E'Twaun Moore 2016 17 Season Highlights

It may be just the opening week of the 2017 prep football season, but there are already some intriguing battles for fans to sink their teeth into around northeast Georgia.

Local rivalries, and some not so local, as well as some that could have state-wide implications, highlight a 16-game schedule from Blue Ridge to Hiawassee to Jefferson to Atlanta and points in-between.

Three teams within the Friday Game Night coverage area -- Buford, Mill Creek, North Gwinnett -- will do battle in the annual Corky Kell Classic, which has moved to the new Georgia State Stadium (formerly Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves) for the 2017 season.  

Some early questions for several teams looking to break into the upper-tier of playoff contending teams, like Winder-Barrow, could find some answers after Friday. The Bulldoogs may have one of their best teams of recent seasons on paper but face a Clarke Central team they have beaten just twice in their history. A win could put the rest of Region 8-AAAAAA on notice. White County, with new coach Tim Cokely, faces a playoff-caliber team in Franklin County in Cleveland. A win for the Warriors could very well signal their transition is ahead of schedule.

Now that the season is finally upon us, everyone buckle up. It figures to be a fast, twisting, turning ride until the playoffs begin in November.

For a look at all of the night's contests involving area teams, simply scroll down. And be sure to check back with

AccessWDUN's Friday Game Night throughout the night for score updates and game stories and video highlights. You can also check for scores and highlights on our Twitter feed:

@FridayGameNight

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FOR Aug. 18

(Games listed in alphabetical order of visiting team)

BANKS COUNTY at JACKSON COUNTY

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Panther Stadium, Jefferson

-- JACKSON COUNTY (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAA): Finished 3-8 in 2016, reached first round Class AAA playoffs

-- BANKS COUNTY (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AA): Finished 7-5 in 2016, reached second round Class AA playoffs

-- NOTABLE: Banks County leads series 14-9. Jackson County won 21-16 in 2016. ... The two teams resumed a series last year for the first time in nine seasons and have met just three times since 2001 after playing 20 times from 1980 to 2001. ... Both teams are expecting big things in 2017. The Leopards are looking for their first back-to-back state playoff appearances since 1996-97 while the Panthers are also looking for back-to-back state playoff appearances. ... It could be a wide-open affair with two offenses that have plenty of playmakers. Banks County will feature Sr. Clayton Dykehouse and Jr. Terrance Walker, a potential breakout player in 2017, in the backfield. Jackson County counters with Sr. RB Noah Venable, who set the single-season school rushing record (1,381 yards, 10 TDs) in 2016 for the Panthers.

BUFORD vs. HILLGROVE (KELL CLASSIC)

-- WHEN: 8:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta

-- TV: WATL (My ATL)

-- BUFORD (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAA): Finished 13-2 and Region 8-AAAAA champs in 2016, Class AAAAA state runner-up

-- HILLGROVE (0-0, 0-0 Region 3-AAAAAAA): Finished 5-6 in 2016, reached first round Class AAAAAAA playoffs

-- NOTABLE: First-ever meeting between the two schools. ... The Wolves are sporting a new coach for the first time in 13 seasons and just the second time since 1995. But new head man John Ford is no stranger to success coming over from Roswell, where he led the Hornets to back-to-back state championship game appearances the last two seasons. ... Buford is expected to be a little more pass-friendly in 2017 in a new spread-like attack. However, the Wolves still have Anthony Grant (Tennessee-commit) and Christian Turner (Michigan-commit) in the backfield so don’t look for too much to change from their ground-and-pound style, at least early on. ... Hillgrove’s best player is perhaps Sr. TE Chigoziem Okonkwo (38 passes, 665 yards, 8 TDs in 2016) who has offers from Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Navy, Troy and Wisconsin.

