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Sunday July 5th, 2015 9:25AM

Week 9: Seeding races start to shake out; title games on horizon

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
Flowery Branch 37, Clarke Central 7


Chestatee 42, Lumpkin County 14
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Region 8-AAAAA has its championship game, so does 8-AAAA, while Region 8-AA almost looks set after a definitive night of action in high school football.

Meanwhile, Region 7-AAA, has four playoff front-runners -- but the order of finish is still a big question mark, while the No. 1 team in Class AAAAAA went down.

North Hall got back on track with a 35-21 victory over a dogged West Hall on Friday, while White County held off Dawson County 17-10 in Cleveland. Buford also dominated Fannin County 45-8 in Blue Ridge.

The Trojans, Spartans, Warriors and Wolves currently make up the top four spots in 7-AAA, with undefeated Buford (8-0, 5-0 Region 7-AAA) leading the way. White County (6-2, 4-1) and North Hall (7-1, 4-1) are tied for second -- though the Warriors own the head-to-head tiebreaker. West Hall (5-3, 3-2) is alone in fourth, but the Warriors face season-defining contests the next two weeks -- playing host to White County next Friday before traveling to Dawson County (4-4, 2-3), which still has a shot at the postseason if it can win out.

The only question for area teams in Region 8-AAAAA is who will finish with the title after Flowery Branch (7-2, 7-0 Region 8-AAAAA) shut down Clarke Central 37-7 to set up a de facto league championship with Gainesville (7-1, 6-0) on Nov. 8 at City Park. The Red Elephants were on a bye Friday and still have Loganville next week, but, regardless of that outcome, the Falcons and Red Elephants will battle for a trophy. Flowery Branch is off next week.

In Region 8-AAAA, Chestatee rode a 6-0 start from Lumpkin County to pull away for a 42-14 victory in Gainesville and set up next week's battle for region supremacy at Monroe Area. The War Eagles (7-1, 5-0 Region 8-AAAA) will face a fourth-ranked Purple Hurricanes team that has not scored fewer than 40 points this season.

The race for Region 8-AA looks all but finished, with Washington-Wilkes holding a commanding lead, but Jefferson took a big step toward sealing the No. 2 spot and a first round home playoff game on Friday courtesy a 68-0 win over Social Circle. The Dragons (6-2, 4-1 Region 8-AA) are just ahead of Rabun County -- which halted a two-game losing skid in style on Friday, pulling away from rival Union County 42-18 in Blairsville. The Wildcats (6-2, 3-2) hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers (5-3, 3-2) for the No. 3 spot in the playoff race.

Meanwhile, North Forsyth pulled off a big comeback in Region 6-AAAAAA, nipping Centennial 28-24 in Coal Mountain to halt a three-game losing streak.

Commerce also kept its winning ways going, picking up its second straight win, 48-12 over Hebron Christian.

Jackson County also pulled off a lopsided defeat of Oconee County, 56-27, to stay in the Region 8-AAA playoff hunt. The Panthers were led by six touchdown passes from Jacob Lewis.

Riverside Military, Lakeview Academy and East Hall also picked up big victories, the closest being the Vikings' 33-7 win over region for Banks County.

Yet perhaps the biggest outcome of the night came in Region 7-AAAAAA, where Collins Hill stunned No. 1 North Gwinnett 53-28 in Suwanee, handing the Bulldogs their first loss of the campaign.

It was a huge night -- one that set up even bigger nights to come in a fast-waning season.

Check our sports, high school sports and Friday Game Night pages for complete game stories and video highlights of Friday's action

AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FINALS, OCT. 25

Buford 45, Fannin County 8

Cedar Shoals 27, Winder-Barrow 6

Chestatee 42, Lumpkin County 14

Commerce 48, Hebron Christian Academy 12

Collins Hill 53, North Gwinnett 28

Duluth 27, Habersham Central 14

East Hall 33, Banks County 7

Flowery Branch 37, Clarke Central 7

Jackson County 56, Oconee County 27

Jefferson 68, Social Circle 0

Lakeview Academy 42, North Cobb Christian 7

Lanier 31, Stephens County 14

North Forsyth 28, Centennial 24

North Hall 35, West Hall 21

North Oconee 45, East Jackson 7

Pickens 21, Johnson 14

Rabun County 42, Union County 18

Riverside Military 66, Glascock County 0

Salem 27, Apalachee 7

St. Francis 30, Towns County 3

White County 17, Dawson County 10

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