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Football: Preview of Week 12's matchups
Ze'Vian Capers
Denmark senior Ze'Vian Capers high-steps into the end zone Oct. 4 during a 49-0 win against West Hall. Photo by Jay Rooney

Lambert at Forsyth Central

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

Records, rankings: Lambert is 0-8 an unranked in Class 7A; Forsyth Central is 3-5 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: Lambert leads 4-1.

Last meeting: Forsyth Central won 28-27 in 2018.

What to know: Three of Forsyth Central's four region losses this season have been one-score games. All told, a combined 13 points decided those three games, beginning with a 29-28 double-overtime thriller against North Forsyth, then continuing last week with a 21-14 loss to South Forsyth. A matchup against a winless Lambert team could be just what the Bulldogs need to end the season on a high note. Lambert took its lumps last week against Milton, falling 49-0 while mustering just 172 yards of total offense. Despite Central's record, the Bulldogs boast one of the top defenses in the area, with linebacker Branden Redecker enjoying a breakout senior season. He leads the team in tackles (66) and tackles for loss (9), while fellow senior Alex Szakacs follows with six tackles for loss and a team-high five sacks. Lambert has struggled to keep quarterback Peyton Rich upright this season, giving up 20 sacks in the past four games, including eight last week against Milton. 

 

South Forsyth at West Forsyth

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

Records, rankings: South Forsyth is 5-4 and unranked in Class 7A; West Forsyth is 4-4 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: West Forsyth leads 5-2.

Last meeting: West Forsyth won 24-14 in 2018.

What to know: Both teams can still salvage a home playoff game, but they'll need some help for that to happen. First, South Forsyth and West Forsyth both need North Forsyth to lose to Milton. However, if the Raiders beat Milton and West beats South, it would create a three-team tie for first place, with Milton, North and West each with one region loss. In that case, it would come down to point differential, a deficit neither North nor West would likely be able to make up. With Milton holding a 123-point advantage in point differential, that would place North (+37) in second place and West (+5) in third place. That order can change Friday night, though. West might be the hottest team in the region right now. The Wolverines have won three straight games, the most recent being a come-from-behind victory against North last week that knocked the Raiders out of what would have been a de facto region championship game today against Milton. South took care of business last week, using a 21-14 win against Forsyth Central to stop a two-game skid. The War Eagles hold a plus-six point differential and could sneak into second place if two things happen: Milton beats North and South puts up some serious points against West.

 

North Forsyth at Milton

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

Records, rankings: North Forsyth is 6-3 and unranked in Class 7A; Milton is 6-3 and ranked No. 12 in Class 7A.

Series history: Milton leads 4-1.

Last meeting: Milton won 49-23 in 2018.

What to know: This game is Region 5-7A’s de facto championship game… Sort of. With its loss to West Forsyth last week, North’s chances of clinching the region outright were eliminated. The Raiders can still technically win the region if they beat Milton and score a lot of points, but that’s highly unlikely. What North’s really playing for here is a chance at a home playoff game, which they can clinch with a win and a West loss to South. North’s offense pounced on prime field positions early against the Wolverines last week, but could not sustain drives in the second half and allowed 22 unanswered points to take a 22-21 loss. Leading rusher Jared Lucero was held to just 56 yards on 22 carries against West, so North will have to regain their strong ground attack against the Eagles, who will likely have no issues reaching the end zone.

 

Flowery Branch at Denmark

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

Records, rankings: Denmark is 6-2 and ranked No. 11 in Class 4A; Flowery Branch is 6-2 and ranked No. 8 in Class 4A.

Series history: Flowery Branch leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Flowery Branch won 28-19 in 2018.

What to know: After a week off, Denmark will have a shot to better its postseason positioning at home against the Falcons. The winner of this game will have Region 7-4A’s third seed, and will face Sandy Creek in the first round, while the loser will face state powerhouse Cartersville. To come out on top, the Danes’ offense will have to continue the improvement they showed against White County a few weeks ago. Jordan Brunson rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns against White County, and Zach Ogbogu added 90 yards and a score. Denmark’s defense will have be stout in the run game: Flowery Branch has two rushers with over 500 yards, and are led offensively by Jaizen Ellingham, who has 818 yards and 14 touchdowns this year.

 

Mount Zion at Pinecrest

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m. Between the Pines in Cumming.

Records, rankings: Pinecrest is 1-8 and unranked in Class 1A Private; Mt. Zion is 1-8 and unranked in Class 1A Private.

Series history: Mount Zion leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Mount Zion won 26-7 in 2014.

What to know: The Paladins were matched up with the Eagles for their crossover matchup, who will travel to Forsyth all the way from Carroll County. Mount Zion’s had a rough season, with its only win coming against a similarly struggling Coosa team. Pinecrest has been playing its best football of the season over the last three weeks, especially on offense: Quarterback Bryce Balthaser passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns against a respected Mount Paran program last week, and Ethan Massey continued his strong season with a touchdown catch. Despite those strong efforts, though, the Paladins fell in the last seconds of that game. If they can keep their improved play going, grabbing a second win to close out 2019 is very possible.