SUWANEE - The Dacula Falcons youth football programs proved once again they were king of the Gwinnett Football League, taking home four championships during the league's championships Saturday.
Dacula won the 7-year-old, 8-year-old, 10-year-old and 11-year-old championships at North Gwinnett High School's Tom Robinson Stadium. The 10-year-old Falcons completed a perfect 48-0 record over the last four years under coach Eric Reese with a 20-0 victory over Buford.
With the way the 6-year old game started out, a spectator knew from the beginning they were in for a treat as the day went along. Shiloh's 6-year old Generals broke away from a close game and pulled out a 38-25 victory over Peachtree Ridge.
Mason Huntley scored first for Peachtree Ridge with 6:20 left in the first period to give the Lions a 6-0 lead. But Jalen Johnson broke away for a 40-yard touchdown and added an extra point to give the Generals a 7-6 lead. Julian Lewis put the Lions back on top with a 1-yard plunge with 7:13 left in the second quarter and Lewis added the point after for a 13-7 lead. But the Generals' Johnson broke free for a 30-yard run. After the extra point the Generals were back on top 14-13 at halftime. Shiloh got 24 points in the second half as Johnson scored again, Major Stewart added two more and Arthur Rodgers added a touchdown. Huntley did all he could do to keep the Lions close with two second half touchdowns. Shiloh finished a perfect 12-0 while Peachtree Ridge finished 10-2.
In the 7-year old game, Dacula took its first of four championships with a 44-6 win over the Lawrenceville Black Knights. Jack Jackson, Mekhail Bethea and Jalen Perry each had two rushing touchdowns and Bethea found Jackson for a 35-yard touchdown with 4:40 to go in the game. Central got a score after trailing 31-0 but by then it was too late. Dacula finished 12-0 while Lawrenceville dropped their first game of the year to finish 11-1.
In the 8-year old game, Miles Long scored on a 9-yard run with 5:31 to go to lift Dacula to a 13-6 victory over Mill Creek.
Long added the extra point as well. Tre McMillan got the Falcons started with a 2-yard plunge with 8:30 left in the second quarter to give Dacula a 6-0 lead but David Sharp drove the Hawks down the field and capped it off with a 2-yard dive of his own. That was the first rushing touchdown Dacula had given up all year. The extra point failed and it was 6-6 at the half. Dacula finished 12-0 while Mill Creek ended their season at 11-1.
In the 9-year-old game, Cameron Holmes scored on a 6-yard run in double-overtime to lift North Gwinnett to a 12-6 hard fought victory over Shiloh. Ryan Kerr started the scoring in the second period with 42 seconds left, diving in from the 1-yard line. But Daunte Womack hit Isaiah Lewis with a 40-yard touchdown to tie the game at 6-6 with just 6 seconds in the half. Shiloh had a chance in the first overtime but threw an interception on the first play but North couldn't capitalize. Shiloh had the ball in the second overtime to start and did not score setting up the heroics for Holmes.
All eyes were waiting to see if Dacula could keep a 47-game winning streak going in the 10-year-old game and it did with a 20-0 win over Buford.
Buford recovered a fumble on the first series for Dacula but could not score. Austin Berlin started the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown with 1:22 left in the first period. Jalen Virgil added the extra point for a 7-0 Falcon lead. The lead doubled in the second period when Dylan Singleton scored from a yard out and D.J. Joseph added the extra point for a 14-0 halftime lead. Cameron Hankins added an insurance touchdown in the fourth quarter with a 4-yard run with 6:39 left in the game. Virgil tried to kick the extra point but it was wide left. Dacula finished 12-0 while Buford, who was a 16th seed and trying to pull off the David and Goliath story finished 8-4.
Dacula was looking for the fourth championship of the day for the Falcons in the 11-year-old matchup and had to scrape and claw to get it.
Lilburn Mustangs, a 15th seed got a 38-yard punt return by Darius Slayton to set up a 2-yard plunge by Jace Capps with 6:33 remaining in the half and an interception by Desmond Davis at the buzzer of the half gave the Mustangs a 6-0 lead at intermission. But Jaques Evangelister broke away for a 77-yard touchdown with 7:40 left in the fourth period and Jason Williams added the extra point to give the Falcons the 7-6 victory. Dacula finished 12-0 while Lilburn, the 15-seed finished 9-3.
In the 12-year-old game, Carter Governale ran for over a 150 yards and a touchdown but it wasn't enough as Peachtree Ridge upset Mill Creek 28-13. Governale broke free for a 68-yard touchdown to give the Hawks a 6-0 lead with 10 second left in the first period. He added the extra point and Mill Creek led 7-0. But the Lions scored four unanswered touchdowns before C.J. Brady scored as time ran out for the final 28-13. With 3:26 left in the game, Jason Burnette was driving for a score and got his leg twisted and had to be carried off in an ambulance. The game was delayed for about 20 minutes. Peachtree Ridge finished 10-2 while Mill Creek suffered it's first loss to finish 11-1.
Eighth grade Division II
In the eighth grade Division II game, Rod Dollar's Mill Creek American North Hawks took on his other team, the Mill Creek National North Hawks. The "Blue" team shutout the National team 18-0. Dollar called the plays from the press box. It was not hard when the American North got three touchdowns from Jecorey Lewis. Lewis scored on a 77-yard run with 5:39 left in the first period. After a National turnover, Lewis broke free for a 52-yard touchdown with 9:17 left in the half and Lewis added an insurance touchdown with 2:08 left when he got in from 8-yards out. The American team finished 11-0 while the National team finished 9-2.
Eighth grade Division I
Jamal Cole started the scoring for Brookwood with a 65-yard touchdown with less two minutes into the game, kick-starting what became a 14-12 Brookwood win over Parkview in the eighth grade Division I championship.
The extra point, after Cole's TD, failed and Brookwood led 6-0. On Parkview's next possession, it marched down the field and scored on a 20-yard run around the left side, only to have it called back on an illegal blocking penalty.
The drive ended with an untimely Parkview fumble.
Midway through the first quarter, Cole took a handoff around the left side and broke a slew of tackles to dash 85 yards for another Brookwood touchdown. The 2-point conversion was good this time as Brookwood built an early 14-0 lead.
Late in the first quarter, Parkview answered with a Anthony Covington score from seven yards out. The 2-point conversion was no good and Brookwood still held a 14-6 lead.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the game in the balance, Covington took a handoff around the right side and bolted 45 yards for a Parkview touchdown, bringing the Panthers to within two points. The crucial 2-point conversion was stopped in the backfield by the Broncos.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Panthers recovered an improbable on-side kick at the Broncos 49 yard line. The Broncos defense held as the Panthers hopes for a comeback were quickly dowsed by an athletic interception.
The Broncos took a knee to run out the clock as they captured the 2008 GFL 8th Grade Division I Championship Trophy. Brookwood finished 9-2 while Parkview suffered their first loss to drop to 10-1.