Wednesday November 25th, 2015 6:42PM

Trojans-Dragons battle set to air, while GHS, Branch look to bounce back

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
The dust has settled on what some were calling the showdown of the season -- but we're just getting started, and week 3 of high school football may bring us the best line-up yet.

Certainly the member stations of Jacobs Media and Access North will be along for every step on Sept. 13, as the area's programs start to put the 2013 campaign into clearer focus.

The region schedule will get underway for some this week, including all of Region 8-AAAAA and a key game in 7-AAA, but perhaps the most intriguing contest will, once again, be a non-region battle, as North Hall travels to face Jefferson.

The Dragons (2-0) are the defending Class AA champs and have looked every bit the part so far this season, cruising to a combined 89-0 scoreline in defeats of rivals Commerce and Jackson County, but they will face their biggest challenge of the season so far on Friday when the Trojans (2-0) pay a visit to Memorial Stadium in a game broadcast live on 102.9 FM.

North Hall bounced back from a home loss to the Dragons in 2012 to reach the Class AAA semifinals and have played well in their opening contests of 2013, running all over opposing defenses for an average of 347 rush yards per contest, including four backs -- Zac Little, Isaac Seid, Andrew Smith and Brannon Dyer -- already over 100 yards on the season.

Meanwhile, Jefferson's offense has looked just as -- if not more -- explosive so far in 2013, showing off a number of weapons, including running backs Tristen Jackson and Isaiah Blake, while junior quarterback Evan Shirreffs has stepped into a starting role for the first time and excelled.

It should make for a big battle come Friday night.

Meanwhile, two area Region 8-AAAAA programs will be looking for a bounce back this week, as they take to league play.

Gainesville and Flowery Branch each showed the ability to rebound from early non-region losses in 2012 and find themselves in similar positions this week, as the Red Elephants get set to take on Winder-Barrow at City Park and the Falcons prepare to host Cedar Shoals.

Gainesville (1-1) is coming off a tough, 38-14 loss to Buford and will want to make a statement against a Winder squad that is 1-1 but coming off a lopsided defeat to Monroe Area 40-14.

The Bulldoggs have made strides this offseason, however, and the Red Elephants will have to be wary of Winder's new spread attack -- though Gainesville will want to unleash its own potent offense in a game broadcast live on 1240 AM.

Meanwhile, Flowery Branch is sitting at 0-2 for the second straight year. Last season, the Falcons fired right back from the losses to win eight straight and take the 8-AAAAA crown. The march to do that again begins Friday in a game broadcast live on AM 550.

The Falcons will take on a Jaguars team that is also 0-2 and has struggled to put up points this season, averaging just 16.5 per game.

Flowery Branch got its own offense on track in this game last season, scoring 45 points in the victory and will look to do so again this season.

And that's just scratching the surface of a huge night for area teams.

Region 7-AAA will feature a battle between Fannin County (1-1) and White County (2-0) in Cleveland, while West Hall and Lumpkin County will face off in a showdown between two teams looking for a bounce back.

One of the biggest contests in the state will also take place in Norcross, as top-ranked North Gwinnett faces off with the Blue Devils in a top 10 battle.

Cedar Shoals at Flowery Branch -- Radio: 550 AM
Commerce at Banks County
East Hall at East Jackson
Fannin County at White County
Forsyth Central at Dawson County
Georgia Military at Riverside Military
Habersham Central at Collins Hill
Hancock Central at Buford
Hart County at Stephens County
Jackson County at Athens Christian
Johnson at North Murray
Lanier at Franklin County
Mill Creek at Mountain View
North Forsyth at Cherokee
North Gwinnett at Norcross
North Hall at Jefferson -- Radio: 102.9 FM
Rabun County at Towns County
Union County At Andrews, N.C.
West Hall at Lumpkin County
Winder-Barrow at Gainesville -- Radio: 1240 AM
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