CLARKE CENTRAL at WINDER-BARROW

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: W. Clair Harris Stadium, Winder

-- CLARKE CENTRAL (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAA): Finished 7-5 in 2016, reached second round of Class AAAAA playoffs

-- WINDER-BARROW (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAAA): Finished 5-6 in 2016, reached first round of Class AAAAAA playoffs

-- NOTABLE: Clarke Central leads series 13-2. The Gladiators won 31-0 in 2016. ... Clarke Central has owned the series overall but the Bulldoggs won in 2014-15 and those victories were a major catalyst in their having qualified for the state playoffs each of the last three seasons, a program-best stretch. ... The 2017 season could be one of the best ever for the Bulldoggs, if they stay healthy. They have a big, experienced offensive line led by senior returning starters Jared Johnson, Trey Hill, Tyreek Norman, and mammoth Mill Creek transfer Joey Klemm (6-2, 310, junior) in front of a plethora of talented skilled personnel. Sr. QB Brock Landis (1,771 yards passing, 15 TDs, 16 INTs; 420 yards rushing), returns and will have a seasoned receiving corps boosted by the transfer of Jaidon Turner from Brookwood. Turner joins seniors Lamonta Mack and Trace Wells and Jr. Noah McDowell while Jr. running back Jamar Mack returns as well. ... The Bulldoggs also return 2016 Region 8-AAAAAA sacks leader in Jr. Logan Cash (DE) to what should be a very good defense. ... The Gladiators will be led on offense by Sr. C Nicholas Sligh, Sr. QB Jack Mangel, and Jr. RB Jonathan Sewell, who all have significant varsity experience.

DISCOVERY at JEFFERSON

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

-- DISCOVERY (0-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAAAA): Finished 2-8 in its first varsity season in 2016

-- JEFFERSON (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAA): Finished 12-2 and Region 8-AAAA champs in 2016; advanced to Class AAAA semifinals

-- NOTABLE: Jefferson leads series 1-0. The Dragons wons 48-0 in 2016. ... Despite a coaching change at the top not much will change for the Dragons, who still have All-State Sr. RB Colby Wood  (1,642 yards rushing, 20 TDs; 355 yard receiving, 4 TDs in 2016), Sr. QB Bryce Moore, and So. QB Colby Clark to lead what should be an explosive offense again with a solid receiving crop, led by Jr. Sammy Elegreet, to offer even better balance. ... The Titans are just in their second year of competition but have nearly 100 seniors, juniors, and sophomores on the roster that saw action last season. The Titans defense should be their strength but Sr. WR/RB Khiree Seabrook may be their best player and the offense figures to run through him.

FRANKLIN COUNTY at WHITE COUNTY

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: White County Stadium, Cleveland

-- RADIO: www.wrwh.com

-- FRANKLIN COUNTY (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAA): Finished 4-7 in 2016, reached first round of Class AAA playoffs

-- WHITE COUNTY (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAA): Finished 1-9 in 2016

-- NOTABLE: Franklin County leads series 6-5. Franklin County won 26-7 in 2016. ... The Warriors sport a new coach in Tim Cokely, who knows how to build championship programs. He won six state titles in two different stints at North Florida Christian and also won 17 games at Greater Atlanta Christian from 2010-11. ... They also will sport a new offense switching from the option to a spread. Sr. Kaleb Crain moves from quarterback to running back, while senior Jordon Palmer and freshman J. Ben Haynes compete to see who will take the starting QB role. ... The Warriors also have a legitimate threat in Sr. PK/P Brett Bardenwerper. But, tt may take some transition and the Lions present an intriguing opener as they are expected to challenge for a playoff spot in 8-AAA. ... The Warriors defense, which is expected to carry them early, will have to slow down a speedy Lions attack to give the new-look offense a chance to find its legs.

GILMER at FANNIN COUNTY

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Rebels Stadium, Blue Ridge

-- GILMER (0-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAA): Finished 0-10 in 2016

-- FANNIN COUNTY (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): Finished 2-8 in 2016

-- NOTABLE: Gilmer leads series 25-14-2. Fannin County won 17-14 in 2016. ... This is one of the mountain rivalries that has been fierce over the years. It’s also a streaky series. The Rebels' win last season snapped a five-game losing streak to the Bobcats. Fannin won eight straight before that (2003-10) while Gilmer took seven straight from 1996-2002. ... The Rebels will need another solid start to the season with a rough region slate ahead. ... The Bobcats winless season in 2016 was their first since 2008 and just the second-ever in program history, which dates back to 1956. ... The key for Fannin County will be if they can find suitable replacements for graduated and record-setting QB Brad Davis and explosive receiver Cooper Earls, both of whom were among the state’s leaders at their positions.

