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WEEK 9 PRIMER: South takes aim at Gainesville, one of last Region 6-7A unbeatens
West, Central set for region clash at Bulldog Stadium
Photo courtesy Paul Ward

West Forsyth at Forsyth Central  

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

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

Series history: West leads 4-0. 

Last meeting: West won 22-17 in 2019. 

What to know: Both teams captured their first region game of the season last week, as West Forsyth beat South Forsyth 41-34 in overtime while Forsyth Central topped North Forsyth 28-27.

West took a step toward becoming fully healthy when starting QB Keegan Stover returned against South following a three-week absence. Stover completed all nine passes to tight end Oscar Delp, who racked up 172 yards and two touchdowns in the overtime victory. Daba Fofana enjoyed a massively productive night, rushing 23 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Fofana now has 708 yards and eight touchdowns in six games this season, surpassing last year's total (535 yards in 10 games). Kobe Haynes rushed seven times for 33 yards, giving the Wolverines another weapon in the backfield. Central, typically stout against the run, gave up 277 rushing yards to North last week, including 186 yards and a score to Jared Lucero.

Central's passing game took off against North, as QB Bronson Landreth completed 12 of 18 passes for a career-high 228 yards and three scores. Noah Chol was brilliant for the Bulldogs, catching five of those passes for 105 yards and two scores, also returning a kick for a touchdown. Devin Hill also enjoyed a career day, posting four catches for 96 yards and a score. Chol (6-foot-3, 180 pounds), Hill (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) and Caydin Mowen (6-foot-2, 170 pounds give Central a unique size advantage, and it will be interesting to see how head coach Frank Hepler calls this game following last week's offensive display.

Photo by Jay Rooney Photography

Gainesville at South Forsyth 

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

Records, rankings: Gainesville is 4-2 and unranked in Class 7A; South Forsyth is 4-1 and unranked in Class 7A. 

Series history: Tied 2-2. 

Last meeting: South won 28-7 in 2001. 

What to know: South Forsyth looks to rebound from last week's loss against an upstart Gainesville team that finds itself atop the Region 6-7A standings. 

A week after West played spoiler against South, the War Eagles find themselves in a similar position this week against Gainesville. The Red Elephants, who had a bye last week, are 2-0 in region play, narrowly escaping Central with a 28-27 win, then rallying to beat Lambert 42-35. Gainesville's two losses came against high-quality opponents in Flowery Branch and Hillgrove, and both were one-score games. Quarterback Gionni Williams handled the bulk of the rushing duties against Lambert, carrying the ball 19 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore sensation Naim Cheeks missed the game but owns 704 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

South, meanwhile, remains the second-highest scoring team in Class 7A (46.4), trailing only Colquitt County (50.3). QB Kyle Durham continued his remarkable junior campaign, tossing five touchdowns and completing 19 of 33 passes for 346 yards, adding 58 more on 12 carries. Gavin Morris (6 catches, 105 yards, 3 TDs), Mitch Thompson (4 catches, 102 yards, 1 TD) and Devin McGlockton (7 catches, 97 yards, 1 TD) all scored for the War Eagles, who did much of their damage through the air. Running back Tre Green carried the ball just five times for two yards after suffering an injury in the first quarter against Alcovy two weeks ago. If Cheeks suits up for the Red Elephants, South could find itself in another Region 6-7A shootout.  

Photo courtesy Paul Ward

Lambert at North Forsyth  

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

Records, rankings: Lambert is 4-3 and unranked in Class 7A; North Forsyth is 5-2 and unranked in Class 7A. 

Series history: Lambert leads 5-3. 

Last meeting: North won 49-21 in 2019. 

What to know: Two teams that entered Region 6-7A play with an undefeated record suddenly find themselves in what appears to be a must-win game.

North lost a heartbreaker last week against Forsyth Central, 28-27, as a missed PAT late in the fourth quarter doomed the Raiders. North led the Bulldogs 21-7 at one point, remniscent of the Raiders' loss to Denmark, when they built a 10-0 first-quarter lead before allowing 20 unanswered points. Running back Jared Lucero exploded for 186 yards and a score on 25 carries, his most since a 231-yard performance against Kennesaw Mountain in 2019. QB Brady Meitz was effecient through the air, completing 77 percent of his passes (17 for 22, 156 yards) and accounting for three touchdowns. North beat Lambert 49-21 last season and looks to get back in the win column this week against the Longhorns. 

Lambert is looking to snap a three-game skid, falling to South Forsyth, Gainesville and Denmark to start Region 6-7A play. The Longhorns allowed 138 points during that three-game span, though they were down seven defensive starters because of COVID-19 during last week's 52-14 loss to Denmark. Lambert likely won't be at full strength against North following an announcement this week that the school will shut down for two weeks because of an increased number of active COVID-19 cases. Still, Lambert managed to hold a potent Denmark offense to just three points through the first quarter last week, and QB James Tyre completed 12 of 16 passes for 151 yards and a score, also catching three passes for 106 yards and a touchdown from QB Ashton Smith. The Longhorns have the talent, but it will be an uphill climb if Lambert is missing that many starters against North. 

- photo by David Roberts

Fideles Christian at Pinecrest Academy  

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

Records, rankings: Fideles Christian is 2-5; Pinecrest is 7-1. 

Series history: These two teams have never met. 

Last meeting: N/A.

What to know: Pinecrest's first season among the GAPPS 8-man ranks has been a rousing success, as the Paladins find themselves in the middle of a seven-game winning streak. 

Next up for Pinecrest is Fideles Christian, which shares three common opponents with the Paladins. Fideles fell last week to Harvester Christian, 52-0, which handed Pinecrest its only loss of the season, 40-32. The Rangers also lost to Johnson Ferry 50-12 and Lanier Christian 32-6, two teams that Pinecrest beat  46-8 and 42-0, respectively.