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Football: Preview of Week 5 matchups
Luke Logan 09-15-22
Lambert's Luke Logan goes up for a catch during a win over Mountain View Sept. 2 at home. Logan and the undefeated Longhorns will head this week to Flowery Branch. (Photo by Kevin O'Brien)

Forsyth Sports Pick Em Week 5

Forsyth County Sports Football Picks for September 16, 2022

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Denmark at Pebblebrook

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Falcon Stadium in Mableton

Records, rankings: Denmark is 2-1 and unranked in Class 7A; Pebblebrook is 2-2 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: Denmark seems to have a flair for the dramatic, so if Pebblebrook wants to pick up a home win this week, the Falcons had better bury the Danes early. Pebblebrook need only ask fellow Cobb County program Harrison, as the Hoyas saw a 21-3 lead turn into a 25-21 defeat last week. If the Falcons need further proof, they can call up Cambridge. The Bears suffered an arguably even more frustrating loss to the Danes, who won on Hamilton DiBoyan's game-winning field goal as time expired in Week 2. When also including its season-opening setback versus Roswell, Denmark has started fairly slow in each game this year. As quarterback Kohl Yearwood gets more comfortable running the show, expect the Danes to continue to increase their point total. Denmark has scored 10, 17 and 25, respectively, in their first three contests.

East Forsyth at Johnson (Hall)

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium in Gainesville

Records, rankings: East Forsyth is 2-0 and unranked in Class 4A; Johnson is 0-3 and unranked in Class 4A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: This would have served as a Region 8-4A matchup, but Johnson opted to play a non-region schedule this season. It's easy to see why the Knights chose that route, given that they have lost each of their first three games. To its credit, Johnson has decreased its margin of defeat each week. After a 41-20 loss to Banks County, the Knights fell 23-7 versus West Hall before a 14-13 defeat against East Hall. Does that mean Johnson will get over the hump against East Forsyth? Not necessarily. East Hall, for instance, followed up that Sept. 2 loss to Johnson with a 44-12 defeat at the hands of Chestatee, which entered off a 34-7 setback at White County. The Broncos just so happened to play White County to a virtual stalemate in their preseason scrimmage. Does that mean East Forsyth will continue its only ever winning streak? Quite possibly.

Fideles Christian at Covington Academy

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday in Covington

Records: Fideles Christian is 2-1; Covington Academy is 0-2

Series history: Fideles Christian leads 1-0

Last meeting: Fideles Christian won 66-59 in 2021

What to know: This matchup will have a hard time living up to last year's meeting in which 125 total points were scored in the track meet, err, football game. The Rangers would seem to have an improved defense that should keep things from getting quite that wild. Facing an extremely tough King's Way Christian team two weeks ago, Fideles held the Crusaders to 42 points. It would seem unlikely that a Covington side that is averaging seven points per game and got shut out last week will put up more than King's Way (or anywhere close to it). Meanwhile, the Rangers offense appears to be high-octane enough to possibly run away in this matchup. Dual-threat quarterback Alex Tadros leads Fideles on the ground and through the air. If the junior manages to get in a groove, the Crusaders could be in for a long night.

Habersham Central at Forsyth Central

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

Records, rankings: Habersham Central is 1-2 and unranked in Class 6A; Forsyth Central is 1-2 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: Habersham Central leads 5-1

Last meeting: Habersham Central won 6-0 in 1991

What to know: Habersham Central has dominated this series. Than again, it's been more than three decades since the Raiders and Bulldogs have met on the gridiron. Habersham Central has had six different coaches since that 1991 meeting, while David Rooney represents the seventh new Forsyth Central leader since that most recent matchup. This time around, both teams will be looking to even their records following 1-2 starts. The Raiders sandwiched a win over White County between losses to Stephens County and Central Gwinnett. As for the Bulldogs, they opened the year with a convincing win against Chattahoochee. As it turned out, the Cougars weren't a very tough early test, at least not compared to North Forsyth and Etowah. Both of those sides scored 35 points against Forsyth Central, so slowing down Habersham Central's offense will be key.

Horizon Christian at Victory Baptist

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday in Loganville

Records: Horizon Christian is 1-2; Victory Baptist is 2-1

Series history: Horizon Christian leads 2-1

Last meeting: Horizon Christian won 41-6 in 2021

What to know: Besides both being called the Warriors, Horizon Christian and Victory Baptist have one major thing in common. Each team got walloped by King's Way Christian earlier this season, falling by extremely similar scorelines of 46-14 (Victory) and 46-12 (Horizon). Since losing to King's Way in its first game, Victory has pulled out narrow wins over Central Christian (22-19) and CrossPointe Christian (28-20). It's likely this week's matchup hinges on the health of Horizon quarterback Isaac Bealer. If the junior didn't get hurt in the second quarter against King's Way, Horizon would have certainly scored more than a dozen points and possibly kept itself in the game. Bealer played the whole game despite being hobbled, which bodes well for his availability this week. That being said, if he plays at less than 100%, Horizon could still find a way to win.

