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Running back V’ontae Hampton will be a key part of the game plan as Woodstock looks to beat Alpharetta and jump back into the playoff race in Region 5AAAAAAA.

A pair of teams looking for their first Region 5AAAAAAA win will square off for the first time Friday when Woodstock hosts Alpharetta.

Alpharetta (1-3, 0-1) and Woodstock (2-4, 0-1) will be looking to bounce back after losses in their region openers last week. Woodstock fell 41-7 at Cherokee, while Alpharetta lost 35-20 at home to Milton.

The winner of Friday’s game will still be in the playoff hunt in the six-team region, while the loser will likely be on the outside looking in.

Woodstock fell behind early against Cherokee and finished with its second-lowest point total and the most points allowed of the season. The Wolverines struggled to run the ball with just 16 yards, but they finished with 236 passing yards.

The emergence and maturation of new starting quarterback Dan Comeau has been a central theme of Woodstock’s offense as the sophomore has passed for 699 yards and six touchdowns in three starts.

Still, coach Brent Budde said the passing game needs improvement.

“Offensively, we’ve got to complete more passes,” Budde said. “We threw for a good amount of yards, but we’ve got to increase our efficiency. We need our completion percentage to be up near 60% at least.”

Budde also praised the play of Woodstock’s offensive line — Tyler Douthit, Chase Soutar, Grant Ruyle, Josh Shackelford and J.T. Hunter — along with defensive linemen Brett Stefan and David Pabis.

“Our offensive line does a fantastic job in pass protection and picking up pressures,” Budde said. “We haven’t been taking sacks or really feeling pressure, and that’s a tribute to how well those guys are playing.”

Alpharetta’s three losses have come at the hands of three perennial playoff teams — North Cobb, Collins Hill, Milton — and the Raiders were competitive in each contest. They are surrendering more points (23.2 per game) than they are scoring (19), but the pieces are in place to make a run within the region.

Alpharetta quarterback Ben Gutherie is capable of beating teams with both his arm and legs, and tackling in the open field will be key Friday. The matchup between Georgia commit David Daniel and the Alpharetta receiving corps could be an intriguing battle. Daniel leads Woodstock and is fourth in Cherokee County with 54 tackles.

Defensively, Alpharetta has a pair of defensive backs — Jaden Slocum (Stanford) and Dylan Merrell (Duke) — committed to Power Five schools. Linebacker Vito Perri has also drawn college attention.

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