HABERSHAM CENTRAL at EAST HALL

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: East Hall Stadium, Rabbittown

-- RADIO: WDUN AM 550

-- HABERSHAM CENTRAL (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAAA): Finished 5-5 in 2016

-- EAST HALL (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): Finished 3-7 in 2016

-- NOTABLE: Habersham Central leads the series 2-1. The Raiders won 45-13 in 2016. It was the first meeting between the two schools since 1985. ... The Raiders used this game as a springboard to help them to their first non-losing season since 2011. Both teams will be looking for a fast start to 2017. ... Habersham is sporting a new QB in Stephens County transfer A.J Curry, who could be one of the more dynamic players in the area by season’s end. However, the Vikings counter with 16 returning starters and the tandem of QB Austin Parker (2,600 yards passing, 300 yards rushing, 30 total TDs in 2016) and standout receiver Sedrion Morse (49 receptions, 927 yards, 11 TDs). ... Expect a shootout and it could go down to the final possession this time around.

HAYESVILLE (N.C.) at TOWNS COUNTY

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Frank McClure Stadium, Hiawassee

-- HAYESVILLE (N.C.) (0-0): Finished 3-9 in 2016, reached second round of North Carolina Class A playoffs

-- TOWNS COUNTY (0-0): Finished 3-7 in 2016

-- NOTABLE: Hayesville leads series 20-2. Towns County won 33-14 in 2016. ... The Yellow Jackets have owned the series but both of the Indians’ wins have come since 2008. ... Towns County is looking for a breakout season and could use a strong start with three consecutive, Region 8-A road games to follow. ... The Indians have 15 returning starters, a huge number for one of the smallest public schools in the state, featuring what could be a dynamic offense led by Jr. QB Trent Bradshaw, Sr. FB Andy Chambers, Sr. ATH Zach Davenport, Jr. WR Will Travis, and Sr. TE Logan Cowart. ... The Indians were 2-3 at home in 2016 but all three losses were to playoff teams.

HEBRON CHRISTIAN ACADEMY at EAST JACKSON

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Eagles Stadium, Commerce

-- HEBRON CHRISTIAN ACADEMY (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-A): Finished 5-6 in 2016 reached first round Class A Private playoffs

-- EAST JACKSON (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAA): Finished 4-6 in 2017

-- NOTABLE: Hebron leads series 3-0. The Lions won 17-7 in 2016. ... most wins in a season ... The Eagles posted their most wins in a season since 2009, which was also their last playoff appearance. They are under their third coach in three seasons but do maintain some continuity as former Cedar Shoals head coach Scott Wilkins, who was on staff last year, takes over. ... The Eagles are young overall but return a lot of lettermen from last year. The Lions are expected to challenge again for a playoff berth in a tough region. ... East Jackson has not won a season-opener since 2013 (14-10 over Banks County). Hebron has won four straight season-openers.

LANIER at NORTHVIEW

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Northview Stadium, Johns Creek

-- LANIER (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAAA): Finished 7-4 in 2016,reached first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs

-- NORTHVIEW (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAAAA): Finished 2-8 in 2016.

-- NOTABLE: Lanier leads series 1-0. The Longhorns won 34-13 in 2016 in Sugar Hill. ... The Longhorns will sport a new QB in Zach Calzada and two new running backs (Larry Harper and Tywon Reaves) but a veteran offensive line (4 of 5 returning starters) should offer them some continuity. ... The Titans have a new coach in James Thomson so there could be some growing pains. The Northview defense was porous in 2016 and the Longhorns should be able to find some holes in a unit that yielded 34 ppg. ... The Lanier defense should be stout once again with a linebacking group of junior Kameron Brown, their leading returning tackler with 120 stops in 2016, and seniors Erick Turner and Malik Johnson that is considered one of the best in the state. ... Lanier has won its last four season openers, including a pair on the road. The Titans, however, are 4-2 all-time in home season-openers.

