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Habersham Central at Duluth preview

Duluth’s Bryant Pinkney

Duluth’s Bryant Pinkney

Habersham Raiders (7-AAAAAA)

Coach: Michael Pollock

Record: 0-8, 0-6 region

Last week: Lost to North Gwinnett 41-0

Duluth Wildcats (7-AAAAAA)

Coach: Jason Conner

Record: 1-6, 1-4 region

Last week: Lost to Mill Creek 43-3

After running a brutal gauntlet that has included state-ranked opponents in four of its last five games, the Wildcats get winless Habersham Central, which has lost its last 11 contests dating back to last year. But as much as the Raiders have struggled, they do have some weapons, including Sydnee Mulligan and John David Herrin, who alternate between QB and running back.

Duluth head coach Jason Conner knows it will take a few adjustments for the Wildcats to deal with the different looks.

“Anytime you play defense, the first thing you want to do is stop the run,” Conner said. “It’s not always possible, but I think we can match size and strength with (Habersham), and use our speed to our advantage. Anytime a team plays in two different systems, it’s a challenge for the defense.”

But perhaps the biggest challenge for the Wildcats on Friday may be holding up for a full 48 minutes, especially given how they faded in the second half after solid first-half performances against North Gwinnett and Mill Creek the last two weeks. Conner said his team must look to leaders like defensive back Bryant Pinkey to set the example.

“Obviously when you’re 1-6, you just want win every game you can to move forward and finish the season strong,” Conner said. “Mill Creek was one of the most physical teams we’ve played, but … we’re just looking to play (a full) four quarters this week.”

Last meeting: Duluth won 56-14 last year

Directions to Duluth High School: From I-85, take Ga. Highway 120 east to Buford Highway and turn right. Take a left at the next light onto Brock Road and school is on the left.