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Two of Georgia's best went head to head on Friday night and Stephens County continued their streak over Habersham Central with a 31-24 win. Tauren Poole will go undefeated against Tavarres King in high school and he made a couple of crucial runs to help the Indians overcome a valiant effort by King, a freshman quarterback and the rest of the Raiders.
"I had to step it up a bit when it came up on those big third down runs and then the fourth down run I had late in the game," said a happy Poole. "We have plenty of great leaders on this team, but I wanted to put it on my shoulders when the game was on the line."
The 5-foot-10, 196-pound back showed his strengths early and often Friday night. He knows how to get skinny when hitting the hole, he showed quick feet when changing directions and he added a couple nice spin moves towards the end of plays to make the runs longer.
At the end of the night, Poole had 154 yards on 31 carries and three touchdowns. His longest run was 21 yards as the Raider defense was able to contain him for most of the game. The man that stepped up and made plays for the Indians while guiding them to the 31-28 victory was one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the state of Georgia.
"We just wanted to take what they would give us," said Ethan Martin. "It is awesome to get this win over a very good and very tough team. They played hard, we played hard and I just wanted to do whatever it took to move the chains."
Martin showed great decision making skills, he threw the ball well on the run and he finished the night with 210 yards passing while completing 10 of 18 attempts.
He definitely showed he has the ability to play on the next level if he chooses.
"Right now I am still committed to Clemson to play baseball, but I have not shut the doors on football. I still hear from Clemson, Georgia Tech and some others about football. I still want to see what my options are. I would like to play both sports in college if I can."
Poole played well, Martin stepped up his game and Stephens County won their fourth in a row over Habersham Central, but the story of the night may have been on the losing team.
Senior starting quarterback Bo Hatchett went down with a concussion mid way through the first quarter and the man brought into the game off the bench was freshman Austin Brown.
Brown just transferred up to Habersham Central from Starr's Mill recently and he played his first game as a Raider Thursday in the junior varsity game. He came into this game and they quickly got down 21-7.
Brown then settled down and threw a touchdown pass to Tavarres King in the corner of the end zone late in the first half. The Indians marched back down the field at the end of the half and kicked a field goal to go into the break with a 24-14 lead.
Most thought the game was over because Hatchett was lost for the game and King had been battling cramps, but that was not the case. Austin led the Raiders back with a big third quarter when he hit Josh Anderson with a 41-yard touchdown pass on their first possession.
After that, the Raiders pulled out a little trickery and kicked an onside kick which they recovered. The freshman led them back down the field to take the lead 28-24.
"I was nervous when I first got in, but I knew I needed to step up and help the seniors," said Brown. "I have tried to learn as much as I could from Bo since I have been here and he has helped me a lot."
"When the coach called for me to go in after he got hurt, I was excited and I wanted to do well."
Do well is what the class of 2011 quarterback did. Brown completed 12 passes on 21 attempts while throwing two touchdowns and one interception. His teammates were very complimentary of his performance.
"Ah man, Austin did great," said King. "He really gave us a chance to win and we are all real proud of him. He came in and did everything he could for this team."
King did the same, but he could not get rid of the cramps in his hamstring that started in the second quarter.
"It was hard to lay on the ground over there for 10 minutes and listen to the game. I did not know what was going on because I was in so much pain. The most frustrating part for me was knowing I could have helped the team, but I wasn't able to."
The cramps kept King out of much of the third quarter and into the fourth. He tried to make a come back in the fourth and one play was all he could go.
"They had stretched me out real good, I had put a lot of liquids in my system and did everything I could to be ready, so I went in and caught a post and both of my legs cramped up again."
"It was really ticking me off because I wanted to be out there. I knew we had a chance and I wanted to help in every way."
King finished the night with seven receptions for 68 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a punt for over 40 yards and played many snaps at defensive back.
Oklahoma Sooner commitment Daniel Franklin finished with double-digit tackles as he really attacked the ball. He showed good instincts and the ability to make plays.
Lovejoy struggles, but Harris still shines
The Lovejoy Wildcats are off to a rough start in 2007 with an 0-2 record. They dropped game one to Sprayberry 6-0 last week and this weekend they fell to Mundy's Mill 28-14. The Wildcats have sent out many top prospects over the years including Chris Scott to Tennessee, Keith Fitzhugh and Michael Heard to Mississippi State and Mario Fannin to Auburn.
The next star is going to be 2009 offensive lineman Andre Harris. Harris plays much lighter than his listed size of 6-foot-4 and 345-pounds. His footwork makes you think he is playing at 280-pounds.
The Lovejoy offense is spread out and Harris gets a lot of reps out of the two-point stance as a pass blocker. That is a real strength of his as the quarterback never has to worry about his backside.
His technique and agility really jump out at you as he protects his quarterback, but Harris feels good about paving the way for his running back.
"Run blocking is something I think I do well," said Harris. "I think I can create some nice holes for the backs to run through. I think I have good power and I like to pancake the defensive players."
Harris had a few of those pancake blocks Thursday night against Mundy's Mill. The team lost, but Harris played a very good game. He did not give up a sack, the quarterback was not pressured from his side.
"I think I played pretty well, but it is a team game. We just have to come together and win some games. We have not played well yet, but we can get it together."
"I was pretty happy with how I played though. I had some nice blocks and I think I have played pretty well the first two games."
At the weight Harris is now, he may have to trim down a bit to be successful on the next level. He is aware of that and he has a target in mind.
"I need to get down to 310-315 pounds," said the Rivals.com junior to watch. "I know I could play better at that weight and I'm going to work on that."
Weight does not seem to be an issue for Harris right now because he is dominant. The ends can't get around him on the edge, he leads the way for the running backs and his mobility is impressive.
Lovejoy may be off to a slow start, but Harris continues to shine through it as a prospect. He will definitely be one to watch in Georgia the next two seasons as he is already getting attention from the likes of Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Colorado, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame to name a few.
A new name on the radar
Tory Allen is a prospect that is putting his name on the map. This is the senior's first year playing football after focusing on basketball for much of his youth.
He is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound rush end with a lot of speed and quickness. "Allen is a football player that has been playing basketball," one of the Wildcat coaches said. That statement has looked to be true after two games.
He had three sacks in game one and he had one sack and a couple of tackles for loss Thursday night.
Allen is very raw, not very fundamental, but he looks to be extremely athletic and talented. Just in the short time on the field this fall, a couple of schools have already begun to show interest.
"I have heard from North Carolina and Georgia so far," said Allen. "They both contacted my coach about me."
His name has not even hit the scene yet, but it will. He is in the same mold as FSU commitment Keith Wells and Tennessee commitment Steven Fowlkes.
The frame Allen has is long and lean, but he has room to grow and his athleticism is very appealing. The game of football is new to him, but that is not a bad thing. He does not have those bad habits to break and college coaches will be able to mold him into the player they want him to be.
Allen is a versatile athlete that could play rush end or even outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Either way, he once thought basketball was his ticket to college, but that has changed.
"I am looking to play football and sign a football scholarship," he said. "I am really having fun playing and I think I can do well. I am open to anyone and I am excited about the opportunity."