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Football: Preview of week three's games
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Students wait for the North Forsyth football team to take the field in the Raiders' scrimmage Friday, August 11, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

Forsyth Central at River Ridge

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Forsyth Central's football team runs makes their entrance before facing Dawson County on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

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

Records, rankings: Central is 0-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A; River Ridge is 2-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 6-6A and unranked in Class 6A.

Series history: Central leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Central won 31-21 in 2016.

What to know: Central’s 9-0 season-opening loss to Dawson County was a dose of good-news, bad-news. The good news: the Bulldogs’ defense didn’t break despite allowing 325 rushing yards. Central held Dawson to three field goals, and they may have found a new leader in junior Jackson Leak who had 14 tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble. The bad news: the Bulldogs struggled mightily on offense. Central had just 79 yards of total offense in the first half, and both its possessions in Dawson County territory ended in turnovers. Head coach Frank Hepler lamented afterward that he “handcuffed” the offense and “should’ve let them open it up early.” We’ll see if that changes against River Ridge. The Knights are off to a 2-0 start, although their wins have come against teams (Apalachee, Woodland-Cartersville) who went a combined 2-17-1 last season. 

Horizon Christian at Community Christian

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Horizon Christian's Brody Huntt (20) looks for room to run after making an interception against Lanier Christian on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

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

Records: Horizon is 0-2 overall and 0-0 in GICAA D-II North; Community is 2-0 overall and 0-0 in GICAA D-II East.

Last meeting: Community won 41-7 in 2016.

What to know: It’s been a markedly different start to the season for Horizon than last year. The Warriors lost 38-0 to Unity Prep Academy last week, a game they won 30-0 in 2016, and now they face a Community team the Warriors lost 41-7 to last season. Community is coming off a 45-36 victory against Bethlehem Christian in which it had 456 yards of total offense (168 passing, 288 rushing) and recovered three fumbles.

Lambert at Collins Hill 

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When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Fehring Field in Suwanee.

Records, rankings: Lambert 0-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A; Collins Hill is 1-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 6 and unranked.

Series history: Tied 1-1.

Last meeting: Lambert won 26-16 in 2016.

What to know: The Longhorns pulled out a minor milestone victory in this game last season – the program’s first win ever against a team from Gwinnett County. It was also a bit of revenge for Lambert from the teams’ previous meeting, a 35-13 loss at home in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Both teams are coming off losses to Gwinnett teams. Lambert struggled to finish drives and prevent the big play on defense in a 31-13 loss to Mountain View. Collins Hill’s new Wing-T offense under first-year head coach Lenny Gregory struggled in an 18-10 loss to Norcross, but the Eagles’ strength is their defense, led by Division I commits in linebacker T.C. Harrison (Virginia) and safety Peyton Woulard (Wake Forest).

Loganville at North Forsyth 

North Forsyth's Cedric Touchstone
North Forsyth's Cedric Touchstone turns after making a catch against Johns Creek on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Raider Valley in Coal Mountain.

Records, rankings: Loganville is 0-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 8-5A and unranked in Class 5A; North is 1-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: North leads 1-0.

Last meeting: North won 31-24 in 2016.

What to know: This game came down to the last seconds a year ago when North stopped Loganville on fourth-down at the Raiders’ 7-yard line to seal the win. Loganville proved to be a good Class 5A team, going 9-3 and reaching the second round of the state playoffs where it lost to Ware County, 35-19. The Red Devils got this season off to a rough start last week in a 24-14 loss to rival Monroe Area. Cornerback Donte Burton is one to watch for Loganville. The 6-foot, 175-pounder has 29 offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon and Virginia Tech. And Loganville will need a big game from Burton with Raiders quarterback Ben Bales coming off his record-breaking performance in last week’s 28-6 win against Johns Creek. Bales threw for a school-record 408 yards with three touchdowns. Wide receivers Nicky DalMolin (191 yards, 2 TDs) and Cedric Touchstone (120 yards, TD) both had big games.

Pinecrest Academy at Discovery

Pinecrest Academy's Nolan Stafford
Pinecrest Academy's Nolan Stafford sacks Holy Innocents' quarterback Friday, August 11, 2017, in the Paladins' scrimmage. - photo by Bill Brown

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

Records, rankings: Pinecrest is 0-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 6-1A and unranked in Class 1A; Discovery is 0-2 overall, 0-0 in Region 6-7A and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: Pinecrest leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Pinecrest won 28-7 in 2016.

What to know: This was a milestone victory for the Paladins last year as the first – and still only – Class 1A team to defeat a Class 7A team. It’s also Pinecrest’s second consecutive game against a team from the state’s highest classification after last week’s 56-10 loss at South Forsyth to open the season. It’s difficult to evaluate the Paladins based off that game. Pinecrest trailed 49-0 at the half against South and had negative-20 yards of offense. The War Eagles are a different caliber of 7A program than the Titans, who are going into just their second varsity season under head coach Efrem Hill since opening in 2015. Discovery’s 2-8 record last season was something of a moral victory considering it was thrust immediately into the throes of Region 6-7A with Gwinnett County powers like Collins Hill, North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge and Mill Creek.

Centennial at South Forsyth

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South Forsyth wide receiver Ryan Pontrelli jukes a Cherokee defender Friday in the War Eagles’ scrimmage against Cherokee at home. - photo by Brian Paglia

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

Records, rankings: Centennial is 0-1 overall, 0-0 in Region 7-6A and unranked in Class 6A; South is 2-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: South leads 6-1.

Last meeting: South won 56-21 in 2016.

What to know: The War Eagles won their fourth straight against the Knights last season in a game that was over by halftime. Centennial scored first, but South led 35-17 at the half and never looked back. The Knights figure to be a little different this time around. New head coach Michael Perry has a strong offensive pedigree. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Gainesville from 2011-15 where he worked with Deshaun Watson, the former Clemson quarterback now with the Houston Texans of the NFL. Max Brosmer is his quarterback now at Centennial, and they lost a heart-breaker, 42-38, last week against Wheeler on a touchdown pass in the final 10 seconds. Centennial also has former Northview running back Emeka Nwanze, a three-star prospect with offers from Maryland, North Carolina and Vanderbilt, among others, who transferred.