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Football: Preview of Week 8's matchups
Casey Gunn
Denmark wide receiver Casey Gunn, right, stiff-arms a West Hall defender last week during the Danes' 49-0 win. - photo by David Roberts

Denmark at Blessed Trinity

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Blessed Trinity in Roswell.

Records, rankings: Denmark is 5-0 and ranked No. 9 in Class 4A; Blessed Trinity is 4-1 and ranked No. 5 in Class 4A.

Series history: Blessed Trinity leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Blessed Trinity won 47-6 in 2018.

What to know: This is it: the game that will determine whether Denmark is ready to compete in a particularly difficult Region 7-4A. Denmark ran roughshod through its first five games of the season, with its most recent victory coming last week when the Danes scorched West Hall 49-0. Blessed Trinity, a back-to-back state champion, had little trouble through the first half of its season, the only slip up coming last month when the Titans lost 13-10 to Woodward Academy. Denmark lost 47-6 to Blessed Trinity last season, but the Titans are missing several players off that team, including their top passer, rusher, receiver, and their top two tacklers. Running back Steele Chambers is at Ohio State and linebacker J.D. Bertrand enrolled at Notre Dame. Denmark, meanwhile, has improved markedly, as quarterback Aaron McLaughlin is 62-of-106 passing for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns, wide receiver Ze'Vian Capers has 22 receptions for 565 yards and seven touchdowns, and running back Jordan Brunson is averaging more than 11 yards per carry. Denmark's defense has shut out four opponents this season, giving up just 24 points in five games. Harrison Halder leads the Danes with 30 total tackles, while Arthur Marsden owns a team-high six sacks.

North Forsyth at Forsyth Central

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

Records, rankings: North Forsyth is 3-2 and unranked in Class 7A; Forsyth Central is 3-1 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: North Forsyth leads 10-7.

Last meeting: Forsyth Central won 24-20 in 2018.

What to know: North Forsyth running back Jared Lucero comes into the game leading Forsyth County in rushing, totaling 483 yards and two touchdowns on 78 carries. Lucero, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, is averaging 9.2 yards per carry in North's past two games, which includes a 231-yard performance against Kennesaw Mountain. Forsyth Central might be Lucero's biggest challenge, though, as the Bulldogs' defense is stout up front, evidenced by its 33 tackles for loss this season. Defensive end Alex Szakacs leads the unit with five tackles for loss, including a team-high four sacks. Linebacker Branden Redecker leads the team with 24 total tackles. North's offense will likely get a big boost when wide receiver Nicky Dalmolin returns. Dalmolin, a Duke commit, was held out of North's 14-13 loss to Woodstock with a shoulder injury. Central is running its flexbone offense to near perfection, scoring 98 points in wins against Lakeside-DeKalb and Clarkston. In fact, Central punter Ty Sherman has attempted one punt since Sept. 6. While quarterback Bronson Landreth leads the team with 415 rushing yards, Caydin Mowen and two-way starter Jake Bretz are threats on the outside. North's defense features linebacker Jack Tucker, who is among the county leaders with 36 stops and five tackles for loss, and defensive back Jumel Lewis, who owns three interceptions.

Lambert at South Forsyth

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

Records, rankings: Lambert is 0-4 and unranked in Class 7A; South Forsyth is 3-2 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: Lambert leads 5-4.

Last meeting: South Forsyth won 27-10 in 2018.

What to know: A reeling Lambert team opens Region 5-7A team play against South Forsyth, which appears to be one of the tougher teams in the region. Big plays have doomed the Longhorns in their four losses, including recently during a 43-6 loss to Lanier when Lambert allowed two players to pile up 276 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries. South Forsyth's offense thrives on big plays, including halfback and wide receiver passes. The War Eagles' trio of wide receivers — Colby Cruz, Devin McGlockton and Cameron Schurr — have caught 72 passes for 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Additionally, Schurr is 2-for-3 passing for 132 yards and a score, while wide receiver Gavin Morris completed his only attempt, a 52-yard touchdown. Tre Green has been steady at running back for South, racking up 281 yards and eight touchdowns on 78 carries. Linebackers Alec Stephens and Keegan Toner have combined for 54 total tackles and 11 tackles for loss. Lambert had little trouble scoring points in its first two games of the season — 42-19 loss to Wheeler and 46-28 loss to Chattahoochee — but have gone cold recently. Sophomore wide receiver Kojo Antwi has impressed in the Longhorns' passing game, leading the team with 323 yards and two scores on a team-high 23 receptions. 

Milton at West Forsyth

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

Records, rankings: Milton is 2-3 and ranked No. 12 in Class 7A; West Forsyth is 1-3 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: West Forsyth leads 3-2.

Last meeting: Milton won 41-0 in 2018.

What to know: Former West Forsyth head coach Adam Clack returns to The Den for the second time since taking over at Milton. Clack is 2-0 against West, owning a 17-13 win in 2017 and a 41-0 blowout last season. For the second straight season, senior Drew Southern will start his first game of the season at quarterback against Milton after taking over for an injured Blake Whitfield. Southern, who will also start at safety, was 8-of-16 passing for 74 yards two weeks ago in a 19-9 loss to McCallie (Tenn.). Milton replaced quarterback Jordan Yates, who is enrolled at Georgia Tech, in the offseason. Milton has employed a two-quarterback offense this season, featuring senior Jackson Weaver and dual-threat sophomore Devin Farrell. Stopping Farrell and the rest of Milton’s offense will be critical for a West defense that faced a similar dual-threat quarterback in its last game against McCallie. One reason the Wolverines had success limiting McCallie’s offense is linebacker Eli Orr, who made 13 total tackles in the loss and owns 47 stops this season. Orr also has four of West’s 19 tackles for loss, and the Wolverines’ secondary has picked off four passes this season.

Pinecrest Academy at Mount Pisgah

When, where: 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mount Pisgah Christian School in Johns Creek.

Records, rankings: Pinecrest is 0-5 and unranked in Class 1A Private; Mount Pisgah is 1-5 and unranked in Class 1A Private.

Series history: Mount Pisgah leads 5-4.

Last meeting: Pinecrest won 21-10 in 2018.

What to know: Pinecrest lost 50-21 last week to Mount de Sales but managed to outscore the Cavaliers 21-14 in the second half. Quarterback Bryce Balthaser was 6-of-13 passing for 182 yards and all three touchdowns in the loss, including a pair of scores to Ethan Massey in the third quarter. Pinecrest has beaten Mount Pisgah in three of the past four games, including a 21-10 last year. Mount Pisgah has struggled this season after losing its top offensive contributor, Connor Norwood, to graduation. Norwood led the Patriots in passing and rushing. This might be Pinecrest's best chance to win a game and establish momentum, with games at St. Francis and Mount Paran Christian looming.