Crystal Ball: Week Eight Predictions
It’s Week Eight! Hard to believe, but when the final game wraps up under the lights, we will be 2/3 of the way through the regular season! Here are the games on tap for Week Eight!
DISCLAIMER: We dissect the numbers, check against other projections, utilize the brain and not the heart. If we pick against any of our beloved 11 programs, take it as a diss if you want, or use it as motivation. We obviously would love to see all 11 programs win every single game, so we’ll celebrate even if we’re wrong if it means our locals walk off the field as winners.
THE LOCALS (Home Games Listed First)
Towns County Indians vs Commerce Tigers
Commerce is rejuvenated, while Towns County is all pumped up with one of its best starts in program history. This should be an interesting battle between the Tigers and Indians up in Hiawassee in what’s supposed to be a chilly evening come kickoff. Both teams love to run the ball, so that could make for a quick finish if the defenses bend but don’t break.
VERDICT: Fan Vote
#1 Rabun County Wildcats vs Grovetown Warriors
Rabun County breathes a sigh of relief after coming off the high of a 28-21 win at powerhouse #3-ranked Pierce County (defending state champs). Just a day later, Riverside Military baled on the Wildcats for their Week 8 Region 8-A opener, which also serves as Rabun’s Homecoming. Good news, Rabun quickly found a replacement with Grovetown, a 6A school that sports a 1-4 record. Oddly enough, the Cats still get credit for a region win over the RMA forfeit, but still get to play this game. It’s not quite the tough draw as the rest of the non-region schedule was, but it’s a larger school that again helps the Cats prepare for the long playoff run ahead.
VERDICT: Rabun County
Lumpkin County Indians vs North Hall Trojans
The Indians are on a 2-game win streak for the first time since 2016. Lumpkin will again play host, this time to North Hall. The Trojans have a lethal running game that will put a LOT of pressure on the Lumpkin defense. The good news is the Indians are growing offensively with each passing game, so North Hall will be forced to set the pace and stay out in front.
VERDICT: North Hall
Habersham Central Raiders vs Dacula Falcons
The Raiders are at a low point after 3 consecutive losses that have greatly derailed playoff aspirations. It’s not over yet though. Hosting Dacula won’t be easy, as the Falcons are and have been a very good team, making the second round of state or further every year since 2016. That includes a pair of semifinal runs in 2018-19, and 5 region titles going back to 2014. If somehow Habersham can pull off a mammoth upset, the Raiders would be back in line for a playoff spot. A loss all but ensures they’ll be held out of the postseason.
#10 Stephens County Indians vs Franklin County Lions
Stephens County has to quickly shake off the loss to undefeated Monroe Area. Or focus on the things that went well, like the play of Cam Lacy once again. Franklin is not quite at the level of Monroe, or the other state-ranked teams in the region like #4 Hart County or #1 Oconee County. However, the Lions hold their own. This is a MUST win for the Indians, who need to put heavy emphasis on each region game if they want a playoff bid.
VERDICT: Stephens County
Union County Panthers vs Banks County Leopards
The Panthers were the last local team to get that first W. Now that it’s done, it’s time to get off to a great start in region play. Momentum is riding high with Union and QB Logan Helcher (7 total TD last game), while the opposite is true for Banks County, which has dropped 2 straight and has only 39 total points scored all season. That’s just over a touchdown per contest. The defense hasn’t been too bad (aside from last week’s 56-0 loss to top-10 ranked Haralson County), but the offense has been shut out 3 times. We predict more points for Banks than a touchdown, but Union’s offense will be able to score more.
VERDICT: Union County
#1 Jefferson Dragons @ Cedar Shoals Jaguars
The Dragons were without starting QB Malaki Starks and backup Max Aldridge against East Hall. It didn’t matter, as Sammy Brown took over under center and shined. Still, Cedar Shoals is a good deal tougher than the Vikings were. Truly though, Starks or no Starks, the Dragons should fire past the Jags.
Dawson County Tigers @ Gilmer Bobcats
Dawson County got a well-earned BYE week to prep for this one, and Gilmer is coming off a crushing loss to Lumpkin County. The Tigers should claw through the Bobcats’ defense, which allowed 32 points to Lumpkin.
VERDICT: Dawson County
White County Warriors @ West Hall Spartans
The Warriors continue to slide further at now 1-5 overall. About the only things going right are the explosive plays by Darius Cannon, Silas Mulligan, and the emergence of freshman QB Tripp Nix (sets up well for the future). Letting games get away by blowing second half leads is happening too frequently. White County needs a rebound in a huge way. That can’t be overstated. The Warriors have to win this game. A win here makes for a stretch of 3 games that are very winnable for White County that could get the Warriors back on track for the playoffs. A loss would be crippling to any playoff hope.
VERDICT: White County
Predicted winners are in bold
#4 Hart County vs #1 Oconee County
Chestatee vs East Hall
Johnson vs Jackson County
Denmark vs Lambert
#6 Flowery Branch @ North Oconee
East Jackson @ #6 Monroe Area
Lakeview @ King’s Ridge
CANCELED: Riverside @ Rabun (Rabun found replacement game)
BYE WEEKS: Gainesville, #1 Buford, #8 Cherokee Bluff