NORTH FORSYTH at SEQUOYAH

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Skip Pope Stadium, Canton

-- NORTH FORSYTH (0-0, 0-0 Region 5-AAAAAAA): Finished 4-6 in 2016

-- SEQUOYAH (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAAA): Finished 4-7 in 2016, reached first round of Class AAAAAA playoffs

-- NOTABLE: North Forsyth leads series 3-2. The Raiders won 34-14 in 2016. It was the first meeting between the two schools since 2003. ... The gauntlet of playoff teams begins quickly for the Raiders. Sequoyah is the first of nine playoff teams from 2016 for the Raiders. ... The Raiders should be able to score some points behind Ben Bales and Co. against a Chiefs defense that allowed 27 ppg last year. That should give them the edge because the Chiefs were the third-lowest scoring team in 6-AAAAAA in 2016 averaging just 16.5 ppg. ... The Raiders are just 5-5 in their last 10 season-openers overall but are 3-1 in season-openers on the road during that span. Sequoyah is just 2-3 in their last five season-openers at home.

NORTH HALL at CHESTATEE

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: War Eagle Stadium, Gainesville 

-- RADIO: 102.9 FM WDUN

-- NORTH HALL (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAA): Finished 6-5 in 2016 reached first round Class AAA playoffs

-- CHESTATEE (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAA): Finished 4-7 in 2016 reached first round Class AAAA playoffs

-- NOTABLE: North Hall leads series 14-1. The Trojans won 35-28 in 2016. ... North Hall has won 11 straight in the series but needed a late score last year to keep the streak alive. However, this year’s matchup should certainly give the War Eagles their best chance to bust the streak. ... Chestatee has Nick Lyles, among the state’s rushing leaders in 2016, returning to go with an improved Storm Yarbrough at quarterback. The key matchup may be up front with a good Chestatee offensive line against the strength of the Trojans defense, their front-seven. ... Chestatee’s defense is also rebuilding and the Trojans should have more speed on the edges on offense with a slew of RBs, including seniors Cutter Sanford, Jack Brown, and Peyton Mavity, juniors Daniel Jackson and Drew Faulkner, and sophomore Brady Dehass. It could go down to the final possession once again.

SOCIAL CIRCLE at JOHNSON

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, Oakwood

-- SOCIAL CIRCLE (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AA): Finished 3-7 in 2016

-- JOHNSON (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAA): Finished 0-10 in 2016

-- NOTABLE: Social Circle leads series 1-0. The Redskins won 19-14 in 2016. ... Last year’s matchup saw the Knights lead by 14 points but could not hold on for the win. They are looking for a quick start in 2017 and have returning Jr. QB Sam Corbett, who should be ready for a breakout season. With arch-rival West Hall looming next week, however, they can’t overlook a Social Circle squad that has also made strides winning seven games the last two seasons after a 36-game losing streak from 2011-14. ... Johnson will try and control the ball on the ground against a Redskins defense that allowed over 31 points a game in 2016. The key could be the Knights’ defense, which should be better than last year’s group that yielded over 42 points a game. ... The Redskins are 3-7 in their last 10 road games. Johnson has dropped 14 straight games, tied for the second-longest streak in program history.

WEST HALL at GAINESVILLE

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. 

-- WHERE: City Park Stadium, Gainesville

-- RADIO: 1240 AM ESPN Radio

-- WEST HALL (0-0, 0-0 Region 7-AAAA): Finished 7-5 in 2016 reached second round Class AAAA playoffs

-- GAINESVILLE (0-0, 0-0 Region 8-AAAAAA): Finished 5-6 in 2016 reached first round Class AAAAAA playoffs

