Welcome to the Blitz, my all out assault on Gwinnett County high school football. I've got a lot of stuff in this first blog. Some preseason info and predictions and of course a recap of Saturday's Corky Kell games at the Georgia Dome.
This blog is for you the fans, so give me some feedback. I'd love to hear what others think about Gwinnett County football, the best in the state.
Also, in case you haven't checked it out, our annual high school preview was in Sunday's paper. It has schedules, rosters, projected starters and lots of other great info on all 19 Gwinnett football teams.
Here's a few questions I've been thinking about the last few weeks for the upcoming season.
Will Meadowcreek win a game this season?
Yes. This may be more wishful thinking or sympathy for the Mustangs, but I like
their chances in the first two weeks. In case you're out of the loop, the Mustangs have a 42-game losing streak dating back to 2003. The streak ends this season, hopefully this Friday.
Will Gwinnett have a state champion this year?
No. First off, Region 7 and Region 8 play each other in the first round of the playoffs, so that will knock out half of Gwinnett's teams. Even if a Gwinnett team makes it to the finals, defending state champion Lowndes is loaded and will likely repeat.
Gwinnett's best hope is in Class AA with Buford, but the Wolves have a lot of holes to fill.
Of the six new coaches in Gwinnett, which will have the most success?
That's easy. Greater Atlanta Christian's Ken Robinson. The Spartans
return a slew of talent and it should be an easy transition for GAC.
Who has the toughest schedule?
North Gwinnett has the toughest schedule. Not only do the Bulldogs open with the No. 1 team in the nation, six of their 10 regular season games are against playoff teams. North, last year's state runner-up, plays No. 1 Byrnes (SC), Brookwood, Norcross and Mill Creek in four of its first five games.
Peachtree Ridge and Buford also have pretty tough schedules. The Lions have got Harrison and defending state champion Lowndes the first two weeks and then Norcross and North Gwinnett to end the season.
Buford travels to Texas to take on one of the Lonestar state's best teams then comes back to host North Hall and Lovett. North Hall reached the Class AAA semis last year and Lovett lost to Buford in the state championship game. Throw in games against private school powers Westminster and GAC to end the season and that's a pretty tough road for the defending Class AA state champs.
Here's my preseason all-county team. What do you think of the team?
· QB Michael Tamburo, Sr., North Gwinnett
Led the county in passing with 2,311 yards and 19 TDs
· RB D.J. Adams, Sr., Norcross
Maryland commit rushed 1,274 yards and 18 TDs
· RB Brandon Jacobs, Sr., Parkview
Auburn commit rushed for 818 yards and 7 TDs
· WR Malcolm Moulton, Sr., Central Gwinnett
Caught 40 pass for 545 yards and 5 TDs last year
· WR Julian Horton, Jr., GAC
Had 32 receptions for 564 yards and 2 TDs
· WR Tyler Jarry, Sr., North Gwinnett
Set a county record with 72 catches last year for 804 yards
· OL Kellen Williams, Sr., Brookwood
Alabama commitment leader for Broncos' line
· OL Dallas Lee, Sr., Buford
Georgia commit paved way for Wolves' rushing attack
· OL Jake Thomas, Sr., North Gwinnett
Leader for Bulldogs' O-line
· OL Max Garcia, Jr., Norcross
Division I prospect and returning starter for Blue Devils
· OL Jacob Mwinami, Sr., Grayson
Anchor of Grayson line that led way to 1,973 yards by running backs
· K Robert Boccolucci, Sr., GAC
Was 24-for-27 on PATs last year and made 6 of 11 field goals
· DL Ryan Robinson,Sr., Mill Creek
Division I prospect had 61 tackles and 6 sacks last year
· DL Andrew Sachais, Sr., Buford
Led county in sacks last year with 10
· DL Cameron Whigham, Sr., Shiloh
Division I prospect the anchor of Generals defense
· LB Kevin Minter, Peachtree Ridge
LSU commit had 98 tackles last season
· LB Steven Smith, Sr., Norcross
Had 110 tackles, 6 sacks last year
· LB Troy Davis, Sr., Berkmar
Central Florida commit had 73 tackles as defensive lineman last year
· LB Chris Martin, Sr., Brookwood
Led Broncos defense with 91 stops last year
· LB Daryle Wesley, Berkmar, Sr.
