The summer temperatures finally began to release their grip across the area this past weekend, but the explosion of high scoring offense did not, as high school football turned to the coroner and high school football is rapidly moving toward time to crown Region Champions and to start the match to Atlanta. This is a great time to go out and enjoy a high school football game.
Around our area last weekend, the top game was Elbert County traveling to Blairsville to face high scoring Union County in a matchup of 2-0 teams in Region 8-AA. Elbert County, who had won its last three games, was looking for revenge against Union. Union Co. upset Elbert 29-28 in Elberton to deny the Blue Devils an opportunity to host a play off game.
Union County broke open a 14 – 14 tie early in the fourth quarter against Elbert to defeat the Blue Devils by the score of 35-14. Union took advantage of a couple of Blue Devil turnovers to get the win, moving their record to 6-0. Elbert had their 3 game win streak snapped, and is now 3-3 on the year.
“This was a good high school football game, and man we had our opportunities”, said Brad Waggoner. “We were moving the football, driving to take the lead, and turned the ball over, and they take advantage to get the lead. Then it happens again, turnover . they capitalize”. Waggoner added, “ you have to give Union credit for being able to handle adversity in a positive way”.
In the other matchup of 2-0 teams in Region 8-AA, Rabun County continued to be dominate, as they defeated Banks County by the score of 52-9 in a game played at Rabun County. Gunner Stockton, Rabun’s quarterback, was 26 of 33 for 368 yards with four touchdowns through the air, and added another three touchdowns on the ground.
Its a quiet week this weekend in Region 8-AA, as everyone except for Social Circle enjoys an open date this Friday. Social Circle travels to Atlanta to take on Clarkston High School on Friday. Action returns to the this region on October 11 and Rabun travels to the Granite Bowl to take on Elbert, and Union plays Banks County in major games that weekend.
“Were going to spend this week working to get better on the things that are hurting us now,” said Brad Waggoner. “It is important and obvious that we’re getting better, we’re much better now than we were at week 1.” He added, “building a program is a marathon, not a sprint. This is a week where we can continue to get better as a football team.”
In Region 8-AAA, this was the second weekend of region competition with Jefferson taking on Franklin County, Jackson County playing host to Morgan County, and East Jackson facing Monroe Area.
Down at Jefferson, the Dragons used the ground game to defeat winless Franklin County by the score of 33-0. Malaki Starks led the Dragons with 84 yards, as Jefferson had nine runners to amass 247 yards agains Franklin County. Franklin County will travel to Madison Georgia to face Morgan County, while Jefferson and Hart County face each other in Hartwell at Herndon Stadium.
“This should be a huge game this weekend in Hartwell,” said Gene Cathcart, Jefferson Head Coach. “They’re awfully good and Coach Gillespie and his staff do a great job in getting their players ready to play”.
In Jefferson, Morgan County picked up win #2 in region play holding off Jackson County by the score of 20-17, while in Monroe, the Hurricanes blew past East Jackson 56-7. East Jackson will face Franklin County at Carnesville on October 18.
Habersham -Central fell to Lanier High School by the score of 42-22 in a game played at Mt. Airy. Lanier broke the game open by scoring 20 straight points in the third quarter, highlighted by Tyler Washington’s return of the open kickoff to start the third quarter for a touchdown. Habersham will face Gainesville on the road next Friday at City Park in a big game for playoff seedings in Region 8-AAAAAA.
“We new going into the game that we would have to play our best for four quarters to have a chance against a team like Lanier. We had some chances for big plays and did not make the plays,” according to Benji Harrison, Habersham-Central’s head coach.
The big game in our area this weekend is in Hartwell as 5-0 Hart County takes on 4-1 Jefferson with a share of first place in Region 8-AAA on the line for the victor. Both teams come into this game among the leaders in Class AAA football in Georgia. This is one of the games that a lot of fans have been looking forward to since the start of the season.
This is only the sixth meeting between these two schools, with Jefferson holding a four games to one lead over Hart County. The winner of this game has often gone on to contend for a Region Championship while the loser has often faced an uphill climb just to get into post season play.
Both Gene Cathcart and Rance Gillespie are veteran head coaches and have played in many of these games, and both have a great deal of respect for their opponent. “Their an awfully good football team in Hart County. Coach Gillespie does a great job, he and his staff, in getting them ready to play” , was the statement of Gene Cathcart of Jefferson. “Jefferson is a really good football team”, according to Hart’s Gillespie, who went on top add, “they are really well coached on both sides of the ball.”
Both coaches were quick to praise the other team. “Hart County has always had good athletes, and this year is no exception.” He added, “when you watch them play you see their athletes and their speed on both sides”. Gillespie said,”they’re young on defense, but they’ve been really solid in the way they’ve played all year. They’re a solid fundamental football team”.
In Region 8-AAAA, Madison County takes on North Oconee while St. Pius faces Oconee County on the first night of region play. Stephens County is enjoying a second straight open date, and will open region play next week against Oconee County and former coach Travis Nolan.
Up in Region 8-AAAAAA, the Habersham Central Raiders travel to Gainesville to take on the Red Elephants in a big game in the region. “This is a big game for us in order to control our own destiny as far as getting into post season. It’s possible to get in with 2 losses, but that would be difficult”, according to Habersham- Centrals Benji Harrison. “We both know (Habersham and Gainesville) how big this game is”.
In the upstate of South Carolina, Crescent takes on Liberty, Mann visits Westside in Anderson, Seneca looks for their second win of the year against West Oak, Pendleton travels to Powdersville. TL Hanna looks to get back on the winning track when they host Easley, and Daniel looks for their sixth win of the season in a matchup with Wren.
Week number seven means that the season is in the home stretch, with the playoffs right around the corner. There are a lot of big games in our area and the weather looks great.
Hope to see you at a stadium this weekend.