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Football: A look at 2018 Forsyth County high school schedules
North Forsyth's Honus Wagner
North Forsyth's Honus Wagner makes a tackle during the Raiders' game against Sequoyah during the 2016 season. - photo by Lily McGregor

The Georgia High School Association increased the number of classifications from six to seven starting in 2016 in large part to decrease the gap between the state’s largest school and the lowest in the class. The change left Class 7A with only 48 schools, down from 64 in the highest classification the previous school year, and in so doing created regions with fewer teams.

That had an especially significant impact on scheduling for football. Now, teams are forced to find far more non-region games than in past years.

But that’s also led to some compelling and entertaining match-ups. Most Forsyth County teams have taken the opportunity to schedule games against competitive programs to better prepare for the region schedule, when the games really count toward making the state playoffs.

With local teams finalizing their 2018 schedules, here are five of the best non-region games to look forward to next season. Only downside: four of the five are played out of county.

Aug. 17

West Forsyth at Camden County

The Wolverines will be on a road trip to open the season, travelling the 371 miles to Kingsland in coastal Georgia to play a Wildcats program that won state championships in 2003, 2008 and 2009 in the state’s highest classification. They’ve not been so dominant lately, going 5-14 the past two seasons, but second-year head coach Bob Sphire worked wonders at North Gwinnett from 2006 to 2016, going 110-28 with two state finals appearances. 

Aug. 24

South Forsyth at Blessed Trinity

The War Eagles will take on a Titans team that just won the Class 4A state championship under head coach Tim McFarlin, who also led Roswell to the 2006 Class 5A state title (the Hornets tied Peachtree Ridge, 14-14). It was Blessed Trinity’s first state championship in football, and they could be favored to win another next season with two of the state’s top prospects returning in four-star athlete Steele Chambers and Georgia-committed linebacker J.D. Bertrand.

Aug. 31

Hewitt-Trussville vs. West Forsyth

The Wolverines put off another long road-trip for a year and host the Huskies from Trussville, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. Hewitt-Trussville went 11-1 this past season and lost in the second round of the Class 7A state playoffs to eventual state champion Hoover. They’ll return two of Alabama’s top 10 prospects in Alabama-committed offensive lineman Pierce Quick (No. 2) and four-star quarterback Paul Tyson (No. 8). That should be a great test for a West defense that returns impact players like Abraham Camara, Jake Weldy, Mikhari Sibblis and others.

Sept. 7

Denmark at Forsyth Central

It’s hard to gauge how competitive this game will be; Denmark’s program will only be two games old, and the Bulldogs are coming off a winless season. But this game will be significant for the Danes and first-year head coach Terry Crowder as it will mark the first time the program faces another team in the county. Given the expected growth of the area around Denmark, it’s not a stretch to imagine the Danes joining Region 5-7A in a few years. The Danes and Bulldogs can be considered official rivals then. 

Sept. 21

South Forsyth at Hillgrove

This will be a rematch of the War Eagles’ 2016 Corky Kell Classic debut, a 27-14 loss to the Hawks played at McEachern’s Cantrell Stadium. Hillgrove will return Jaylen McCollough, a top-100 national prospect who torched West Forsyth as a running back this past season. It will be South’s final non-region game; by this time, we’ll know how much, if any, the opening of Denmark will have affected the War Eagles.

Denmark

Aug. 17 Open

Aug. 24 vs. Cherokee Bluff

Aug. 31 at North Springs

Sept. 7 at Forsyth Central

Sept. 14 vs. Dawson County

Sept. 21 at Chestatee*

Sept. 28 vs. West Hall*

Oct. 5 vs. Blessed Trinity*

Oct. 12 at Marist*

Oct. 19 vs. White County*

Oct. 26 Open

Nov. 2 at Flowery Branch*

Forsyth Central

Aug. 17 vs. Chamblee

Aug. 24 Open

Aug. 31 vs. Cass

Sept. 7 vs. Denmark

Sept. 14 at Lakeside-DeKalb

Sept. 21 at Clarkston

Sept. 28 Open

Oct. 5 at North Forsyth*

Oct. 12 vs. West Forsyth*

Oct. 19 at Milton*

Oct. 26 vs. South Forsyth*

Nov. 2 at Lambert*

Lambert

Aug. 17 vs. Wheeler

Aug. 24 vs. Chattahoochee

Aug. 31 at Gainesville

Sept. 7 at Peachtree Ridge

Sept. 14 Open

Sept. 21 vs. Lanier

Sept. 28 Open

Oct. 5 vs. South Forsyth*

Oct. 12 at North Forsyth*

Oct. 19 at West Forsyth*

Oct. 26 at Milton*

Nov. 2 vs. Forsyth Central*

North Forsyth

Aug. 17 vs. Cherokee

Aug. 24 at Gainesville

Aug. 31 vs. Northview

Sept. 7 Open

Sept. 14 at Kennesaw Mountain

Sept. 21 at Woodstock

Sept. 28 Open

Oct. 5 vs. Forsyth Central*

Oct. 12 vs. Lambert*

Oct. 19 at South Forsyth*

Oct. 26 at West Forsyth*

Nov. 2 vs. Milton*

Pinecrest Academy

Aug. 24 vs. Fellowship Christian*

Aug. 31 vs. Mount De Sales

Sept. 7 at Athens Christian

Sept. 14 at Whitefield Academy*

Sept. 21 at Walker*

Sept. 28 Open

Oct. 5 vs. Mount Pisgah*

Oct. 12 vs. St. Francis*

Oct. 19 at King’s Ridge*

Oct. 26 vs. Mount Paran*

Nov. 2 Region crossover*

South Forsyth

Aug. 17 at Sprayberry

Aug. 24 at Blessed Trinity

Aug. 31 vs. Etowah

Sept. 7 vs. South Gwinnett

Sept. 14 Open

Sept. 21 at Hillgrove

Sept. 28 Open

Oct. 5 at Lambert*

Oct. 12 vs. Milton*

Oct. 19 vs. North Forsyth*

Oct. 26 at Forsyth Central*

Nov. 2 vs. West Forsyth*

West Forsyth

Aug. 17 at Camden County

Aug. 24 Open

Aug. 31 vs. Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.)

Sept. 7 vs. Roswell

Sept. 14 at Peachtree Ridge

Sept. 21 at McCallie (Tenn.)

Sept. 28 Open

Oct. 5 at Milton*

Oct. 12 at Central*

Oct. 19 vs. Lambert*

Oct. 26 vs. North*

Nov. 2 at South*

*Region games