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SUNDAY PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Knights, Wildcats 3-0 after clearing early season hurdles

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

SAVANNAH -- It might be too early to tell, but Deerfield-Windsor might have played two of the top teams in GISA Region 1-AAA in its first three games.

The Knights opened with a 28-6 victory against Sherwood Christian two weeks ago, then beat Bethesda Day, 28-14, on Friday to improve to 3-0 and start the region race at 2-0.

"I don't know if they're the two best teams because we have a long way to go,'' DWS coach Allen Lowe said Saturday. "But we have seen some great athletes so far. Athletically, we have seen two of the best teams. We've seen a lot of speed. Bethesda may be even bigger than Sherwood.''

Nothing has slowed down Deerfield, which is adjusting to life without 2009 Herald Player of the Year Tony Zenon, who is now at Georgia Tech.

"We're answering a lot of questions as we go,'' Lowe said. "We're starting to figure out our identify on offense.''

DWS' offense has a lot of weapons, and that's why the Knights don't miss Zenon, who gained 2,268 yards and scored 27 touchdowns last year.

Quarterback Banks Kinslow has been the picture of poise at Deerfield, where he has already set a shool record with four TD passes in the first quarter against Stratford last week, and he completed 10-of-14 for 94 yards and a TD in Friday's big win against Bethesda Day.

The magic number for Deerfield on Friday night was 33. That's how many offensive plays the Knights ran in the first half as they built a 28-7 lead. That's Kinslow, a fiery leader who can burn you at any place on the field, and a cool, calm manager who can orchestrate drives.

The Knights have proven they can run the ball, too. Just look at the game Davis Moore had Friday night. Moore, who can catch, run, and also play defense, gained 146 yards on 17 carries and scored on a 43-yard run. Quinten Heard, a converted tight end, who now runs the ball, scored on a 9-yard run and caught a 9-yard TD pass from Kinslow. James Tyson also scored on a 14-yard run for the Knights.

Deerfield, which has played in the state title game the last two years, is actually off to a better start without Zenon. A year ago, DWS faced a brutal schedule early and started the season 1-2 before rolling from that point on into the state title game against George Walton, which beat DWS in the opener and again in the state title game.

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WHAT IN THE WORLD, WESTWOOD?:

Nobody in their right mind would have predicted Westwood, with just two seniors -- Jake Edore and Carlton Brooks -- would be 3-0 right now. Comeback wins over non-region foes SGA (GISA Class AA), Tiftarea and Sherwood Christian (both AAA) have made the Wildcats an early favorite in Region 2-A -- and maybe all of Class A.

Westwood has won all three games by a total of seven points and head coach Ross Worsham just hopes the magic continues when region play starts in two weeks.

"I hope this isn't all for naught," Worsham said.

Edore said there's plenty of fuel left in the Wildcats.

"We've always got something left in the tank," said Edore, who kicked a 30-yard field goal in Friday's 10-7 win over Sherwood, ran the ball 17 times, caught three passes for 96 yards, punted twice for an average of 23 yards and played the whole game on defense.

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SHERWOOD LEANS ON GREEN:

Sherwood Christian junior wideout and defensive back Mack Green's 40-yard touchdown run as time expired in the first half Friday was a sight to behold. He caught a 15-yard pass as time ran out, juked a few defenders on the sideline and took off across the field picking up blocks along the way. Green touched the ball just three times on offense (two catches for 49 yards; one carry for five yards), but he is explosive as a runner. He also intercepted a pass and returned it for 30 yards.

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GOOD WILL LEADING:

He may not have filled up the stat sheet, but Worth County quarterback Will Peacock did his best to lead the Rams Friday night, only the game ended in a 28-14 loss to Cook.

Peacock was 3 of 7 for 27 passing yards and three interceptions and was sacked three times for negative 25 yards, but he very well could have been the star of the game by virtue of a particularly gritty sequence.

With about six minutes left in the game and the Rams down, 7-6, Peacock led his team on a drive from the 50 yard line. After a few solid runs and some penalties on Cook, the Rams got down to the 32, but faced a fourth and five.

Worth went for it as Peacock threw a perfect pass to junior Kareem McDaniel -- who nearly caught it -- but Cook was called for pass interference. The Rams moved up to the 17 yard line, but on the very next play, Peacock was pummeled on a late hit by Cook.

He injured his shoulder and laid on the grass for a few seconds before going to the sidelines for the next play, when the Rams were able to move up to the 1.

That's when Peacock came back and handed the ball off to running back Keion Ray for a 1-yard touchdown, then hit TE Trey Frager for a two-point conversion reception to make it 14-7, Rams.

"(My shoulder) hurt real bad," Peacock said. "But I had to go in there and be there for my team."

It should have been the game-winning drive, but Cook scored three times in the final five minutes -- two on long passes and one on an interception return for a touchdown.

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HERALD NO. 1 LEE ABOUT TO GET EVEN BETTER:

There's some good news and some better news for Lee County, which gets a bye week this week before beginning Region 1-AAAA play. The extra week couldn't have come at a better time, because the Trojans may get their best defensive player back in time for the opener.

Linebacker Thomas Wright, who led Lee County with more than 100 tackles last season, has been out all year with a knee injury. Wright wasn't expected back for another four weeks, but he is ahead of schedule and Lee County coach Dean Fabrizio said: "Wright might be back in time for the Northside, Columbus game.''

Lee County, which leads the state in scoring (162 points in three games), has also played well defensively. The Hayes twins have led the way in Wright's absence. That's Tervorris and Vanorris Hayes, who have nicknames to make it easier on the fans to tell them apart. Tervorris goes by "T" and Vonorris goes by "Red.''

James Terrell, Lee's electric receiver, has the best nickname on this team.

"They call me Scooter,'' he said. "Before I was born, they say I moved around a lot when my mother was pregnant. So after I was born, my grandmother called me Scooter.''

Scooter scooted into the end zone with three TD receptions on Friday against Terrell County, and has even thrown a 65-yard TD pass this season.

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Herald staff writers Mike Phillips, Daniel Kay and Matt Stewart contributed to this report