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Friday December 4th, 2020 6:37PM

Coaches Corner: Area programs face key battles in Week 9

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

Flowery Branch's double-overtime win against North Oconee was the highlight of Week 8.

Senior running back Jaizen Ellingham rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Falcons to their first Region 8-4A win and put them in the driver's seat for a home playoff game.

It was part of a Week 8 that saw Dawson County's offense explode in a 35-0 win over Gilmer, North Hall kept it's streak alive with a win over Lumpkin, White County steered the train back on the track with a victory over West Hall and Lakeview Academy earned its first Region 6-A Private win.

This week's key battles: West Hall welcomes a beat-up Dawson County team to the Hot Gates in a crucial Region 7-3A game. Flowery Branch goes on the road to Cedar Shoals. East Hall's high-flying offense travels to North Oconee and Gainesville will go for three in a row in Region 6-7A at preseason favorite South Forsyth. 

Friday Game Night checked in with the area’s coaches to find out how Week 8 played out, and what are the keys to getting a win this week.

You can track these games on the FGN Twitter page @FridayGameNight  or the live scoreboard at www.accesswdun.com/fridaygamenight. Below are comments from the area’s coaches:

Banks County's Jay Reid on Rabun County ... 

"Coach [Jaybo] Shaw and his staff continue to do a great job up there. They play fast and physical and make very few mistakes. Looking at them on film, you can definitely see the experience that they have on the field as they play together. We have to be able to temper the explosiveness of their offense as they are certainly capable of putting up good numbers on anyone." 


Cherokee Bluff's Tommy Jones on Lumpkin County ... 

"Coach Sorrells and his staff do a nice job of attacking weak areas on both sides of the ball. They force you to be disciplined, fundamental and make good adjustments. Their kids are engaged and excited and it is evident that they have really “bought-in” to building something special up there. We need to play clean, fast, and physical in order to be successful." 


Chestatee coach Shaun Conley on Madison County ... 

They have great size up front on both sides of the ball with good skill positions to go with them. They run a ball-control offense and really aggressive on defense. We will have to take advantage of any opportunities we get on both sides of the ball."


East Hall's Michael Perry on North Oconee ... 

"North Oconee will be the best team we have played up until this point. They do a great job on offense of putting defenders in conflict and giving you a whole variety of formations. Their quarterback is going to Clemson for a reason. Defensively, they try and take away the middle of the field. We must score on offense when we have the ball."


Flowery Branch's Ben Hall on Cedar Shoals ... 

"​Cedar Shoals is a team that is used to playing in the postseason under Coach Leroy Ryals. Their running back is an all-state caliber player, and they are physical and fly around on defense. We must be efficient when we have the ball, avoid turnovers and not give up the big play on defense."


Gainesville's Heath Webb on South Forsyth ...

"South Forsyth has an excellent football team. They're in the top 5 in scoring in Class 7A and have shown big-play capabilities in every game they've played. We must limit their offensive explosiveness because they can score from anywhere on the field. Defensively, they are very aggressive and bring blitzes from everywhere. Our offensive line, quarterbacks and running backs must do a good job of recognizing the blitz and picking it up. We've got to take care of the ball, create turnovers and make plays on special teams."


Habersham Central's Benji Harrison on Lanier ... 

"They are very talented and have a lot of playmakers. They are very multiple on offense and very aggressive on defense. Getting off to a good start is a must. We have to sustain drives on offense and stay ahead of the chains. We must stay on schedule offensively. Defensively, we have to tackle in space and make them snap it again."


Johnson's William Harrell on Apalachee ... 

"Their offense has been pretty good despite their record. They have scored some points against some of the tougher teams in our region. We will have to be able to tackle better in space, not make self-inflicted mistakes, and improve our offensive efficiency."


Lumpkin's Caleb Sorrells on Cherokee Bluff ... 

"They are much improved from last year thanks to some really talented transfers. Coach [Tommy] Jones is always going to have a great O-line, and they have two stud tailbacks to feed.  We will have to play really physical on defense and fit things right because if they get loose, we will have a hard time catching them. Offensively, we absolutely have to be able to establish some type of run game, which has been difficult lately."


 North Hall's David Bishop on Gilmer ... 

"Gilmer is a greatly improved football program. They are good at what they do on both sides of the ball and play hard and physical. The keys to the game will be to get their offense off the field so they don’t eat up the clock. We also have to move the chains and score every time we touch the ball as possessions will be limited."


Rabun County's Jaybo Shaw on Banks County ... 

"Coach [Jay] Reid and his staff do a great job. It is very evident that they are coached very well and have talented players. They are very multiple in everything they do as far as their scheme on offense, defense, and special teams. We will have to have great eye discipline in everything we do. Most importantly, we will have to play our brand of football and play with relentless effort in all three phases of the game."


Union County's Brian Allison on Elbert County ... 

"They are a very athletic team and well-coached. We will need to be run stoppers on defense. We will need to execute better on offense than we did last week and be solid in special teams."


West Hall's Krofton Montgomery on Dawson County ... 

"Dawson is a really good team that is coached up at every spot. The quarterback has one of the quicker releases and pure arm talent that we’ve seen on tape. He has receivers that make plays all over the field. The keys are to get Healthy and get our top three rushers back this week, limit turnovers and control the clock to an extent."
 

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