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Thursday December 3rd, 2020 9:13PM

Raiders play first of two games in 5 days with playoffs on the line

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

MT. AIRY — Habersham Central will have that rare opportunity to play twice in one week when they take on Central Gwinnett Tuesday at Raider Stadium.

The game was originally scheduled for Nov. 6 but the two teams were forced to reschedule due to the Black Knights’ dealing with COVID-19 issues. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Raider Stadium.

Is that good or bad? Who knows. But in a strange and wacky 2020 season, it’s just another of the firsts for Habersham Central coach Benji Harrison.

“It’s a unique situation. I’ve never had two games in a week in all the years I’ve been coaching,” Harrison said. “But this has been a year to expect anything and this is just the next thing.”

But for the Black Knights, it’s even more crazy. This will be their third game in eight days due to also having to reschedule their game with Winder-Barrow. Either they will have become accustomed to the quick turnaround, or they will have nothing left.

Central Gwinnett lost 37-0 to Winder-Barrow on Monday (Nov. 9) then dropped a tough 20-16 decision to No. 6 Dacula on Friday (Nov. 13)

The Raiders will have had 11 days of rest since beating Lanier 36-15 back on Nov. 6 and have had their normal routines disrupted.

Does that give either team an advantage?

“I don’t know,” Harrison said. “I don’t like off weeks any way so having that many days between games is something that concerns me a little. But we also were able to get some guys healthy so I guess that’s good.”

As for the playoffs, the Black Knights have already been eliminated. The Raiders are battling for their playoff lives. A win and they’re in. A loss and they’ll have a must-win scenario on Saturday afternoon against Shiloh.

“We’re not worrying about Shiloh,” Harrison said. “Our focus is just to go win this one. But Central Gwinnett is a scary team. They have speed all over the field. But all we need to do is just do what we do on offense, and we have to tackle well.

“If we do those two things we should be fine.”

 

CENTRAL GWINNETT at HABERSHAM CENTRAL
-- WHEN: 6 p.m. 
-- WHERE: Raider Stadium, Mt. Airy
-- RADIO: 99.3 FM WCON
-- CENTRAL GWINNETT (1-8, 0-5 Region 8-6A): Lost 20-16 to No. 6 Dacula on Saturday
-- HABERSHAM CENTRAL (4-4, 2-2 Region 8-6A): Off last week; defeated Lanier 36-15 two weeks ago
-- NOTABLE: Central Gwinnett leads series 7-6. The two teams have not met since 2001, a 17-6 Black Knights’ win in Lawrenceville. ... The Blacks Knights were thought coming into the season to be a playoff contender. But after 8 straight losses, they already have been eliminated from playoff contention after two straight playoff appearances. ... Meanwhile, this is a huge game for the Raiders, who can still finish third in the region. They own tiebreakers over Winder-Barrow and Lanier and finish with Shiloh on Saturday in Lithonia. .A win will clinch a playoff spot outright. ... Central Gwinnett has had issues on both sides of the ball in 2020. After scoring 31.1 ppg in 2019, they have scored just 112 points (12.4 ppg) this season and have scored 7 or fewer points five times. But So. QB Justin Johnson is a rising star having passed for over 2,000 yards in 2020. But they are only averaging 70 yards/game on the ground. Defensively, they have surrendered the 2nd-most points in Class 6A (320, 35.5 ppg). ... The key number for the Raiders is 21. When they have scored more than 21, they are 4-0. They are 0-4 when scoring 21 or less. Hab Central is averaging 270 yards/game on the ground behind Joshua Pickett, who is 11th in the state with 1,177 yards, and Jackson Clouatre, who has 886 yards, and the duo has scored 20 combined TDs. ... The Raiders are giving up 28.2 ppg on defense but that is a marked improvement over the 34.9 ppg in 2019.

  • Associated Categories: Sports, High School Sports, Friday Game Night
  • Associated Tags: High school football, Habersham Central football
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