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Coaches Corner: Region seedings on the line in Week 11

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

It’s the same question every year: who’s in and who’s out? Week 11 should provide a much clearer playoff picture when the final horns sound on Friday.  

Several teams around the area are still in the hunt for a playoff bid and some are in the hunt for a higher seeding or a region championship.

Friday Game Night checked in with coaches around northeast Georgia to find out how what it will take to get a win Friday night. 

Below are comments from the area’s coaches about either the keys to a win or about the game, in general. Friday Game Night will have coverage of the 19 games in the area Friday night. You can track these games on the FGN twitter page at or on the live scoreboard at
Buford’s Bryant Appling says coming out strong after the bye week will be key:
“Getting back in the groove after the bye week, don't play sloppy. We’ve got to take care of the ball, affect the ball, block, tackle and minimize mistakes.”

Cherokee Bluff’s Tommy Jones says converting when they have a chance to score is key against Dawson County:
“We’re going to have to hold down their offense from explosive plays. We need to grind out some drives on offense and stay ahead of the chains and convert when we have a chance to score.”

Chestatee’s Shaun Conley says taking care of the football is one of the keys again White County:
“We have to limit J Ben [Haynes] and [Cooper] Turner from getting the big plays. We need to take care of the football and be sound on special teams.”

Commerce’s Michael Brown on the Region 8-A game against Riverside:
“We’re going to have to win the battles upfront and execute the option. Riverside has the potential to score on every play and we can’t give up the big play on defense.”

Dawson County’s Sid Maxwell talks about Cherokee Bluff’s run game:
“For us, just do what we do and try to get better each week. We’ll have to stop the Cherokee Bluff run game and, in particular, their young running back [Jayquan Smith]. On offense, we’re going to have to take what their defense gives us.”

East Hall's Michael Perry on defending North Hall's high-powered offense:
"(North Hall running back J.T. Fair) is an unbelievable high school football player, and he's got help around him obviously, but it's going to be a challenge to stop him and slow them down. Offensively for us, we're going to have to score a lot of points to match them."

Flowery Branch’s Ben Hall talks Week 11 opponent West Hall: 
“We must play to be the best that we can be this week.”

Gainesville’s Heath Webb talks big Region 8-6A matchup against Winder-Barrow:
“We’ve got to win the line of scrimmage and be disciplined. We’ve got to play smart football. We can’t be deceived by the Wing-T.”

Habersham’s Benji Harrison says execution is key against Winder-Barrow:
“I think we’re pretty even, I really do. As a coach I like it, but it also makes me nervous at the same time. The good thing is it’s going to come down to who plays well. The team that shows up and executes the best on Friday night will win.”

Jefferson coach Gene Cathcart staying focused after clinching the Region 8-3A title last week will be key against Jackson County: 
“We have to stay focus and continue to improve and continue our unselfish team play and momentum against a local rival and very improved Jackson County team. Not only that but being able to execute our offense against one of the stronger and more physical defensive fronts and a team that has played really good team defense all year under coach [Rich] McWhorter. All Coaches worry about changes in routine or ceremony and any Senior Night is concerning to a coach with all the emotion that stirs - especially when you have to close the regular season with such a special group of young men who have done so well, overcome so much adversity and been such a great example of what we hope Dragon football is about.”

Johnson’s Stan Luttrell on big Region 8-5A game against Clarke Central:
“They seem like the typical Clarke Central team -- athletic, big, fast and well-coached. We’re going to have to control the lines and give ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter.”

Lakeview Academy coach Matthew Gruhn on playing Towns County:
“We’ve got to eliminate turnovers and not allow their playmakers to make big plays.”

Lumpkin County’s Caleb Sorrells on Fannin County:
“We’ve got to tackle better.  Missed tackles are killing us. Offensively, we've got to establish some run game. That means better performance from O-Line and running backs. Sometimes we've got it blocked well and can't hit the hole. Other times, we are allowing penetration and can't get to the hole.” 

North Hall's David Bishop on defending East Hall:
"They're good enough to make big plays and that's what I've seen with them playing other folks. We can't allow that to happen and that just becomes our kids running to the football, regardless of whether we think somebody else is going to tackle him or not."

Rabun County’s Jaybo Shaw says a fast start against Region 8-2A foe, Oglethorpe, will be key:
We have to swarm to the football and play our physical brand of football and play with relentless effort on special teams. Winning the turnover battle will always be a key for us.”

Riverside coach Nick Garrett says playing assignment defense and converting on drives will be key against Commerce:
“We’re going to have to limit three and outs on offense. We’re going to have to convert drives into scores when we get close. We’re going to have to play assignment defense and stop their explosive plays.”

Union County’s Brian Allison talks Social Circle:
“We’ve got to tackle well and defend their run game. On offense, our run game will be key and eliminate turnovers.”

West Hall’s Krofton Montgomery on slowing down the Flowery Branch offense:
“Tackling their big backs will be the biggest key. They run the ball extremely hard and are tough to bring down on initial contact.  Offensively, being able to slow their down 4 players to stay in front of the chains."

White County’s Tim Cokely says limiting turnovers and tackling will be key against Denmark:
“We have to secure the ball and make tackles because their quarterback [Christian Charles] seems to get loose for big plays every week.”

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