-- NOTABLE: Gainesville leads series 11-2. Gainesville won 20-10 in 2016. ... The Red Elephants have won 11 straight in the series, including last year’s game that was a one-possession game until late. ... Both teams are looking at this one as a measuring stick on the season. Gainesville is breaking in another new quarterback (Tre Luttrell) and is trying to prove last year’s overall losing record, its first since 2000, was an anomaly. West Hall put together its best playoff run since 2000 but will have an entirely new backfield and returns just six total starters from last year’s squad. ... The West Hall offense will need balance and the strength is a good offensive line, led by seniors Josh Taylor, Cory Davis, and Damien Fouts, along with Jr. Jackson Bartlett, and the key matchup will be whether the Spartans line can contain the speed of the Red Elephants. The Red Elephants defense will be led by Sr. LB Keith Harris (team-high 175 total tackles in 2016), Sr. DE Trevor Calvert and So. safety duo Chase and Chandler Watson and has speed at every position.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FOR Aug. 19

(Games listed in alphabetical order of visiting team)

MILL CREEK vs. McEACHERN (KELL CLASSIC)

-- WHEN: 5:45 p.m.

-- WHERE: Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta

-- TV: WATL (My ATL)

-- MILL CREEK (0-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAAAA): Finished 13-1 and as 6-AAAAAAA champs in 2016, lost in the Class AAAAAAA semifinals to eventual state champion Grayson

-- McEACHERN (0-0, 0-0 Region 3-AAAAAAA): Finished 11-2 and as 3-AAAAAAA champs in 2016, reached the Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals

-- NOTABLE: Mill Creek leads series 1-0, The Hawks beat the Indians 31-28 in the Class AAAAAAA quarterfinals in 2016. ... It was an instant classic last season in the playoffs but both teams come in with some questions in 2017. Gone for the Hawks are QB Cameron Turley (Ga. Tech baseball signee), RB Joe Thomas, WR Edmond Graham, and a slew of offensive linemen on offense. The Indians graduated QB Bailey Hockman (Florida State-signee) and WR Quay Holmes from their prolific attack. The Hawks also lost DC Bill Stewart to North Gwinnett so it will be interesting to see how they respond will so many changes across the board. ... Look for both Brady Longnecker and Caden Cullins to take snaps at QB for the Hawks. Also expect a RB-by-committee flow early for Mill Creek with Rafael Morales, Uriah Leverette, C.J. Johnson and Montreon Smith all expected to get carries. ... Both defenses should once again be solid, though Mill Creek is replacing their entire starting linebacking corp. Don’t expect a shootout this time around but it could once again come down to the final possession.

NORTH GWINNETT vs. WALTON (KELL CLASSIC)

-- WHEN: 8:45 p.m. 

-- WHERE: Georgia State Stadium, Atlanta

-- TV: WATL (My ATL)

-- NORTH GWINNETT (0-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAAAA): Finished 6-5 in 2016, reached first round Class AAAAAAA playoffs

-- WALTON (0-0, 0-0 Region 4-AAAAAAA): Finished 4-6 in 2016

-- NOTABLE: North Gwinnett lads series 3-1. The two teams met four times from 2004-07, including twice in the playoffs. North Gwinnett won the last meeting 31-7 in the 2007 Class AAAA semifinals. The Bulldogs have won three straight in the series. ... This is the first meeting since that 2007 playoff showdown. Both teams come feeling they have something to prove, not just to themselves but the rest of Class AAAAAAA. ... The Bulldogs were a playoff powerhouse from 2006-13 reaching the quarterfinals or better six times, including a pair of state championship appearances. The Raiders made the semifinals or better three times from 2004-11, including the 2011 state title game. ... Walton missed out on the playoffs for just the third time since 2000 last season and also had to make a coaching change promoting defensive coordinator Daniel Brunner to take over the head spot from Mo Dixon, who left to take the DC position at Colquitt County. ... North Gwinnett also had to make a change at the top when the program’s all-time winningest coach, Bob Sphire, left to take over at Camden County. Former Mill Creek DC Bill Stewart is now in Suwanee and he has a solid back-7 on defense that could make his first season something to build on. Senior QB Cade Fortin Cade Fortin (1,841 yards passing, 16 TDs, 3 INTs; 512 yards rushing, 3 TDs in 2016) also returns for his third season under center and will have the team’s leading receiver from 2016 in Sr. LJ Fisher (33 rec., 591 yards, 8 TDs) as his primary target again.

Source : http://accesswdun.com/article/2017/8/570798/week-0-caps-aug-18

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