Wednesday, April 14

Friday Night Lights Review of Week 3/Week 4 Preview

In 490 B.C. , a greek solider named Pheidippides ran from just outside the city of Marathon Greece to the capital city of Athens, to report on a great military victory over the Persians. The distance was about 25 miles. Over the next centuries, this distance would become known today as “The Marathon”.

What does a foot race have to do with the high school football season? This week marks the 1/3 mark for the 2019 season. Most teams, depending on schedules and open weeks, will have completed either three or four of the ten games that are on their schedule, but are still looking at another eight weeks of games before the season completes in early November. A football season is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. One that takes weeks to learn the results of.

The first weeks of the season have shown that of all of the teams in our area, Region 8-AAA could go to the final weekend of the regular season. In the early season, region preseason favorites, Hart County and Morgan County, have handled the early stages of the season’s journey.  Both teams are currently sporting unbeaten records to date, while Jefferson and Monroe Area have also been impressive, only losing one game each. 

East Jackson and Jackson County are also off to very impressive starts. Cameron Pettus, in his first season at East Jackson, has the Eagles at 2-0, while Rich McWhorter has Jackson County setting at 2-1 through this point in the year. Franklin County is winless through this point of the year.

Down in 8-AA, Union County and defending region champion Rabun County are both 2-0 on the season, while Elbert County and Social Circle both are setting at 1-1. Elbert County journeys to Union County on October 4, and plays host to Rabun County on October 18 in games that will go along way in determining post season opportunities for both teams.

In 8-AAAA, region play is still a few weeks away as there are only four Region games for each team. St. Pius X along with North Oconee and Oconee look to battle for top honors while Madison County and Stephens County look to secure one of the playoff spots for the region.

For a look at week 3 action in the area, we’ll start in Hartwell, where Hart County snapped a loosing streak that dates back to 1955. The Bulldogs used a big play running game and good defense to defeat the Commerce Tigers 40-20. Malecki Thomas led the Bulldogs with 180 yards on 15 carries, while J’Len Lackey chipped in with 83 yards on 11 carries.

When asked about the year to date, Hart’s Rance Gillespie said, “ We’ve improved over the past year and I feel that we’re headed in the right direction. He added that, “I feel that we have not played our best football yet and have room to get better as a team.“

Gillespie added that as a team, you hope to improve as the season goes on. “I do not think that we have peaked or that we’re playing our best football. We’re doing a lot of really good things this year, but there are things that we need to improve on.” About the matchup with Madison on Friday in Danielsville, the coach said,”This is a huge week for us. We’ve got a huge game with a really good football team and we’ll have to be at our best”.

In Region 8-AAAA, at Athens Academy, the 2nd ranked Spartans defeated the Stephens County Indians 49-19. The Spartans’ Palmer Bush threw three touchdown passes against Stephens. At Danielsville, the Madison County Red Raiders moved to 2-1 on the season thanks to a touchdown pass from Cody Smith to Tay Cooper with 11 seconds left in the game, as they defeated Apalachee 21-20.

In other games in region 8-AAA, Jefferson returned to the winning way with a 62-7 win over West Hall in a game at Jefferson. East Jackson and Jackson both continued their great play with wins this past Friday. East Jackson used a pair of interception returns for touchdowns in the first quarter to defeat Oglethorpe County 30 – 7, while Jackson County shutout Lumpkin County 31-0.

This past Friday, both Elbert County and Franklin County had their first of two open dates for the 2019 season. Elbert County returns to action at the Granite Bowl when they entertain North Oconee, while Franklin County host Habersham Central at Carnesville.Brad 

“I don’t know if there is right time or a wrong time to have a week off”, said Elbert’s Brad Waggoner. “We tried to keep the week as much like a game week as we could. We took time to work to get better as a team during week while also get a look at our opponent this Friday.”

About Elbert opponent North Oconee, Waggoner stated that “they are just a real good football team. They are really well coached a very sound on both sides of the ball, they are a complete team”.

Week 4 Schedule of area games. Game times for Georgia games are 7:30. Check with the host school for ticket information or if you have any questions


Hart County @ Madison County

Rabun County @ Stephens County

North Oconee @ Elbert County

Habersham-Central @ Franklin County

Southside, Greenville SC @ Jefferson

Jackson County @ Apalachee
Banks County @ East Jackson

Walnut Grove @ Monroe Area

Oconee County @ Morgan County

South Carolina

Crescent @ Palmetto

Daniel @ Westside

West-Oak @ Dixie

Seneca @ Woodruff

T L Hanna @ Belton-Honea Path

See you in the stands under the lights!

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