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Saturday January 28th, 2023 12:23PM

Week 12 Previews: Final week will see little drama as most regions settled

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

Week 11 was so big for Northeast Georgia-area teams that after the dust settled, all but two of the 26 area teams covered by AccessWDUN knew their ultimate playoff fate, good or bad.

Which means that in Week 12, the regular season finale of the 2022 season, everyone but Lumpkin County and Lakeview Academy is either playing out the string or hoping to improve their playoff position.

Buford, Gainesville, Jefferson, Dawson County, and Rabun County all clinched region titles last week. Union County can still win Region 8-2A and Lanier Christian can still win its GAPPS Region 1-2A division.

For Lumpkin County, the Indians can secure their first postseason since 2014 with a win over West Hall. A loss, however, depending on two other key Region 7-3A contests, could knock them out after being no less than in second place all season.

Lakeview Academy in the GIAA sits 10th in the power rankings (they take the top 10 teams) so a win over Loganville Christian would most likely keep them in the playoff race. A loss, however, could deal their playoff chances a severe blow depending on the rest of the GIAA outcomes this week.

Overall, there are 19 games on tap to close out the season involving area teams. While less than a dozen teams are getting prepared for the playoffs, building for next season could begin this week for everyone else.

For a look at all of the week's contests involving area teams, simply scroll down. And be sure to check back with AccessWDUN's Friday Game Night throughout the night on Friday for score updates, game stories, and video highlights. You can also check for scores and highlights on our Twitter feed: @FridayGameNight

(Commerce, Dawson County, Rabun County, and Riverside Military have completed their regular season schedules.)


HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FOR Nov. 3
(Games listed in alphabetical order of visiting team)
FELLOWSHIP CHRISTIAN at UNION COUNTY
Records: Paladins (9-0, 4-0 Region 8-2A); Panthers (7-2, 3-1 Region 8-2A)
Last week: Fellowship Christian beat Banks County, 42-7; Union County lost 38-7 to Athens Academy
Where: Mike Colwell Memorial Stadium, Blairsville
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. Both teams have qualified for the playoffs and the four teams in the region are known, but nothing has been settled as to seeding. Depending on the outcome of this game and the Athens Academy-East Jackson game, it could go to tiebreakers for first place and third place. However, a Fellowship win clinches the region title for the Paladins. 
What to watch for: The Union County offense vs. the Paladins defense. The Panthers are averaging 31.6 ppg but the Paladins lead 8-2A, giving up just 37 points (9.25 ppg) in region play. Union County is 0-2 when scoring less than 14 points.


HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FOR Nov. 4
(Games listed in alphabetical order of visiting team)
ATHENS ACADEMY at EAST JACKSON
Records: Spartans (7-2, 3-1 Region 8-2A); Eagles (5-4, 2-2 Region 8-2A)
Last week: Athens Academy beat Union County, 38-7; East Jackson beat Providence Christian, 41-34
Where: Eagles Stadium, Commerce
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: Athens Academy won the only meeting between the two teams in 2011, 38-14 in Watkinsville. The Eagles qualified for their first postseason since 2009 last week. The win also gave them their most wins since 2009 (10) and their first non-losing season since 2009 (10-2). Eagles QB Drew Richardson accounted for 285 total yards (119 passing, 166 rushing) last week. Both teams have qualified for the playoffs and the four teams in in the region are known, but nothing has been settled as to seeding. Depending on the outcome of this game and the Fellowship-Union County game, it could go to tiebreakers for first place and third place. 
What to watch for: The East Jackson defense vs. the Spartans offense. The 2022 Eagles unit, statistically (167 points, 18.5 ppg), is the best in program-history and has not allowed more than 34 in a game this season. The Spartans offense (162, 40.5 ppg) leads the region in scoring and is 9th in Class 2A (322, 35.7 ppg).


BUFORD at CENTRAL GWINNETT
Records: Wolves (9-0, 4-0 Region 8-7A); Black Knights (5-4, 0-4 Region 8-7A)
Last week: Buford beat Mountain View, 56-7; Central Gwinnett lost 35-0 to Collins Hill
Where: Tally Johnson Field, Lawrenceville
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: Justice Haynes rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on five carries and caught a 48-yard pass. Dylan Wittke was a very efficient 7-of-8 passing for 164 yards and 2 TDs. The Wolves already have clinched the region title but are looking for their first undefeated regular season since 2014. The Black Knights have been eliminated from the playoffs.
What to watch for: Justice Haynes. The Buford Sr. RB became just the 7th player in history to surpass the 7,000-yard plateau last week. He sits at 7,104 yards for his career. With a big game tonight, he could move into 6th place, currently held by Eddie Dixon of Emanuel County Institute (1980-83), who finished with 7,322 yards.


