Football: Previewing week one's matchups
South Forsyth wide receiver Ze’Vian Capers (23) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown catch Friday in the War Eagles’ scrimmage against Cherokee at home. - photo by Brian Paglia

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Horizon Christian Academy's Alex Dahlberg makes a catch before practice Monday, July 31, 2017. - photo by Micah Green
Lanier Christian at Horizon Christian

When, where: Friday, 5:30 p.m., at Warrior Field in Cumming

Records: Lanier Christian is 0-1 overall, 0-0 in Glory For Christ Football; Horizon is 0-0 and 0-0 in GICAA D-II North.

Last meeting: Horizon won 27-0 on Aug. 20, 2016.

What to know: The Warriors begin their fifth season under head coach Charles Wiggins with a game that might be closer to a glorified scrimmage. Lanier Christian plays in Glory For Christ Football, a league for teams comprised of players who homeschool. The Lightning went 1-7 overall and 0-4 in the GFC last season. Regardless, it’s a useful game for Horizon, particularly as it begins to see if it has the replacements for quarterback Jacob Grinstead and running back John Michael Booth on offense and linebacker Daniel Durnwald on defense. Both Wiggins and players have said it will have to be a more collective effort this season. Junior Jake McIntyre will step into Grinstead’s shoes, while defensive back Alex Dahlberg and linebackers Michael Gul and Jake Walker will lead the defense.

 

North Forsyth's Ben Bales
North Forsyth senior quarterback Ben Bales goes to throw during the Raiders' scrimmage against Gainesville Friday, Aug. 11, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

North Forsyth at Sequoyah

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Skip Pope Stadium in Canton.

Records, rankings: North is 0-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A; Sequoyah is 0-0 overall, 0-0 in 6-6A and unranked in Class 6A.

Series history: North leads 3-2.

Last meeting: North won 34-14 on Aug. 19, 2016.

What to know: It was against the Chiefs last year that the Robert Craft era for North Forsyth football got off to such an auspicious start, showcasing the new frenetic philosophy of the program as a whole. Nowhere was that more embodied than on offense, which had its ups and downs last season transitioning to a spread system. That unit is a source of optimism this year, with starters back at quarterback (Ben Bales), running back (Bryson Trigg), wide receiver (Charlie Aiken, Nicky Dalmolin), tight end (Clayton Bardall) and offensive line (Jeremy James). The defense has fewer starters back, among them leading tackler Honus Wagner and Robert Faulkner, but newcomers, like linebackers Chase and Evan Johnson, impressed in North’s scrimmage against Gainesville last week. They’ll face a Sequoyah team transitioning to a Wing-T offense in head coach James Teter’s ninth season. The Chiefs return quarterback Collier Pecht (1,289 yards, 8 TDs) and receiver Cole Jacobs (420 yards, 5 TDs) but lost their leading rusher and top three tacklers.

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Wide receiver Ryan Pontrelli is one of several returning playmakers for South Forsyth. - photo by Micah Green
 South Forsyth vs. Roswell

When, where: Friday, 5:30 p.m., at Parker H. Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta.

Records, rankings: South is 0-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 5-7A and unranked in Class 7A; Roswell is 0-0, 0-0 in Region 4 and ranked No. 2.

Series history: First meeting.

What to know: The War Eagles get their second chance in the prestigious Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic after last season’s 27-17 loss to Hillgrove at McEachern High School. This time the competition and stage are elevated. The War Eagles will play the first-ever game at Georgia State University’s new stadium that’s been converted out of Turner Field, the former home of the Atlanta Braves. And South will face Roswell, the two-time state runners-up, who is ranked No. 2 in Class 7A going into the season. The War Eagles might be getting the Hornets at a good time; they have 20 new starters and a new coaching staff, led by former Johns Creek head coach Matt Kemper. But Roswell’s talent isn’t depleted. Senior quarterback Cordell Littlejohn transferred in from Lincolnton, N.C., where he threw for 3,665 yards and 50 TDs last season. Littlejohn’s cousins, senior tight end Tyneil Hopper and junior cornerback Tyron Hopper, both have offers from Alabama.

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West Forsyth sophomore Eli Orr (58) makes a tackle in the Wolverines' scrimmage against Creekview Friday, August 11, 2017. - photo by Michael Chung
Woodstock at West Forsyth

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

Records, rankings: Woodstock is 0-0 overall, 0-0 in Region 4-7A and unranked in Class 7A; West is 0-0, 0-0 and unranked.

Series history: West leads 1-0.

Last meeting: West won 24-21 on Aug. 19, 2016.

What to know: The Shawn Cahill era begins for the Wolverines, and they get a worthy challenger in a Woodstock team that went 7-5 last year in head coach Brent Budde’s seventh season. Woodstock’s offense should again be dangerous with the return of quarterback Garrett Bass (2,239 yards, 26 TDs) and wide receivers Louis Hall (1,017 yards, 12 TDs) and Noah Firth (826 yards, 15 TDs). On defense, Woodstock returns all-state defensive lineman Latrell Bankston, who had 90 tackles and 12 sacks last season. Perhaps they’ll have the advantage of consistency in personnel and coaching in this game, but West impressed in its scrimmage against Creekview last week. West’s offense looked in capable hands with new quarterback Zach Burns working with Saxby Waxer, Stephon Bland, Cade Vela and Bryce Jones, and while Vela is also the expected leader on defense, Abraham Camara, Jake Cummings, Makhari Sibbs and Ryan Wnek made their presences known with big plays too.