Editor's Note: This week's Patch Gwinnett Game of the Week was determined by a . This week, readers overwhelmingly chose Dacula vs. Mill Creek.
For Mill Creek and Dacula high schools, last football season was a prime example why you can't take early games as make-or-break encounters.
Cases in point:
Dacula lost its first two games (including a 35-27 decision to Mill Creek), started 3-3, then won its next six games until losing to eventual Class AAAAA runner-up Walton in the state quarterfinals.
Mill Creek started 3-0, then lost five of its final seven games to finish 5-5 and out of the playoffs.
- For a season preview on both teams, see these articles from the Gwinnett Daily Post: Dacula Falcons and Mill Creek Hawks.
The neighboring programs begin their respective seasons against each other Friday at Mill Creek in a game between two teams that have to be considered playoff contenders.
Both teams graduated their top players from last year — prolific Mill Creek quarterback John Russ, and Dacula's all-everything playmaker Rocky Capobianco.
Both both teams should be able to move the ball despite the losses. Dacula QB Brandon Goodson returns and Mill Creek RB Jacorey Lewis is a returning 1,000-yard rusher,
This appears to be an even matchup, much like last year's meeting. Give Mill Creek points for being at home, where it looked good in its preseason scrimmage with Parkview. But it's difficult to look past Dacula's playoff pedigree.
PREDICTION: Dacula 24, Mill Creek 21
A.C. Flora, S.C. at (Sat.): North Gwinnett excels in these big showdowns. North 30, A.C. Flora 21.
Apalachee at : MaxPreps.com has Apalachee listed as a 30-point fave. Who are we to argue with that? Apalachee 42, Lanier 17.
at Elbert County: State-ranked matchup in AAA, but this is Buford, right? Buford 33, Elbert 20.
at : Eagles soar at home before travelling to Dacula. Collins Hill 21, Central Gwinnett 10.
Duluth at : Some think Duluth can squeeze into the playoffs in Region 7-AAAAAA. Duluth 35, Berkmar 17.
at : Can Meadowcreek end a 38-game losing streak? It has to end sometime, and maybe it's Friday. Or not. Shiloh 21, Meadowcreek 12.
Miami Central at : The Game of the Week if you're not from Dacula or Mill Creek. . Go with the home team. Grayson 30, Miami Central 28.
at : These Lawrenceville-area schools have high expectations. Archer may be a step ahead. Archer 24, Mountain View 17.
at : Norcross looks great on paper. Can the Blue Devils fulfill the expectations? Norcross 33, South Gwinnett 28.
at : Are the Lions of the Ridge as bad as they showed last week? How impactful will Parkview's large senior class be? Parkview 20, Peachtree Ridge 17.
Savannah at : Savannah has not won more than two games in a season in seven years. GAC 34, Savannah 12.
- at Holy Innocents’: This would a great season-opening win for the Wolves. Wesleyan 17, Holy Innocents' 14.
So, what do you think of the above picks? Let us know your predictions in the comment box below.