When South Gwinnett coach John Small switched his Comets' offense to the popular no-huddle spread, it took some time for the team to adjust.
Now in its second season in the system, South seems to have taken off with it. The Comets are averaging 26 points a game and face a key Region 8-AAAAA matchup with Dacula tonight. Through the first five games last year, South was averaging 17 points a game and was shut out twice.
"Our kids have a lot of confidence in our offense," Small said. "We feel like we can score points when we execute."
South hosts region newcomer Dacula in a game that could be the difference in a playoff berth for both programs. Both teams already have a loss in region play to Grayson, so a second defeat would make it tough to climb into the top four.
"It's really early, but I think whoever wins this game has a better shot than the one that doesn't," Dacula head coach Kevin Maloof said.
Added Small: "We're just taking it one game at a time. At the end of the year we're going to add them all up and see where we stand. We're not worried about anyone else, but us right now."
With the senior leadership of quarterback Michael Polascik, the Comets' offense has been off to a great start. Polascik is second in the county in passing, despite missing one game, and has three TDs.
"He's had a great year," Small said. "He's a football player and he understands the game. He makes good decisions and is just a great football player."
Polascik's favorite target has been Johnathan Krause, who leads the county in receptions with 36. Throw in Aaron Jividen, James McCray and running back Aaron Wimberly and Polascik has a nice group of playmakers to throw to.
"I think they do a great job with the offense they are running right now," Dacula head coach Kevin Maloof said. "They've got great skill position players and find a way to get them the ball to make plays. It looks like they've got a neat thing going on offense."
After starting the year 0-3, Dacula got a much needed win going into its bye week. The Falcons easily defeated Central Gwinnett 47-24 and have had two weeks to prepare for the Comets.
"It was a tremendous win in terms of the mental aspect," Maloof said. "We played real well early on and got beat by two teams that are still undefeated and the other one only lost to North Gwinnett. We competed in all three games, but we needed that win from a mental aspect."
Dacula opened the season with losses to Region 7 playoff contenders Mill Creek and Collins Hill, then began Region 8 play with a loss to No. 6 Grayson.
"I think our football team has gotten better each week," Maloof said. "Grayson physically whipped us on both sides of the ball and that embarrassed us. That's not something we're used to and I think it embarrassed our players and our coaches."
Aashad Holloway rushed for 121 yards in the Falcons' win over Central, while quarterback Hunter Watts threw for 101 yards and two TDs.
"Coach Maloof always has a well-coached team," Small said. "They are a hard-nosed bunch of kids. The (Marshall) Steed kid is outstanding and he's cut from the same mold as Aaron Jividen, which scares me because I know he's a playmaker.
"Defensively, they are going to be sound and play hard, so we've got our hands full."
SideBar: DACULA AT SOUTH GWINNETT
Dacula Falcons (8-AAAAA)
Coach: Kevin Maloof
Record: 1-3, 1-1 region
Last week: Had a bye
South Gwinnett Comets (8-AAAAA)
Coach: John Small
Record: 2-3, 2-1 region
Last week: Defeated Central Gwinnett 28-3
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: South Gwinnett won 38-7 in 2003
Directions to South Gwinnett High School: From Ga. Highway 78, go south on Skyland Drive. School is on the left.
2003: South 38, Dacula 7
2002: South 17, Dacula 10
2001: South 28, Dacula 21
2000: South 16, Dacula 7
1965: South 62, Dacula 0
1964: South 23, Dacula 0