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Football: Preview of Week 2 matchups
Caleb Bowen 08-25-22
North Forsyth senior Caleb Bowen gets past a North Atlanta defender during the Corky Kell Classic Aug. 18 at West Forsyth. Bowen and the Raiders will make the short trip to face rival Forsyth Central this week. (Photo by Robin Patterson)

Our picks for the week!

Cambridge at Denmark

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Denmark High in Alpharetta

Records, rankings: Cambridge is 1-0 and ranked No. 9 in Class 5A; Denmark is 0-1 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: Denmark looked set to go toe-to-toe with Roswell in its season opener. Then, Danes starting quarterback Jacob Nelson — who had looked much improved in the team’s scrimmage and in the early stages against the Hornets — left with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder area. After that, Roswell pulled away, as Denmark tried to keep up with a converted wide receiver at quarterback. Nelson’s health could go a long way in determining whether or not the Danes are able to knock off the Bears, who enter as the No. 9 team in Class 5A. Cambridge’s offensive line earned recognition from the Georgia High School Football Daily newsletter following its Week 1 performance in a 28-0 win over Creekview. In the victory, Christian Isibor totaled 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts. Quarterback Preston Clemmer added 108 yards on 10 carries.

Seckinger at East Forsyth

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Half-Mile Stadium in Gainesville

Records, rankings: Seckinger is 0-1 and unranked in Class 4A; East Forsyth is 0-0 and unranked in Class 4A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: East Forsyth will be entering its second season of existence when it opens the season this week. However, the Broncos still will be the more experienced team in the matchup, as they will be hosting first-year program Seckinger. The newest high school for Gwinnett County Public Schools, Seckinger is coming off a 60-0 rude welcome by Peachtree Ridge in its first-ever game last week. East Forsyth can empathize with Seckinger after a rough debut campaign, but the Broncos showed much improvement in their preseason scrimmage. They will hope to carry that over into a meeting with the Jaguars, who are technically in the same region as East Forsyth but can’t play an official league schedule this season.

Johnson Ferry Christian at Fideles Christian

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Joint Venture Park in Cumming

Series history: Johnson Ferry Christian leads 2-0

Last meeting: Johnson Ferry Christian won 55-14 in 2021

What to know: Similarly to East Forsyth, Fideles Christian got an extra week to prepare for its season-opening game. Then again, Johnson Ferry Christian is coming off a bye, as well. The Rangers and Saints have met in each of the past two seasons, and neither time has gone particularly well for the locals. Johnson Ferry Christian, which is based out of Marietta, won 50-12 in 2020 and 55-14 last season. The Saints took a big step forward last year, starting 11-0 before a loss to Covenant Academy in the GAPPS playoffs. Fideles, meanwhile, will be looking to get an early jump on its postseason hopes with a win in the Region 1-2A matchup.

North Forsyth at Forsyth Central

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bulldog Stadium in Cumming

Records, rankings: North Forsyth is 0-1 and unranked in Class 6A; Forsyth Central is 1-0 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: North Forsyth leads 12-8

Last meeting: North Forsyth won 23-0 in 2021

What to know: There is a wide range of possible outcomes for the first intra-county matchup of the season. That being said, it seems unlikely that history will repeat itself after North Forsyth earned a shutout win in 2021. That’s not to say the Raiders can’t win, because they certainly possess plenty of talent on both sides of the ball — including two-way standout Collin Miller, who scored three touchdowns last week in a 31-27 loss to North Atlanta. It has more to do with Forsyth Central — which put forth an extremely impressive performance in a 44-21 triumph over Chattahoochee, highlighted by Jayce Todaro’s four touchdown runs. Being at home this time around will give the Bulldogs a chance to keep pace with the Raiders, which could lead to a meeting much more similar to the teams’ 2018-20 matchups that were decided by a total of six points.

Dawson County at Lambert

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at The Horn in Cumming

Records, rankings: Dawson County is 1-0 and unranked in Class 3A; Lambert is 1-0 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: Sid Maxwell served as the first head football coach at Lambert. spending five years at the Suwanee-based school. Prior to that, Maxwell spent 15 seasons at Sequoyah — Lambert’s Week 1 opponent. Since leaving the Longhorns, Maxwell has led Dawson County for eight years. He has won two-thirds of his games with the Tigers, including a 28-20 triumph over Jackson County in their 2022 season opener. Dawson County has reached the second round of the playoffs — but advanced no further — in each of the past five seasons. Lambert is coming off an extremely impressive season opener, routing aforementioned Sequoyah by a 41-14 margin. The Longhorns’ rushing attack churned out yardage, with senior James Tyre, junior Ethan Terry and sophomore Tommy Lafayette accounting for five total rushing touchdowns.

Calvary Christian at Pinecrest

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Pinnacle Field in Cumming

Records: Calvary Christian is 0-1; Pinecrest is 1-0

Series history: Pinecrest leads 1-0

Last meeting: Pinecrest won 42-18 in 2021

What to know: Pinecrest faced a stiff test in its 2022 debut. A pair of defensive touchdowns provided the bulk of the Paladins’ points in a 21-0 victory over Notre Dame Academy, a team Pinecrest crushed 49-12 last season. The offense, which produced its lone touchdown on a short run by senior Brock Barbee, will look to take a step forward this week. The Paladins didn’t play poorly on offense last week, but they certainly left points on the field due to a few too many negative plays. Calvary Christian scored more points than Pinecrest did last week. However, the Knights didn’t manage a shutout on defense — far from it, in fact. Playing an admittedly strong Cherokee Christian program, Calvary, which is located in Columbus, dropped its Week 1 contest by a 51-27 final score.

South Forsyth at Harrison

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Cobleigh Stadium in Kennesaw

Records, rankings: South Forsyth is 1-0 and unranked in Class 7A; Harrison is 0-1 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: It’s hard to decide which side of the ball put together a more noteworthy performance — despite being shorthanded — in South Forsyth’s 28-0 win over Lanier to begin the season. Even though he was without two of his top receivers, Ty Watkins threw three touchdown passes. Two went to James Margiotta, with the other being a game-changing 90-yarder to Dash Moore. Defensively, the team forced five turnovers. This week, the War Eagles will start an extremely long road swing. South Forsyth’s contest at Harrison, which dropped a 28-20 decision to a top-10 ranked South Paulding side last week, is the first of four consecutive games outside of War Eagle Stadium. Add in open dates in Week 4 and Week 7, and Troy Morris’ group won’t be back at home until its Region 6-7A opener against Milton on Oct. 7.

Marietta at West Forsyth

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wolverine Stadium in Cumming

Records, rankings: Marietta is 0-1 and unranked in Class 7A; West Forsyth is 1-0 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: An injury to starting running back Peyton Streko threatened to put West Forsyth in a tough spot against Archer last week in the Corky Kell Classic. But junior Ryder Stewart, who has been toting the ball for the Wolverines since his freshman season, looked every bit as good as his Air Force Academy committed teammate. Quarterback Jack Tomlinson also put together a solid first start, tossing touchdown passes to Henry Delp and Hunter Green. That being said, West Forsyth’s defense really stole the show in the win. Outside of a 2-minute drill touchdown allowed late in the first half, the Wolverines completely stymied the Tigers. Marietta, likewise, played in the Corky Kell Classic. However, the Blue Devils fell to Grayson by a 32-12 margin Saturday in Atlanta, meaning the Wolverines had two more days to prepare for this matchup.