Lambert at Flowery Branch

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Falcon Field in Flowery Branch

Records, rankings: Lambert is 3-0 and unranked in Class 7A; Flowery Branch is 2-1 and unranked in Class 5A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: Lambert is averaging 39 points per game. Flowery Branch is allowing just over 21 points per game. Something's got to give when these two teams meet for the first time ever. The Falcons started off the season with a pair of impressive wins, albeit in polar opposite fashion. Flowery Branch followed up a 39-38 barnburner against Decatur with a 9-0 shutout of St. Pius X. The combination earned the Falcons the No. 7 spot in the AJC rankings, but a 27-11 loss to Stephens County sent them tumbling back out. Lambert is undefeated but has yet to get any love from the statewide polls. This will mark the first of four straight road games for the Longhorns. Following this week's trip, Lambert will close out non-region play at East Coweta. After a bye week, the Longhorns will head to Forsyth Central and West Forsyth for their first two Region 6-7A games.

North Forsyth at Jackson County

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Panther Stadium in Jefferson

Records, rankings: North Forsyth is 2-2 and unranked in Class 6A; Jackson County is 1-3 and unranked in Class 6A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: North Forsyth will join East Forsyth and Fideles Christian in being among the first local teams to play a region game, with its Region 8-6A opener set for this week at Jackson County. The Raiders will hope to follow the example of the Broncos and Rangers, who each won their first region contest of the year. After three overall positive performances to begin the season, North Forsyth suffered a shocking 35-7 loss last week at Creekview. On paper, the Panthers would appear to be a get-right opportunity, but the Raiders need to be careful not to overlook the hosts. Despite its record, Jackson County has found itself on the wrong side of three one-score games, falling to Dawson County (28-21), Central Gwinnett (17-13) and Mountain View (24-17). If North Forsyth is going to snap a mini two-year playoff drought, this week is a must-win game.

Pinecrest Academy at Skipstone Academy

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Big Bear Field in Griffin

Records: Pinecrest Academy is 2-1; Skipstone Academy is 2-0

Series history: First meeting

What to know: The week off seemed to do Pinecrest Academy a lot of good ahead of its 41-14 thrashing of Harvester Christian. Or it could have been the switch at quarterback that galvanized the Paladins. Freshman Jacob White made his first career start and helped guided Pinecrest to a 41-0 lead. White proved to be efficient behind center, taking advantage of running back Brock Barbee's ability to turn screen passes into big gains and finding tight end Luke Coury for a pair of touchdowns. Skipstone Academy will be an admittedly big step up in competition compared to winless Harvester. It's worth pointing out that Skipstone beat Harvester 36-0 on Sept. 2.

South Forsyth at Clarke Central

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Billy Henderson Stadium in Athens

Records, rankings: South Forsyth is 2-1 and unranked in Class 7A; Clarke Central is 1-2 and unranked in Class 5A

Series history: First meeting

What to know: South Forsyth will have spent its open date itching to put a gut-wrenching 7-6 loss to North Oconee in the rearview mirror. The War Eagles get the chance this week, heading again to the Athens area. This time, South Forsyth won't have to contend with one of the top teams in Class 4A. Instead, they will face Clarke Central, a three-time defending champion in Region 8-5A that has suffered a pair of tough losses recently. After defeating rival Cedar Shoals to begin the season, the Gladiators have suffered heavy defeats to Oconee County (33-9) and Gainesville (43-20). Granted, both of those opponents were ranked in the top 10, but Clarke Central was eighth in 5A, per the AJC, before the back-to-back losses. The big question for South Forsyth will be the availability of Chris and Josh Nelson, twin speedsters who have yet to play this season.

Cherokee at West Forsyth

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

Records, rankings: Cherokee is 1-3 and unranked in Class 7A; West Forsyth is 2-2 and unranked in Class 7A

Series history: West Forsyth leads 2-0

Last meeting: West Forsyth won 33-9 in 2011

What to know: Peyton Streko just ran for another touchdown while you read this sentence. Just kidding. Unless, you're reading this during the game, in which case it might be true. The West Forsyth senior ran behind an inspired offensive line to the tune of 327 yards and five touchdowns last week. It's probably not realistic for the Wolverines to expect that every week out of the Air Force Academy commit. Against Cherokee, it doesn't seem likely that Streko will need to carry as much of the offensive load. If early returns are any indication, the Warriors are a notch or two below where the program was from 2018-21, when Cherokee reached the playoffs each year. With the Warriors averaging under 20 points per game, it seems like the perfect chance for the Wolverines defense to bounce back after giving up five game-tying touchdown drives to Cambridge last week.