CHESTATEE at WALNUT GROVE
Records: War Eagles (2-7, 2-5 Region 8-4A); Warriors (7-2, 5-2 Region 8-4A)
Last week: Chestatee beat East Forsyth, 32-28; Walnut Grove beat Madison County, 25-22.
Where: Warriors Stadium, Walnut Grove
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: Chestatee leads the series 3-0. This is the first meeting since 2013. The Warriors’ win last week gave them the most wins in a season in program history and clinched their first postseason since 2016. The War Eagles have been eliminated but knocked East Forsyth out of the playoffs last week. Walnut Grove can clinch its first-ever home playoff game with a win. However, Chestatee can throw another huge monkey wrench in the final standings if they can knock off the Warriors. The War Eagles’ Elijah Pruitt was everywhere on defense last week. The senior DB had 26 total tackles and broke up 3 passes.
What to watch for: The Chestatee offense vs. the Warriors defense. After averaging just 16.6 ppg over the first 6 games, the War Eagles have averaged 30.6 ppg over their past 3 games behind So. QB Josh Kermode (1,796 yards, 11 TD), which is good for 4th now in Class 4A. Walnut Grove has given up 21.7 ppg in region play.


EASTSIDE at JEFFERSON
Records: Eagles (6-3, 3-2 Region 8-5A); Dragons, ranked 6th in Class 5A (7-2, 5-0 Region 8-5A)
Last week: Eastside beat Winder-Barrow, 30-14; Jefferson beat Heritage-Conyers, 49-6
Where: Memorial Stadium, 
Radio: WDUN AM 550
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. The Dragons already have clinched the region title. Eastside is fighting for one of the final 2 playoffs spots. A loss and a Winder-Barrow win over Clarke Central would send it to a 3-way tiebreaker. Jefferson’s Max Aldridge had a huge game last week going 6-of-8 passing for 167 yards and 2 TDs.
What to watch for: The Jefferson defense vs. the Eagles offense. The Dragons are 5th overall in 5A in defense allowing just 11.4 ppg. They have surrendered just 19 points (3.8 ppg) in region play. Eastside is averaging 25.6 ppg in region play behind RB Kenai Grier, who leads the region in rushing in yards (1,212) and TDs (16).


HERITAGE, CONYERS at FLOWERY BRANCH
Records: Patriots (2-7, 0-5 Region 8-5A); Falcons (2-7, 0-5 Region 8-5A)
Last week: Heritage-Conyers lost to Jefferson 49-6; Flowery Branch lost 31-22 to Loganville
Where: Falcons Field, Flowery Branch
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: Flowery Branch leads the series 5-1. The two teams’ were region foes from 2010-15. The lone Patriots’ win came in 2014. Both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs and the loser of this game will clinch last place in the region.
What to watch for: The Heritage defense vs. the Branch offense. The Patriots have allowed the 4th-most points in 5A (380, 42.2 ppg). However, the Falcons are averaging just 15.4 ppg. Heritage is averaging just 10.3 ppg on the season.


JACKSON COUNTY at GAINESVILLE
Records: Panthers (3-6, 2-3 Region 8-6A); Red Elephants, ranked 5th in Class 6A (9-0, 5-0 Region 8-6A)
Last week: Jackson County was off; Gainesville beat North Forsyth, 34-21
Where: City Park Stadium, Gainesville
Radio: 94.5 The Lake
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: Gainesville leads the series 3-1. This is the first meeting between the two teams since 1997, a 21-17 win for Jackson County in Jefferson. Gainesville already has clinched the region title and the Panthers were eliminated last week. The Red Elephants are looking for their first undefeated regular season since 2009.
What to watch for: The Gainesville offense vs. the Panthers defense. Jackson County has been close all season leading at the half in 7 of its 9 games. The Panthers defense is allowing just 19.6 ppg, which is top 20 in 6A, while the Gainesville offense is averaging 39.8 ppg in region play.


LAKEVIEW ACADEMY at LOGANVILLE CHRISTIAN
Records: Lions (5-4, 1-2 GIAA Region 4-3A); Lions (2-7, 1-2 GIAA Region 4-3A)
Last week: Lakeview Academy lost 56-36 to George Walton Academy; Loganville Christian beat Riverside Preparatory, 21-12.
Where: Loganville
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. Lakeview currently sits in the 10th and final playoff spot for the upcoming GIAA playoffs, which uses power rankings. A win should help their position. A win would most likely knock them out of any playoff contention. 
What to watch for:  The Lakeview offense vs. the Loganville defense. Lakeview is averaging 37.0 ppg over its last 4 games. Loganville Christian is yielding 33.4 ppg on defense.