Second in the county in tackles last year with 137
· DB Kadeem Wise, Sr., Berkmar
Duke commit had 60 tackles last season
· DB Prince Kent, Sr., Norcross
Miami commit had 59 tackles last year
· DB Chris Boggs, Sr., Mill Creek
Posted 54 tackles and 3 INTs for Hawks last year
· P Justin Mack, Sr., Duluth
Second in the county punting last year with a 39-yard average
The rankings are little tough to do when four local teams have already played and the rest play this Friday. I decided to throw out this past weekend's game and just went solely on how teams fared last year and what they have coming back this season.
Let me know what you think of the rankings and feel free to post your own, even if it's only a Top 10 list.
3. North Gwinnett
5. Peachtree Ridge
8. Mill Creek
12. Central Gwinnett
13. South Gwinnett
14. Collins Hill
Thoughts from the Corky Kell
· Norcross receiver Prince Kent only caught seven passes for 74 yards last year. There was a lot of factors that played into that - it was his first year of football and seniors Brice Butler (USC) and Devonta Bolton (Alabama) were the other receivers.
Either way it looks like Kent will be the Blue Devils' go to guy this year. Kent, a Miami commitment, caught eight passes for 83 yards in Saturday's loss to Camden County, including a nice leaping grab on fourth down.
· I liked what I saw out of the guy getting Kent the ball - quarterback Charles King. The senior battled for the starting job last year, but eventually Nick Sorel became Norcross' starting quarterback. King did see action last year, but it wasn't always pretty.
In Saturday's game, King faced a lot pressure from a very good Camden defense. King was sacked five times and hurried I don't know how many times. King finished the day 16 of 28 for 183 yards and one INT. If Norcross can get King a little extra time to throw, and I'm sure they will, King should put up some nice numbers to Kent, Arius Wright and Matt Autry at receiver.
· A lot of Norcross' offensive load was put on King with Norcross unable to move the ball on the ground. Running back D.J. Adams, a Maryland commitment, had one of his worst games statistically. Adams was held to 26 yards on 13 carries. His longest carry was for nine yards and began the game with five touches for 23 yards, but it was downhill after that.
I'll be looking to see how Adams responds next week against South Gwinnett.
· The only points Norcross was able to put up was two field goals by Conner Hawk. The junior missed a 48 yard field, but it looked like he had plenty of distance, just pushed it to the left. He then hit from 30 and 32 yards. Hawk also had three touchbacks on kickoffs.
I'm sure kicking indoors in the Dome helped Hawk, but he could be one of the top kickers in the county this year.
· A lot of times when I'm covering games I don't get to watch the offensive line as much as I would like. I'm usually following the quarterback or running back for stat purposes.
With Will Hammock covering the Brookwood game, I got a chance to watch Brookwood's line, particularly Alabama commitment Kellen Williams.
A lot of times when I hear about big linemen going to Division I schools I wonder how good they are. I've seen some that end up being pretty soft. Williams definitely isn't. On most of the plays I watched him he did a good job not only blocking the down linemen, but pulling and getting in front of linebackers.
Williams is Brookwood's only returning starter on the line and the Broncos shuffled several players along the line Saturday. You could tell there was some confusion at times, but Brookwood traditionally has one of the strongest offensive lines in the county and this year should be no different with Williams leading the way.
· Kudos to Grayson for picking up Gwinnett's only win at the Corky Kell. Had Gwinnett gone 0-for-3 in the kickoff classic the rest of the state would be ragging the county.
Ean Pemberton racked up 113 yards in the win. In a county with Division I running backs D.J. Adams and Brandon Jacobs, Pemberton is one to watch out for - if you can. He's only about 5-foot-4, but he rushed for 868 yards last year as a sophomore. The little guy has a good combination of power and speed and look for him to go over 1,000 yards this season.
That's it for this week. Check back next week and we'll talk about how everyone did in the first full week of the season.
Questions, comments, thoughts or ideas? I'd love to hear them. Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org