Monday January 17th, 2022 5:06PM
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Football: A trio of matchups that should be of interest

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor

Here we go. The high school football season enters Week 3, and, just like that, three weeks of the season are soon to be gone. Before I get too depressed about the extreme quickness of the season, let's take a look at some interesting Week 3 matchups. 

Now, I must give out the same disclaimer as I did last week. The week isn't all that great either. However, there is one game with a lot of red all over it that most football fans around these parts will be interested in: Flowery Branch at Gainesville. By the way, look for our video feature on a look back at the 2009 Class 3A semifinal classic this coming Thursday. 

So, where to start with the Branch and Big Red? (GAME CANCELED)

It's still a relatively young rivalry, call it a love-hate relationship, if you're reading Twitter today. Branch has won the last three, and before that, Gainesville had won three in a row. But Big Red still holds the series lead 10-6 and the largest margin of victory, 58-10 back in 2003 -- the second game ever played between the two. Since 2009's down-to-the-wire Class 3A semifinal battle, however, the series has been neck and neck -- 4-4. Flowery Branch can match Gainesville's longest win streak of four games (2002-2005) with a win this week.

Regardless of the history, the two student sections going back and forth on social media and us, the media, making a big deal about the game, the 2021 edition of the rivalry could go one of two ways: Flowery Branch or Gainesville wins. Yeah, you thought I was going to add fuel to the fire on a Wednesday? We'll do that with our FGN Pick 'Em Show on Friday.

On a more serious note, you be the judge: Since giving up 14 points to St. Pius X in Week 1, Flowery Branch (2-0) has allowed just one touchdown over the past six quarters ... Gainesville (1-1), on the other, had a breakout game last week against Chattahoochee, scoring 44 points in the 44-0 win. So, you make the call on this one: Gainesville or Flowery Branch. 

Rabun County at ELCA (GAME CANCELED)

The Wildcats rebounded well last week against Pace Academy with Gunner Stockton accounting for 510 of the team's 520 yards of offense -- six passing touchdowns and one rushing. Rabun County has put itself through the wringer with its non-region schedule, and this week is no different as they travel to Class A-Private powerhouse Eagle's Landing Christian Academy. 

Although the Chargers have started the season 0-2, don't let it fool you. The Chargers are ranked No. 3 in Class A-Private and have won six state titles since 2012, including a quarter-final appearance last season and the state title in 2019. They lost to Class 5A No. 3 Ware County last week, 52-28. 

This one is interesting for a few reasons: a long road trip for Rabun County; a struggling ELCA defense and a potent Wildcat offense. 

Can the Wildcats build off the blowout win over Pace Academy this week, or will the long road trip to McDonough have them in slow mode? Will ELCA's offense wake up? Those questions will be answered on Friday. 

North Hall at Hart County

Well, well, well ... why did this game make the interesting list. You may ask why is North Hall even being talked about after the shellacking Stephens County put on them last week -- 42-0 -- at Lynn Cottrell Stadium. 

Well, yes, I know that's a deep subject, and so is this game. It can go really dark for the Trojans or can go really well for them. It all depends on which Trojan team shows up on Friday in Hartwell. After Friday's game, the Bulldogs seem to be hitting on all cylinders. They're averaging 50 points per game while giving up 17, and running back JL Lackey had a field day against White County with 188 yards on 27 carries and five touchdowns. 

If the Trojans are going to be in this one at the end, they must erase Week 2 from their memories, and production from the offense has to be better -- only eight first downs against Stephens County and 155 rushing yards.

Whatever the Trojans do on Friday, they'll need to find a way to slow down a bigger Hart County team with a fierce rushing attack and have a much better performance, on both sides of the ball, than last week. It can be done. 

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