LANIER CHRISTIAN at CHEROKEE CHRISTIAN
Records: Lightning (7-2, 1-1 GAPPS Region 1-2A); Warriors (7-2, 2-0 GAPPS Region 1-2A)
Last week: Lanier Christian won by forfeit over Walker; Cherokee Christian beat Pinecrest Academy, 27-10.
Where: Woodstock
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. Both offenses and both defenses are in the top three in GAPPS. All four teams in the region will make the playoffs but the Lightning can force a 3-way tie for the region title with a win.
What to watch for: The LCA offense vs. the Cherokee Christian defense. The Lightning lead GAPPS with 410 points (51.25 ppg) while the Warriors have given up just 24 points (8.0 ppg) in GAPPS region play.


MADISON COUNTY at EAST HALL
Records: Red Raiders (5-4, 4-3 Region 8-4A); Vikings (2-7, 0-7 Region 8-4A)
Last week: Madison County lost 25-22 to Walnut Grove; East Hall lost 83-0 to North Oconee
Where: East Hall Stadium, Rabbittown
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: Madison County leads the series 4-0. This is the 3rd straight year the two teams have played. The Red Raiders have qualified for the playoffs while the Vikings have been eliminated. However, Madison County can still finish 2nd in the region with a win and a Chestatee win over Walnut Grove. The Vikings loss last week tied a program record for worst loss. They also lost 83-0 to Commerce in 1966.
What to watch for: The Madison County offense vs. the Vikings defense. East Hall has given up the 3rd-most points in 4A (385, 42.7 ppg). The Red Raiders are averaging 28.6 ppg.


MIDTOWN at JOHNSON
Records: Grey Knights (5-4, non-region); Johnson (0-9, non-region)
Last week: Midtown lost 22-0 to Stone Mountain; Johnson lost 8-6 to Clarkston
Where: Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, Oakwood
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. A missed 2-point conversion was the difference last week for the Knights. Midtown is 5-0 when scoring. Their 4 losses have all been by shutout. Johnson is giving up 31.5 ppg on defense.
What to watch for: Can Johnson snap its 31-game losing streak?


NORTH FORSYTH at APALACHEE
Records: Raiders (6-3, 4-1 Region 8-6A); Wildcats (0-9, 0-5 Region 8-6A)
Last week: North Forsyth lost 34-21 to Gainesville; Apalache lost 28-14 to Habersham Central
Where: R. Harold Harrison Stadium, Bethlehem
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. The Raiders have clinched the No. 2 seed while the Wildcats have been eliminated from the playoffs. 
What to watch for: Will the Raiders rebound from their disappointing loss to Gainesville after giving up a 21-7 lead in the second half? The Wildcats have scored the 3rd-fewest points in 6A (84, 9.3 ppg).


NORTH HALL at EAST FORSYTH
Records: Trojans (3-6, 3-4 Region 8-4A); Broncos (5-4, 3-4 Region 8-4A)
Last week: North Hall lost 28-14 to Cedar Shoals; East Forsyth lost 32-28 to Chestatee
Where: Half-Mile High Stadium, Gainesville
Radio: 102.9 FM WDUN
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. Both teams were knocked out of the playoffs last week. The Broncos can secure their first-ever winning season with a win. The Trojans, after an 0-3 start, have gone 3-3 since and are 2-2 on the road. Jr. RB Tate Ruth had a career-high 212 yards rushing last week. East Forsyth is just 1-2 in its last three home games.
What to watch for: The North Hall offense vs. the Broncos defense. After yielding just 34 points and leading Class 4A in defense through their first 6 games (5.7 ppg) the Broncos have given up 122 points (40.6 ppg) over their last 3 games. The Trojans are averaging 33.6 ppg in region road games.


NORTH OCONEE at CHEROKEE BLUFF
Records: Titans, ranked No. 2 (9-0, 7-0 Region 8-4A); Bears (3-6, 3-4 Region 8-4A)
Last week: North Oconee beat East Hall, 83-0; Cherokee Bluff was off.
Where: Yonah Field, Flowery Branch
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. Before the season began, this was thought to be the possible region title showdown. Instead, the Titans have clinched the Region 8-4A title while the Bears were eliminated from the playoffs last week.
What to watch for: The North Oconee defense vs. the Bears offense. The Titans lead Class 4A in defense, allowing just 45 points (5.0 ppg). Bluff is averaging 32.0 ppg in its 3 region wins and just 15.75 ppg in its 4 region losses. For good measure, the Titans also lead 4A in scoring (417, 46.3 ppg).


