It's early in the season and a lot of things can happen between now and the playoffs. The Blue Devils are facing a tough opponent and the season's first regional game.
The Big Game I
That's what we're calling Friday's Norcross-North Gwinnett game in Suwanee. Big, because it could very well end up deciding the Region 7-AAAAAA. Big Game I, because we expect the season-ender between Grayson and Brookwood on Nov. 9 to have a similar role in determing the 8-AAAAAA title (thus Big Game II).
The big question heading into this game is whether or not Norcross can step up after losing five straight times to the Bulldogs. The Blue Devils look to be as good defensively as they've ever been. In , Norcross assistant coach Corey Richardson noted that Tommy Tate, Kevin Mouhon, Jahmal Jones, Jarmarcus Connally, Lorenzo Carter, Shon Akins and Jordan Noil all had standout defensive efforts. That's a pretty big group, coach.
The game will be featured by Georgia Public Broadcasting. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. .
You've gotta like what Central Gwinnett High School has done with its first two football games. The Black Knights are 2-0, averaging 36 points and have perhaps the county's best passing duo in quarterback . Last week, they combined for 10 completions for 251 yards and three touchdowns.
Westmoreland is a multi-talented player, with 569 yards passing, 128 yards rushing and a punting average of 36 yards. He accounted for five TDs in last week's 45-42 win over Clarke Central.
Some might question Central's ability to stop opposing offenses, but for now, we like what the O is doing. And don't be surprised if the Black Knights are 4-0 when they play at Grayson on Oct. 5.
Can the Generals go 3-0?
Get that surprised look off your face. This Friday's Region 8-AAAAAA football opener between Berkmar and Shiloh is a big game. Stop rolling your eyes. For real.
Without much fanfare, these perennial also-rans — who won two games between them last year — have gotten off to good starts.
Shiloh is 2-0 and with a win over Berkmar can go 3-0 for the first time since 1991, when the old ball coach Charlie Jordan was running the show. Berkmar is 1-1, but just a play or two away from a 2-0 start (the Patriots lost 22-15 to Duluth in the opener).
Now, the outcome may not shake up the hierarchy in the region, but it's refreshing to talk about these teams putting W's on the board.
"All we are trying to do is keep getting better and keep getting better." Berkmar coach Johnathan Sanks told the Gwinnett Daily Post after last week's 56-6 win over Meadowcreek. "I think this gives our guys a lot of confidence to think that we can be in every ball game. I think it is very good for our confidence but we still got a long ways to go."
--For the second time in three weeks, a game involving a Gwinnett County team was decided by a field goal at the buzzer. Last week, Collins Hill kicker Mitchell Blanchard made a 50-yarder in a 24-22 win over Dacula. Two weeks ago in the Georgia Dome, North Gwinnett's Michael D'Angola made a 33-yarder as time expired to beat Colquitt County in the Corky Kell Classic. Pretty cool trend so far.
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--If Parkview has its sights on upsetting top-ranked Grayson, it's going to need to get into the end zone when the Rams travel to Lilburn Friday. The Panthers should have some defensive success against the run-oriented Rams, but it's offense that they really need. Parkview (1-1) has scored only three points in two games. Grayson has had a week off after its impressive 35-3 romp over Miami Central, so you'll know the Rams will be rested and ready.
--In his column called The Blitz, Gwinnett Daily Post writer Brandon Brigman opined that Mill Creek is a playoff-caliber team despite its 31-21 loss at Brookwood last week. We couldn't agree more. The Hawks (1-1) blew out Dacula 35-0 in its opener and look ready to challenge in Region 7-AAAAAA. It will be interesting to see what happens in the region standings; Norcross and North Gwinnett both must play in Hoschton.
--The 200-yard club: At least five Gwinnett rushers have gained more than 200 yards in a game so far — Jacorey Lewis (Mill Creek), Chris Carson (Parkview), Marcus Cox (Dacula), Kyle Scales (Greater Atlanta Christian), and Josh Brown (Brookwood). So, who's next?
-- Gainesville's 19-15 win over Buford last week as the first win over Wolves for the Red Elephants. It was especially sweet for Gainesville senior linebacker Michael Pittman, who played at Buford his freshman season. “This means everything to me,” Pittman told the Gainesville Times.
Player of the Week
Myles Autry, Norcross: In a week of big stat games turned in by other Gwinnett players, Autry was as valuable as anybody. With starting running back Alvin Kamara nursing an injury, Autry rushed for 76 yards, caught a big touchdown pass just before halftime, and scored on a 72-yard punt return that broke the game open in a 20-0 win over Parkview.
Quote of the Week
"We've got some guys who don't come off the field on a Friday night. It's sort of old-school, throwback football." — Greater Atlanta Christian coach Tim Hardy, speaking to the Gwinnett Daily Post after last week's 31-21 win over Apalachee. The Spartans are 3-0.