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Prep football Week 4 previews
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Forsyth County News

At first glance, it might seem like Friday night should be smooth sailing for Forsyth's football programs.

The county's four public high schools are taking on teams with a combined record of 1-10 in the fourth week of the season, but a closer look shows that all four opponents could prove formidable despite their struggles so far this year.

Forsyth Central has had a short week to prepare for tonight's home game with Stone Mountain, after playing on Saturday against Southwest DeKalb.

The Pirates will come in with an 0-3 record, and a lack of scoring has bedeviled Stone Mountain through three games. The defense has kept things from getting out of hand in all but one of them, though, the exception being a 45-13 loss to Marist two weeks ago.

Central coach Chris Bennett says the Pirates are athletic, but he thinks the Bulldogs have had a great week of practice after a 42-0 loss on Saturday. At 1-1 in Region 6-AAAA, Central needs a win tonight to stay on the right side of the region standings.

"We do a leadership meeting during practice time two days a week with all of our kids and it is going very well,"  Bennett said. "Our 'word' for the week is mental toughness and we need that in this region."

South Forsyth is also looking to rebound after a shutout, having lost 35-0 to North Gwinnett last week.

War Eagle coach Wendell Early says that despite that result, his club is looking better, crediting the team's line play last Friday.

"Sometimes when you go through that kind of a game, you can't find much to celebrate about, but we have definitely gotten better in some aspects of the game and are excited about our game this week," Early said.

South will be on the road against Chattahoochee tonight, and while the Cougars haven't won a game this year, they're not very far from having a 2-1 record as opposed to 0-3. The Cougars lost a shootout to Milton in their opening game, 51-49, and fell 20-16 to Collins Hill last week.

Early says Chattahoochee is well-coached and balanced, with talented players on offense and a big, mobile defense.

"It'll be quite a challenge for us and a great test to see if we are indeed getting better," the coach said.

North Forsyth travels to Suwanee for a date with Peachtree Ridge tonight. While the Lions are just 1-2 coming in, it's hard to forget that Peachtree Ridge is just two years removed from a state title.

The Lions have also stared down some pretty good competition to start the season, including defending Class AAAAA state champ Lowndes, so some blemishes on the record aren't really a shock.

North has already improved its win total from the last two seasons at 2-1, but coach Jared Zito says this game will let his players see where they stand in comparison to the rest of Region 7-AAAAA.

"We executed our best game vs. Duluth [last Friday] and we hope to continue getting better and execute to the best of our ability," Zito said.

"[The Lions] are well-coached with very good athletes, so we will have to control the football, not turn the ball over and keep them from hitting the big play. Our guys have been pretty focused and practiced well so far this week."

Over at West Forsyth, coach Frank Hepler thinks his Wolverines will meet their toughest challenge so far this year when they host the Creekview Grizzlies from Cherokee County.

Despite being 0-2, the Grizzlies have clawed to the end every time out, losing games to Sequoyah and Flowery Branch by a total of three points, including a double overtime thriller against county rival Sequoyah.

West is still unbeaten, but Hepler is taking nothing for granted with the Grizzlies, who like the Wolverines joined Region 7-AAA just this season.

"I think this will be a tough game for us. We will find out this week where we are in our progress as a program. The players feel the same way," Hepler said.