, 953 yards, 11 TDs) has led the Dragons spread attack, which is averaging 44.5 ppg on the season. . .However, the Tigers have not allowed more than 14 points in a game this season while Jefferson has yielded 10 points or less in three games, including two shutouts.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Henderson Stadium, Norcross
-- LAKEVIEW ACADEMY (0-4, playing non-region schedule): Lost 35-7 to Athens Academy last week.
-- WESLEYAN (0-5, 0-0 Region 6-AA): Lost 7-0 to Jefferson County last week.
-- HISTORY: The two teams have not met since 2009. Wesleyan leads the series 2-0. . .Something has to give as both teams come in winless. Both teams have struggled on defense with the Wolves allowing 30.6 ppg and the Lions giving up 35.5 ppg. . .Lakeview has not scored more than 14 points in any game this season. Wesleyan is averaging 13.2 ppg but has been shutout twice. . .The Wolves have lost three games by a touchdown or less.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Mill Creek Community Stadium, Hochston
-- MEADOWCREEK (0-4, 0-2 Region 7-AAAAAA): Lost 34-7 to Duluth last week.
--MILL CREEK (3-2, 1-2 Region 7-AAAAAA): Lost 27-13 to Norcross last week.
-- HISTORY: Mill Creek won 55-6 last year and leads the series 3-0. . .The Hawks are still smarting after two straight losses and need a region win to get back in the playoff race with No. 1 North Gwinnett looming next week. They have had little trouble with the Mustangs outscoring them 53-2 on average in three career meetings. . .Meadowcreek has pushed its state-long losing streak to 52 consecutive games and has lost 51 straight road games. The Mustangs last road win came against Cross Keys in 2003 and their last win period was against Duluth in 2008.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Raider Stadium, Mt. Airy
-- RADIO: 99.3 FM
-- NORCROSS (3-2, 2-1 Region 7-AAAAAA): Defeated Mill Creek 27-13 last week. The Blue Devils are ranked No. 8 in Class AAAAAA.
-- HABERSHAM CENTRAL(0-5, 0-3 Region 7-AAAAAA): Lost 49-0 to Peachtree Ridge last week.
-- HISTORY: Norcross won 55-0 last year in the first meeting between the two schools since 1997. The Blue Devils lead the series 6-5. . .Habersham has found the going rough so far in 2013, especially in region play. The Raiders have managed just one field goal on offnse and allowed 43.6 ppg in three region games so far and it won't get any easier against the Blue Devils, who were the preseason No. 1 in Class AAAAAA. . .Norcross is coming off a big win over Mill Creek to stay in the playoff race and its defense, which was torched for 98 points in the first three games, has regained its swagger allowing just 16 total points the past two weeks.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Wildcat Stadium, Duluth
-- NORTH GWINNETT (4-0, 2-0 Region 7-AAAAAA): Bye last week. Defeated Meadowcreek 63-0 two weeks ago. The Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAAA.
-- DULUTH (1-4, 1-2 Region 7-AAAAAA): Defeated Meadowcreek 34-7 last week.
-- HISTORY: North Gwinnett won 42-28 last year and has won 15 straight in the series. Duluth leads the series 23-20-1. . .The Bulldogs hope a week off hasn't taken away their momentum. They were rolling on both sides of the ball outscoring their opposition 40-7 with two shutouts on defense in the first four games. . .The Wildcats are coming off their first win and biggest offensive output of the season.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville
-- OGLETHORPE COUNTY (0-4, 0-1 Region 8-AA): Lost 28-20 to Riverside Military Academy last week.
-- UNION COUNTY (2-2, 0-1 Region 8-AA): Lost 41-10 to Washington-Wilkes last week.
-- HISTORY: Union County won 21-14 last year. Oglethorpe County leads the series 6-4. . .It has been a streaky series with the Panthers having won the last three meetings after the Patriots won six straight. . .With Rabun County and Riverside Military Academy facing each other just the road in Tiger, Union County can get back in the playoff race with a win. The Panthers take on Riverside next week. . .Union County had been piling up big numbers on offense until last week averaging 36.6 ppg in its first three games. The Panthers should be able to put up some points against a Patriots defense that is allowing 30 ppg. . .Oglethorpe is averaging just 11 ppg on offense.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Frank Snyder Stadium, Tiger
-- RIVERSIDE MILITARY ACADEMY (2-2, 1-1 Region 8-AA): Defeated Oglethorpe County 28-20 last week.
-- RABUN COUNTY (4-0, 1-0 Region 8-AA): Defeated Social Circle 64-0 last week.
-- HISTORY: Rabun County won 42-20 last year and leads the series 3-2. . .Another huge test for the Eagles, who have improved each week. RMA can solidify a position in the upper division of the region with a win but it won't be easy against a Rabun team that has been dominating to this point. . .Rabun is outgaining foes by an average of 472-126 and is averaging 50.5 ppg while yielding just 20 total points with two consecutive shutouts. . .Charlie Woerner has 453 total yards and 10 TDs (275 rushing, 178 passing). Wes Holcombe is completing 69 percent of passes for 789 yards and 11 TDs and Alden Wright has caught 20 passes for 293 yards and 3 TDs. . .RMA is just 1-15 since 2010 on the road. . .It's a huge game for the Wildcats with back-to-back road games against Jefferson and Washington-Wilkes the next two weeks.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Evans Memorial Stadium, Conyers
-- WINDER-BARROW (1-3, 0-2 Region 8-AAAAA): Bye last week. Lost 60-37 to Salem two weeks ago.
-- HERITAGE, CONYERS (3-2, 2-1 Region 8-AAAAA): Lost 48-7 to Gainesville last week.
-- HISTORY: Heritage won 37-12 and leads the series 5-2. . .The loss for Heritage last week knocked the Patriots to fourth place in the region and they need a win to stay in the race for a playoff spot. . .Winder-Barrow is just 1-9 since joining 8-AAAAA and has had a rough go of things the last three weeks. The Bulldoggs have allowed 168 points in a three-game losing streak while averaging just 17 points in that span. . .Heritage is still stinging from its beatdown by Gainesville and needs a win with key games against Clarke Central and Flowery Branch the next two weeks to stay in the playoff race.
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