PROVIDENCE CHRISTIAN at BANKS COUNTY
Records: Storm (2-7, 0-4 Region 8-2A); Leopards (4-5, 0-4 Region 8-2A)
Last week: Providence Christian lost 41-34 to East Jackson; Banks County lost 42-7 to Fellowship Christian
Where: Leopards Stadium, Homer
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: First-ever meeting between the two programs. Both teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. A Banks County win would give the Leopards their first non-losing season since 2016. However, after a 4-0 start it has been a tough finish. RB Andrew Shockley has had a tremendous season (1,156 yards, 13 TD) sitting in the top four in Class 2A and just outside of the top 20 in the state, all classes.
What to watch for: The Providence offense vs. the Leopards defense. The Storm is averaging 26.75 ppg in region play while the Leopards have given up the most points in 8-2A (209, 52.25 ppg).


SHILOH at HABERSHAM CENTRAL
Records: Generals (4-5, 3-2 Region 8-6A); Raiders (3-6, 1-4 Region 8-6A)
Last week: Shiloh beat Lanier, 28-22; Habersham Central beat Apalache, 28-14.
Where: Raider Stadium, Mt. Airy
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: The series is tied 1-1. This is the 3rd straight season the two teams have played with the road team winning both games. The Generals already have clinched a playoff spot while the Raiders were eliminated last week.
What to watch for: Both teams are looking to finish the regular season strong. The Generals have won 3 of their last 4 over the past month while Hab Central is trying to close out the season with two wins.


TOWNS COUNTY at LINCOLN COUNTY
Records: Indians (3-6, 1-3 Region 8-A Division 2); Red Devils, ranked 10th in Class A division 2 (7-2, 4-0 Region 8-A Division 2)
Last week: Towns County lost 29-6 to Washington-Wilkes; Lincoln County beat Warren County 35-0.
Where: Buddy Bufford Field, Lincolnton
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: Lincoln County won the only meeting between the two teams in 2021, 43-12, in Lincolnton. The Red Devils already have clinched the region title and the Indians have been eliminated from the playoffs.
What to watch for: Towns County has scored the fewest points in 8-A D2 (140, 15.5 ppg) while the Red Devils have given up just 59 points (14.75 ppg) in region play.


WEST HALL at LUMPKIN COUNTY
Records: Spartans (1-8, 0-5 Region 7-3A); Indians (7-2, 4-2 Region 7-3A)
Last week: West Hall lost 45-0 to Wesleyan; Lumpkin County lost 38-10 to Dawson County
Where: The Burial Grounds, Dahlonega
Radio: www.northgeorgiasportslink.com
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: West Hall leads the series 12-5. The Spartans have won 6 straight. The last Lumpkin County win came in 2011 in Oakwood. The Spartans have been eliminated from the playoffs but it is a huge game for the Indians. They are part of four teams fighting for the final three playoff spots. A loss could deny them their first postseason since 2014. A win and a Pickens win over Wesleyan would give them the No. 2 seed. 
What to watch for: The Lumpkin County offense vs. the Spartans defense. Despite their lowest output of the season last week, the Indians are still 6th in Class 3A in scoring (317, 35.2 ppg). West Hall is in the bottom seven in 3A in defense giving up 36.7 ppg.


WHITE COUNTY at GILMER
Records: Warriors (1-8, 0-5 Region 7-3A); Bobcats (1-8, 0-5 Region 7-3A)
Last week: White County lost 48-28 to Pickens; Gilmer was off
Where: Huff-Mosley Stadium, Ellijay
Radio: 93.9 FM WRWH
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The Statisticals: White County leads the series 24-13. The Warriors have won 7 straight and 8 of the last 9 meetings going back to 2002. The Bobcats only win in that span came in 2003 in Cleveland. The Warriors have been eliminated but the Bobcats are still alive for one of the three remaining playoff spots. Gilmer comes in with a 3-game losing streak and White County has lost 2 straight. Defense has been the issue for White County, giving up 104 points (52.0 ppg) in their last two games. Offense has been the issue for the Bobcats. After scoring 197 points in their first 6 games (32.8 ppg), they have scored just 45 points (15.0 ppg) during their 3-game losing streak.
What to watch for: The White County offense vs. the Bobcats defense. The Warriors have piled up 119 points in their last 3 games (39.6 ppg) while Gilmer has surrendered 75 points during the losing streak after giving up just 95 total points (15.8 ppg) in their first 6 games.

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