North Gwinnett quarterback Michael Tamburo was scrambling away from the Peachtree Ridge pass rush last Friday when his favorite receiver, Tyler Jarry, worked his way back toward the line of scrimmage to help out.
Suddenly, Jarry turned and bolted away from Tamburo. The QB then lofted a pass to his fellow junior, who was now behind the defense, and the result was a 56-yard gain to the 1-yard line. The play set up unbeaten North's first touchdown in a 31-19 win over defending Class AAAAA co-champion Peachtree Ridge.
It also was the perfect example of how important Jarry is to the Bulldogs, now No. 1 in AAAAA, and how good the chemistry is between him and Gwinnett's top returning quarterback.
"I told (Tamburo) that it was important to spread the ball around to the five skill positions and he's done a great job of that," North head coach Bob Sphire said. "Tyler's taken advantage of his opportunities and turned them into big plays."
Jarry has developed into a big-time playmaker in North's spread offense, spending half his time as a slot receiver and the other half at running back. He had 15 rushes for 61 yards and the game-clinching TD against Peachtree Ridge along with catching three passes for 70 yards.
His most important catch, the 56-yard hook-up with Tamburo, was attributed to the regular passing sessions the two had in the offseason.
"I think it was the offseason work (on that play)," Jarry said. "I think so because that play was strictly just scramble drill, him trusting me to get open and me trusting him to find me. I knew he was going to find me and I believe it was a product of our throwing in the summer."
Jarry has emerged as one of the county's most exciting offensive players, whether he gets the ball in the passing or rushing attack. He has a team-best 30 catches for 347 yards and five touchdowns, but also has rushed 68 times for 403 yards and eight more scores.
It's that versatility that makes Jarry an ideal fit for North's offense.
"He's a really talented, athletic young man," Sphire said. "He's maybe the fastest kid on the team. ... He's No. 1 in our weight room with vertical jump. He's got speed, athletic ability. He's very explosive as an athlete. But he's a very skilled football player, too.
"His performance has been critical to us because I think we've been real inconsistent on offense. We haven't played a 48-minute game on offense. But we've had some spots where we've made big plays and he's been a big part of that."
Jarry has enjoyed the spread offense, calling his role the "perfect position" for him. The hybrid wideout/running back position allows him to carry the ball, but also gets him heavily involved as a slot receiver, the position he said he likely will play at the next level.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder hasn't started considering colleges yet, but said his first letter came from Princeton football. Off the field, he maintains a 3.8 GPA, so an Ivy League school might be a possibility.
But right now all he's worried about is his junior season at North. He's part of a young group of Bulldog skill players that, coupled with a veteran defense, should make the team a formidable force in the state playoffs.
"I really want to win a region title first," said Jarry, whose team tests its new No. 1 ranking Friday when it hosts South Forsyth. "Before we do anything else, I'd like to do that. I don't know the last time North has done that. After that, we just want to get to the playoffs and see what we can do.
"Like every team, we want to get to the state championship and win it."
SideBar: THE JARRY FILE
Who: Tyler Jarry
School: North Gwinnett
Favorite movie: "Superbad"
Favorite food: Steak and mashed potatoes
Favorite athlete: Deion Sanders
Favorite music artist: Soulja Boy
' Has rushed for a team-high 383 yards and eight TDs
' Also leads North with 30 catches for 347 yards and five TDs
' Maintains a 3.8 GPA