The temperatures and the heat of September have finally started to relax their grip on our area, but high school football in northeast Georgia continues to be a hot commodity as the calendar approaches November.
It was a quiet weekend for games in the area, as many teams enjoyed an open date before the race to post season begins.
But even with a limited schedule, there was one location in our area where the action was hot and heavy as Hart County played host to perennial region power Jefferson. To the victor would go the early lead in region 8-AAA’s championship race.
Someone once said that there are games that neither team looses, a team simply runs out of time. This was the case in Hartwell. The Dragons and Bulldogs staged a battle in front of a near capacity crowd at Herndon Stadium that was the epitome of what high school football is. The two teams combined for over 100 offensive plays and almost 850 yards of offense in a game that was not decided until a fourth down pass by Hart County fell incomplete in the Jefferson endzone, with the score showing Jefferson 28 Hart County 23.
Jordan Perry lead the Dragons with 84 yards on 10 carries and 2 scores, while Colby Clark added two second-half touchdowns. Malachi Thomas lead the Hart ground game with 12 carries for 89 yards with one touchdown, while Luke Lee was 17 of 27 through the air for 232 yards and one score.
A few days after the game,Gene Cathcart of Jefferson said “That was an amazing game between two quality football teams who played at a high level. It was a shame that one team had to lose a game like that one.” He went on, “I thought we did something on the offensive side of the game to give us the win. Colby Clark did a great job on the option making quick decisions against a good defense to allow us to be successful.”
Hart County’s Rance Gillespie remarked, “ It was a good game between two good football teams played in a great atmosphere. Jefferson is a quality football team that took advantage of some mistakes we made to get the win.” “I am proud of the way we fought and competed in the game. Our players took the field on that last drive really believing and expecting to score, but unfortunately came up a little short.”
With the win Jefferson and Morgan County remain perfect in the region while Hart County falls to 1-1 in region play. Jefferson plays host to Morgan County on Friday down in Jefferson in a game that will help settle the early lead in the region, while Hart County travels to Monroe to play Monroe Area, in a matchup of teams with one loss in the region.
In other action in Region 8-AAA, Monroe Area ran its record to 5-2 on the year and 2-1 in region play by defeating Jackson County by the score of 49-0. Morgan County moved to 6-1 and 3-0 in 8-AAA, by defeating Franklin County by the score of 35-16 in a game played at Madison Georgia.
This week, Region 8-AAA action include Hart County traveling to Monroe to face Monroe Area, Jefferson hosting Morgan County, and East Jackson facing Franklin County in Carnesville.
Region 8-AAAA, got region play underway with a pair of games. North Oconee used four rushing touchdowns from Adam Weynard to defeat Madison County 33-14. The 10th ranked Titans, will face St. Pius X at home week, while Madison County’s next game will be October 25 at St. Pius X in Atlanta.
Oconee County ran its record to 6-1 for the year with a 21-7 win over St. Pius X in a game played in Atlanta. Max Johnson scored twice for the Warriors in the second half. Oconee County will play host to Stephens County on Friday. The Indians will be facing former coach Travis Nolan, who was at Stephens County from 2005 – 2013.
It was a quiet weekend for the teams in region 8-AA, as each enjoyed an open date. The Blue Devils of Elbert County return to action at the Granite Bowl in Elberton when they take on 5th ranked Rabun County.
When asked about the challenges of facing a team like Rabun County, and a quarterback like Stockman, Elbert coach Brad Waggoner said,”They(Rabun) are a really good team, both offense and defense, a very complete team”. He went on to add, “they are a big challenge for us and we must do a good job maintaining our possessions on offense, and be able to tackle in space on defense. Rabun does a good job in making you defend the entire width of the field.” Further, he said,” we only have four games left in the season, and this is one of those four. This one is big, not only the opportunity to play against a team like Rabun, but we are fighting for post season.” Speaking of Stockman, Rabun’s quarterback, Waggoner said “he is the engine to their offense. He can make the throws and is a physical runner.”
Elsewhere, Union County and the states leading passer Pierson Allen face Banks County, Oglethorpe and Monticello play at Monticello, and Social Circle entertains Putman County.
At this point in the season, Union County and Rabun County appear to be headed to a meeting in Blairsville on November 8th with the Region Championship and home field on the line for the victor. Elbert County and Banks County are currently sitting in third place at 2-1 in the region, while Oglethorpe County and Putman County are one game out of the playoffs at this point of the season with 1-2 records.
In Region 6-AAAAAA, Habersham fell to Gainesville last Friday night by the score of 48-21 in a game in Gainesville. The Raiders have this week off before they travel to Gwinnett county to play #1 ranked Dacula.
Currently, Dacula shares the lead in the region with Lanier High School and Winder-Barrow. Gainesville is in fourth with a region record of 1-1, while Apalachee and Habersham- Central are looking for their first region wins.
With only a few weeks left in the 2018 season, there are games across the area with post season importance at every turn. Get out and see a game and support local student athletes. I’ll see you there!