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Football: Previews of week three's matchups
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Forsyth Central's Devon Taylor runs for a touchdown during the Bulldogs' game against Chamblee on Aug. 19, 2018 at Forsyth Central High School. - photo by Ben Hendren
Forsyth Central vs. Cass

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

Records, rankings: Central is 1-0 and unranked in Class 7A; Cass is 1-0 and unranked in Class 5A.

Series history: Cass leads 3-2.

Last meeting: Cass won 42-18 in 2015.

What to know: Right now, there’s an unfamiliar feeling around Central: Genuine intrigue. The Bulldogs won their scrimmage against a competitive Meadowcreek program, and then they won their opener handily against Chamblee. They have a big, experienced offensive line and a nifty, so-far effective option attack on offense. And this week’s opponent is attempting a similar turnaround, as the Generals broke a 16-game losing streak of their own with an opening-week win against Duluth. Central appears to hold one crucial advantage, though: size, both in stature and number. “It looks like a small army,” Cass head coach Bobby Hughes told Nicholas Sullivan of Cartersville’s Daily Tribune News.

 

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South Forsyth quarterback Drew Morris scrambles away from defenders in the War Eagles' matchup with Blessed Trinity on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018. Photo by Paul Ward

South Forsyth vs. Etowah

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

Records, rankings: Both teams are 1-1 and unranked in Class 7A.

Series history: Etowah leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Etowah won 48-22 in 2014.

What to know: After an inspiring opening-week win at Sprayberry in which tailback Jordan Brunson racked up four touchdowns and the War Eagles’ defense clamped down on the Yellow Jackets, south came down to Earth with a thump against Blessed Trinity last week. South gained just 87 yards of total offense and struggled to combat the Titans’ craftiness and power on that side of the ball. The result was somewhat understandable, though, with Blessed Trinity being the defending state champ and current top-ranked team in Class 4A, and this week brings more modest competition. Etowah’s win came against a River Ridge team that has yet to score a point this year, and the Eagles also fell to Lambert in a scrimmage. South could reestablish its status as a prime region contender with a convincing win here.

Pinecrest Academy vs. Mount de Sales

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

Records, rankings: Pinecrest is 0-1 and unranked in Class 1A; Mount de Sales is 2-0 and unranked in Class 1A.

Series history: Pinecrest leads 2-1.

Last meeting: Pinecrest won 24-7 in 2009.

What to know: Its loss last week to Fellowship Christian extended Pinecrest’s year-plus-long losing streak (not counting the forfeit win over South), but that game at least featured some fireworks for the Paladins. Pinecrest scored on its very first offensive play of the game and went on to put up 30 points, a total that the Paladins only topped once last season and a vast improvement over the shutout loss that Fellowship handed them in 2017. They’ll have a chance to showcase that so-far improved offense against a Mount de Sales team that the Paladins haven’t seen since their days playing in the GISA.

North Forsyth vs. Northview

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

Records, rankings: North is 1-1 and unranked in Class 7A; Northview is 1-0 and unranked in Class 6A.

Series history: The series is tied at 3-3.

Last meeting: Northview won 26-9 in 2015.

What to know: Losing senior running back Bryson Trigg early in its season opener against Cherokee looked to be a crushing blow for North, given the offense’s sluggish response in that eventual loss. But against Gainesville last week, the Raiders showed plenty of life, with Honus Wagner rushing for over 200 yards while pulling double-duty as one of the team’s defensive leaders, and quarterback Carter Mullikin putting in a massively improved performance in the passing game, which culminated in him leading a dramatic game-winning drive with less than two minutes to play. In Northview, the Raiders have a seemingly inscrutable opponent: The Titans were just 2-8 last year in a not-great region, but they opened this season with a 49-0 shellacking of Lakeside-DeKalb.

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West Forsyth Blake Whitfield rushes for a touchdown during the Wolverines' game at Camden County on Aug. 17, 2018 at Camden County High School. Photo courtesy Tribune & Georgian.

West Forsyth vs. Hewitt-Trussville

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

Records, rankings: The Wolverines are 0-1 and unranked in Class 7A; Hewitt-Trussville is 0-1 and ranked No. 7 in AL.com’s Power 25.

Series history: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

What to know: And so West’s wild non-region ride rages on: In the first-ever time an out-of-state football opponent has played in the county, the Wolverines welcome one of Alabama’s top programs, which is led by five-star offensive lineman Pierce Quick and three-star quarterback Paul Tyson, Bear Bryant’s great-grandson. Both players are Alabama commits. The Huskies put up a solid fight against another Georgia opponent last week, losing to a Cedar Grove team led by UGA commit Jadon Haselwood, and they’ll be bringing a huge fan presence. West would certainly like to flex its might against the Huskies, which the Wolverines could very well do, but the real goal of the non-region schedule is just to keep everybody healthy.

Lambert at Gainesville

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

Records, rankings: Lambert is 1-1 and unranked in Class 7A; Gainesville is 0-2 and unranked in Class 6A.

Series history: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup

What to know: The Red Elephants welcome a Forsyth County opponent to town for the second straight week, after they fell to North in crushing fashion last Friday. And while the Raiders are figuring out how to succeed in the absence of a star running back, the Longhorns might be witnessing the ascension of one of their own. Sophomore Zach Ogbogu had a mega-efficient game in the Longhorns’ easy win against Chattahoochee last week, rushing six times for 105 yards and two touchdowns and hauling in another score on a 42-yard reception. The Longhorns’ chances here likely depend on whether Ogbogu can bust out again.

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Denmark's Ze'Vian Capers celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the Danes' game against Cherokee Bluff on Aug. 24, 2018 at Denmark High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Denmark at North Springs

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

Records, rankings: Denmark is 1-0 and unranked in Class 4A; North Springs is 1-1 and unranked in Class 5A.

Series history: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

Last meeting: This is the teams’ first-ever matchup.

What to know: Not so fast, says Denmark: Just two days after the Danes’ 43-0 romp over Cherokee Bluff in the program’s first-ever game, the team’s twitter account noted that North Springs, this Friday’s opponent, has scored 93 points in its two games this year. That’s true, but the Spartans have done that against Fellowship Christian, an unranked Class 1A school, and Clarkston, which surrendered 48 of those points to North Springs in the first half. This game is likely to be a tougher go than the opener against Cherokee Bluff, though, and will be a good lead-up for the Danes’ intriguing contest at Forsyth Central next Friday.