One quarter of the way through the high school football regular season,
the FCN’s sports staff begs the question: What do we know?
Good: A year ago, the Bulldogs were forced to make drastic mid-season changes on offense under first-year head coach Shane Williamson. Now, Central has forged its identity early as a power-rushing team behind running backs Shaun Diebel (pictured) and Sabrian Howard. The defense is much improved, too, allowing just 11.3 points a game.
Bad: The toughest stretch of Central’s schedule awaits. The Bulldogs face a pair of 3-0 teams in consecutive weeks, starting tonight against No. 5 Kell and continuing next week against Riverwood. Can Central’s early-season confidence and health remain intact? If so, the rest of the schedule sets up well for the Bulldogs to make a playoff push.— Brian Paglia
Good: Longhorns senior running back Trevor O’Brien (pictured) has gotten back on track the past two weeks after a frustrating start in a season-opening loss to Lanier. He’s rushed for 239 yards and three touchdowns and averaged 5.7 yards per carry, the kind of production expected of last season’s county rushing leader.
Bad: Probably most concerning for the Longhorns has been the lack of production at quarterback. Lambert’s QBs have completed just 43.9 percent of their passes and thrown more interceptions (three) than touchdowns (two). Spoiling a 21-7 halftime lead last week against Centennial wasn’t a good sign for Lambert’s defense. — Brian Paglia
Good: Not much has gone right for the Raiders during their 0-3 start, but quarterback Jacob Bailey and receiver Colton Miller have developed a rapport when North goes to the air. North is loaded with sophomores (at running back, especially) and coach Jason Galt is excited about what’s in the pipeline for the next two years.
North is allowing 37 points per game while scoring just 10.3 per game. The Raiders managed just 96 total yards in last Friday’s loss to Northview and turned the ball over six times. Galt’s team—and the season—is still young, but North is a far cry from entering the playoff picture. — Foster Lander
Good: Coach Todd Winter’s triple-option gave North Springs and Walker fits. Slot back Mitchell Ojeda (11.7 yards per carry), fullback Matthew Walters (pictured, two rushing touchdowns) and quarterback Ryan McCarthy (school-record 211 yards rushing last Friday) are a formidable trio. The Pinecrest defense has allowed just 14 points per game.
Bad:The Paladins have passed their two tests thus far with flying colors, but Mount Paran Christian, ranked No. 4 in Class A, will be a measuring stick of a road game. Pinecrest has not been forced to throw the ball much; will they be able to should the need arise? — Foster Lander
Good: Running back Tyler LaFlamme (pictured) has been the star for South with 370 yards rushing and six total touchdowns through three games. The War Eagles have an experienced quarterback in Matt White and are 2-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA, though games with Northview and Alpharetta still loom.
Bad: South allowed 38 points to Mountain View…in the second half alone. Habersham Central is one of the weakest teams across the state in Class AAAAAA. Which South team shows up the rest of the way—the one that let a big lead slip away in the season-opener or the one that scored 49 points in each of the two games that followed? — Foster Lander
Good: Austin Reid has emerged as a threat running the ball (91 yards last week), catching the ball (42 yards, TD last week) and as a kick returner. Hampton McConnell got back on track (and healthy) last Friday after a slow start to the year. McConnell makes the West offense go; he played his best game of the season against Chattahoochee and the Wolverines won their first game.
Bad: The Wolverines have struggled to protect McConnell and rarely gave him sufficient time to throw in two West defeats; he missed much of a Sept. 5 loss to Alpharetta after absorbing a huge hit. Until last Friday, West ran the ball with little success between the tackles.
— Foster Lander