SUWANEE - The trick for North Gwinnett was not to overlook Duluth on Friday night to help set up a real treat for next week.
Led by Tyler Jarry's 101 yards rushing and three touchdowns, the Bulldogs posted their 11th straight win over the Wildcats with a 53-0 shutout on Senior Night.
The win extended North's record to 8-1 overall and 7-0 in Region 7-AAAAA, setting up next week's game at Peachtree Ridge, which beat Norcross 20-7, for the region title.
"We have some guys like Mikey (Tamburo) and Tyler (Jarry) that just come in and make plays," North head coach Bob Sphire said. "Every time the whistle blows, they are ready to play football. I thought our offensive line played well and our defense played pretty well."
Quarterback Mikey Tamburo delivered another efficient game for North, completing 9 of 12 passes for 161 yards and two TDs. His scoring passes each came in the second quarter, one a 10-yard strike to Jarry while C.J. Uzomah took one in from 60 yards on a quick hitch.
Jarry, who rushed the ball just five times, opened the scoring for North on the second play on offense when he ran in from 58 yards out. He added his second TD on North's third possession with a 27-yard run off an option play from Tamburo.
Duluth, which was led by Quinton Cobb's 49 yards on 18 carries, could never mount a threat with its offense. Of its 13 possessions, three were ended by turnovers with seven others resulting in a punt.
North's defense added a score late in the first quarter when Chandler Cross picked up a Duluth fumble at the Wildcat 5-yard line and found the end zone with a couple of Duluth players hanging on to his cleats, extending the lead to 21-0.
Tamburo's two TD passes in the second quarter brought the margin to 35-0 at the half and freshman Raahmil Brantley scored twice in the third quarter for a 50-0 lead. North kicker Jeff Hatley tacked on a 34-yard field goal early in the fourth to end the scoring.
With Duluth (0-9, 0-7) out of the way, North can now focus its attention on next week's contest with Peachtree Ridge. A win next Friday would secure the Bulldogs' first region championship in football while a loss could possibly create a three-way tie with Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill.
"We didn't play very well at all in the first half," Sphire said. "You can't do some of the things we did and win championships and we've got to be more mentally tough. Peachtree Ridge is loaded and I'm really looking forward to it because it's the kind of game where you are playing an opponent that respects the game of football."