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  Today, we preview the Falcons HS Game of the Week between Dacula and Walton. Also, check out the left panel for Thursday's football schedule.

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Thursday, Sept. 22
Americus-Sumter at Northside-Columbus

Cairo at Shaw

Carver-Columbus at Westover

McIntosh at Riverdale

Windsor Forest at Groves

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Thursday, September 22, 2016


Walton hosts Dacula for first time since their 2011 quarterfinals classic

Class AAAAAA Dacula at Class AAAAAAA Walton is the Atlanta Falcons High School Game of the Week. The last time Walton and Dacula faced was 2011. Current Ola head coach Jared Zito was leading a senior-laden Dacula squad into Raider Valley, where current Glynn Academy head coach Rocky Hidalgo's undefeated Raiders would host the quarterfinal showdown. Walton's Tyren Jones (Class AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year) ran for 156 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and returned a punt for a score, while Zack Blaylock (First-Team All State Defensive Back) had two crucial fourth-quarter interceptions to go with a 96-yard touchdown reception to help the Raiders hold on for a 21-13 victory.  In the five years since the Elite 8 classic, both programs have ushered in new coaching eras and seen a pendulum of successful and substandard seasons.  Dacula went 1-9 in 2012 and current head coach Tommy Jones took over the program the following 2013 season. The Falcons returned to contention and went on to finish 10-2 in 2014, but fell to 5-5 this past season. Walton plummeted to a 2-8 finish in 2014, before current head coach Mo Dixon led a 9-2 effort this past season in what marked his second season on the job.
Now, Dacula faces a 2-2 Walton team in Raider Valley, with a 1-3 record that includes three straight losses. This is the final non-region matchup for both teams.
Walton opened the year with back-to-back losses to Gwinnett schools. First, Norcross defeated the Raiders 46-14 in the MetroPCS Corky Kell Classic and the following week Brookwood roared past Walton for a 40-13 victory. A 59-33 win over rival Pope and a 35-14 win over neighboring Wheeler the past two weeks, however, has the Raiders back on track.
Dacula opened the season with a promising 34-13 win over visiting Central Gwinnett, but was outmatched by Mill Creek 30-0 the following week. The loss over the No. 1 ranked Hawks was vindicated, but a 24-21 loss to Arabia Mountain and a 31-14 loss to West Forsyth last Friday gives the Falcons one last chance to search for answers before region play opens up.

Two contrasting offensive styles will likely determine the outcome. Walton's offense is orchestrated by quarterback Addison Shoup, while Dacula will feature 6-foot-1, 220-pound running back Ty Harris in its run-oriented offense. 


By Craig Sager II

A dozen region games highlight Week 6 slate

Region 1 enters its second weekend of region games and three other regions open up conference play this week while the other half of the classification waits one last Friday. In total, 12 region games highlight the Week 6 slate.
In Region 1's four Week 6 matchups, every matchup features a team that won its region debut against a team that will look to avoid an 0-2 region start. On Thursday, Americus-Sumter (2-2, 1-0) faces Northside-Columbus (2-2, 0-1), Cairo (3-1, 1-0) squares off with Shaw (1-3, 0-1) and Carver-Columbus (2-2, 1-0) faces Westover (2-2, 0-1). Finally, Columbus (2-2, 1-0) will take on Hardaway (2-1, 0-1) on Friday, fresh off its first win over rival Shaw in 22 years.

In Region 4, Henry County and Luella are on a bye. Eastside opened the season with a 23-0 win over Luella that marked the first region game in the state. As a result of its region opener, the Eagles will face undefeated Oconee County out of Region 8 in one last non-region matchup while the rest of the region gets underway with a pair of games. Druid Hills (2-2) faces North Clayton (2-2) and Salem (3-1) visits No. 2 Woodward Academy (3-1), which comes off a 32-0 blowout over Marist.

In Region 5, Sandy Creek is off this week, which will stage three total games in this seven-team region. No. 1 Cartersville (4-0) will visit 3-1 Cedartown, LaGrange (1-3) travels to Central-Carroll (0-4) and Chapel Hill (2-1-1) clashes with Troup (3-1). This will mark the first meeting in school history for Troup and Chapel Hill. Central-Carroll is 0-6 all-time against LaGrange, and after winning 30 combined games over the last three seasons, the Lions are still looking for their first win of 2016 under first-year head coach Larry Kesler. Cartersville trails Cedartown 16-24-2 in their all-time series and this will be the Purple Hurricanes' first meeting with Cedartown since an 18-10 loss in 2011.
Like Sandy Creek in Region 5, Pickens will watch as the rest of seven-team Region 6 gets underway. Winless Gilmer (0-4) faces host Heritage-Catoosa (3-1), Southeast Whitfield (3-1) visits LaFayette (2-2) and Northwest Whitfield (2-2) goes to undefeated Ridgeland (3-0) to face the red-hot Panthers. Northwest Whitfield has won seven of its last eight meetings with Ridgeland and 14 of the 17 all-time meetings. This year's Ridgeland team, however, is off to 3-0 start for the first time since 2007 and is averaging more than 45 points per game, while allowing just 14 points per game defensively.

Friday, Sept. 23 (*Designates region game)
Region 1
*Americus-Sumter at Northside-Columbus (Kinnett Stadium) (Thursday)
*Cairo at Shaw (Columbus Memorial) (Thursday)
*Carver-Columbus at Westover (Mills Stadium) (Thursday)
*Hardaway at Columbus (Kinnett Stadium)
Region 2
Houston County at Spalding (Griffin Memorial)
Jordan at Upson-Lee
West Laurens at Warner Robins (McConnell Talbott Stadium)
OFF: Howard, Mary Persons
Region 3
Baldwin at Evans
Effingham County at Burke County
Cross Creek at Greenbrier
Hephzibah at Hancock Central
Richmond Academy at Grovetown
OFF: Thomson
Region 4
*North Clayton at Druid Hills (Adams Stadium)
Eastside at Oconee County
*Salem at Woodward Academy
OFF: Henry County, Luella
Region 5
*Cartersville at Cedartown
*LaGrange at Central-Carroll
*Chapel Hill at Troup (Callaway Stadium)
OFF: Sandy Creek
Region 6
*Gilmer at Heritage-Catoosa
*Southeast Whitfield at LaFayette
*Northwest Whitfield at Ridgeland
OFF: Pickens
Region 7
Blessed Trinity at McCallie, TN
Habersham Central at Chestatee
Chamblee at Marist
Rabun County at West Hall
White County at Dawson County
Region 8
Gainesville at Jefferson
Madison County at Franklin County
North Oconee at Winder-Barrow
Eastside at Oconee County
Lanier at St. Pius
Stephens County at Hart County

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