Monday May 29th, 2023 9:49PM

Coaches Corner: Another big week around the area on tap

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

Cherokee Bluff's Eric Gohman blocked a Dawson County go-ahead field goal late in the fourth quarter to seal the Bears 28-27 win to highlight Week 10's area action.

The win keeps the Bears tied with North Hall at the top of the Region 7-3A standings, setting up another massive game against North Hall this week. 

It was part of a Week 10 that saw West Forsyth hold on to beat Gainesville at City Park, Towns County shutout Greene County to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot, Rabun County scored 60-plus points again, Flowery Branch demolished Madison County and Commerce smacked Social Circle. 

This week's key battles: Bluff plays host to North Hall, Gainesville travels to Denmark in a crucial Region 6-7A game, Towns County continues its march to the playoffs with a home game against, Jefferson travels to North Oconee, East Hall can keep its playoff hopes alive with a win over Madison County, and Commerce plays at Washington-Wilkes.

Friday Game Night checked in with the area’s coaches to find out how Week 10 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 Below are comments from the area’s coaches:

Buford's Bryant Appling on playing Winder-Barrow ... 

"I know they are a younger group that has improved every game. They are very well-coached and play hard on every snap. They are a big and physical bunch on offense and defense that will give us match up issues in a couple of areas. [We need to] protect the football and establish our ground game on offense, win first down on defense and flip the field and create field position on special teams."

Cherokee Bluff's Tommy Jones on North Hall ... 

"North Hall is peaking right now and playing with a ton of confidence. As always, they are extremely well-coached. Offensively, they are both efficient and explosive. They force you to line up correctly and play 100 percent responsibility football. Defensively, they are as fundamental, physical and disciplined as anyone on our schedule. As with every game, we need to play clean, fundamental and fast in every phase."    

Chestatee's Shaun Conley on playing Flowery Branch ... 

Flowery Branch is a well-coached team that’s playing well right now. They have two running backs that are tough runners with a quarterback and a corp of receivers that are very talented as well. They can hurt you offensively in many ways. The key for us is execution on both sides of the ball, take advantage of any opportunities that arise and try and limit their big plays."

Dawson County's Sid Maxwell on Lumpkin County ... 

"They are getting better each week. We have to focus on the little things and capitalize on our opportunities that arrive in every game. We must improve our red zone offense and tackle better in the secondary."

East Hall's Michael Perry on Madison County ...

"Madison is very big and physical on the lines of scrimmage. They play with great effort and have a very good defensive end. Offensively, we are going to have to give Clete [Cooper] time to throw. We need to have explosive plays and score when we have our chances. Defensively, we are going against an offense that is very unique from what we have seen. We must stop the run and their fullback to have success."

Gainesville's Heath Webb on Denmark ... 

"Denmark has a well-coached, disciplined team. Their quarterback is an elite player that can run and throw. He's the key. We must stop him. They play great team defense. We will have to execute well on offense, create plays on special teams and win the turnover battle."

Flowery Branch's Ben Hall on Chestatee ...

"Each week our goal is to play to be the best that we can be. Chestatee is a region opponent, and all region games are important. Our players and their players have been competing against one another since they began playing the game."

 Jefferson's Gene Cathcart on playing North Oconee ... 

Tyler [Aurandt] and his staff have done an incredible job at North Oconee as the previous two years they have been 19-5 with two Sweet 16 teams. They return seven first or second-team all-region performers and are led by the preseason All-State Class 4A and Clemson-commit quarterback Bubba Chandler. They do a great job scheme-wise as a staff and are as good at RPO’s as anyone we will play. Defensively, they are extremely coached up as well, play hard and tackle well and have a tremendous kicking game. They have played an extremely tough schedule as their losses have come against five very good football teams who have a combined 31-9 record and four out of the five are ranked in their respective classifications. Their wins are against teams that have a combined 8-24 record but, to their credit, they have beaten teams they are supposed to beat and played very well at home. We know it will be a great challenge facing such an outstanding team at their place this time of year, and we will have to be well prepared and play very well."

Lakeview's Lee Shaw on St. Francis ... 

"St. Francis is a very athletic team. They have the ability to be extremely explosive on offense. They have speed on the field. Their record does not show the potential that they have. We will need to take advantage of scoring opportunities. In our last game against Mt. Pisgah, we at times were our own worst enemy -- leaving points on the field and not taking advantage of possible interceptions which would have been great momentum swings seemed to be the story of our night. If we want to take this program into the playoffs for the first time, we have to play with consistency against St. Francis."

North Hall's David Bishop on Cherokee Bluff ... 

"Cherokee Bluff is much improved under the leadership of Coach Jones and his staff. They have three-year starters all over the field and the experience shows. In order to win, we must execute on offense and drain the clock to limit their touches, swarm to the ball on defense in order to limit big plays and excel on special teams as points can be gained or lost in big games."

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

"Union County is coached very well by coach [Brian] Allison and his staff. It will be two teams that are very familiar with one another as far as what each team does schematically. This is a rivalry game and it means a great deal to our team, our school, and our community. For us, the week we play Union just means a little more than all the rest of the regular-season games. There is usually always a lot at stake with this game, and this year is no different. 

Our number one key no matter who the opponent is will be playing our brand of football which is playing with relentless effort in all three phases of the game as well as being as physical as possible. Obviously, turnovers will play a major role in a game like this so we will need to take care of the football on offense and try to force a turnover on defense."

Towns County's Jason Roquemore on Social Circle ... 

"They are very well-coached and they play hard. We are going to have to execute our game plan in all 3 phases and play much cleaner in the kicking game."

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