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Gwinnett grads: Shining on the line
Billinger, Greenstone help Vandy to big win

Greg Billinger made six tackles as a Vanderbilt freshman, six more as a sophomore.

He matched that total last night alone.

The Parkview grad had six tackles, two for losses and two sacks, in the Commodores' 24-17 upset of No. 24 South Carolina on Thursday night. His second sack of quarterback Chris Smelley was on the Gamecocks' final drive, turning a second-and-10 into a third-and-16 that South Carolina didn't convert.

Vandy is now a surprising 2-0 on the season.

"We were just trying to get to the quarterback and Greg Billinger made a great play (on the final drive)," Vandy defensive end Steven Stone said. "My teammates thought I made the play but it was definitely Greg. The last defensive series was just a great team effort."

Billinger, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound junior, anchors the middle of the Vandy defense alongside another Gwinnett product, Collins Hill grad T.J. Greenstone. The two starting defensive tackles teamed up on one big series Thursday night, with the game tied 10-10.

On third-and-8, Greenstone and a teammate made a tackle for a 3-yard loss to force a field goal try. Billinger then blocked the 42-yard attempt from South Carolina's Ryan Succup.

Greenstone, a 6-3, 280-pound redshirt freshman, had four tackles (two for losses) the previous week in his college debut, a win over Miami (Ohio).

Despite the loss, South Carolina got a great effort from another Gwinnett grad - Jared Cook. The North Gwinnett product had team highs of eight catches for 111 yards from his tight end position. Cook also had a TD catch in the Gamecocks' opener.

The Thursday night efforts followed a solid first weekend of college football by Gwinnett products. Here's a glance at some of the best from last Saturday:

· No. 1 Butler County Community College (Kan.) lost its showdown 23-20 to No. 2 Blinn College (Texas) last Saturday, but Central Gwinnett grad Jonathan Massaquoi, a 6-4, 240-pound defensive end, had seven tackles (six solos, two for losses), two sacks, a fumble recovery and a QB hurry. Teammate Tyrece Gaines caught two passes for 37 yards and a TD in the losing effort.

· Greater Atlanta Christian grad Ben Wooster caught six passes for 90 yards and a TD in Wake Forest's 41-13 win over Baylor.

· Parkview's Brad Lester (14 rushes for 52 yards, TD) and South Gwinnett's Rod Smith (five catches, 57 yards) did well in Auburn's win over Louisiana-Monroe.

· There were few bright spots in Clemson's Georgia Dome loss to Alabama, but the Tigers' Dawson Zimmerman, a true freshman from Brookwood, had four punts for a 40-yard average.

· Peachtree Ridge grad and Air Force freshman Asher Clark made his college debut last weekend with five rushes for 21 yards and is expected to play more at quarterback today. Teammate Brandon Reeves, a North Gwinnett grad, had three tackles (one for loss).

· Eastern Michigan kicker Joe Carithers, a Dacula grad, was 6-for-6 on PATs, was 1-for-1 on field goals and averaged 60.3 yards on kickoffs

· Grayson's Jim Mitchell led Alabama-Birmingham in rushing (10 for 47 yards) in a loss to Tulsa.

· In two games with Valdosta State, Buford's Kody Case (three catches for 100 yards, two TDs) and North Gwinnett's R.J. Bastone (six catches for 127 yards, TD) have been top receivers.

· Jason Cook of North Gwinnett caught two passes for 26 yards last week in Ole Miss' win over Memphis

· Buford's David Hendrix had three catches for 25 yards in Furman's win over Mars Hill and teammate Trent Hawk, a Norcross grad, had a 37.0 punting average on two punts and added a 40-yard field goal

· In Presbyterian's loss to Wofford, Berkmar's Antoine Carter had five solo tackles and Buford's Brandon Clark had six catches for 43 yards.

BASKETBALL

Clark to play overseas in Turkey

Collins Hill grad Aaron Clark, who just finished a standout career at Georgia College and State University, has signed a contract to play profesional basketball in Turkey.

The 6-foot-9 Clark signed with TED Istanbul, which plays in the TB2L, the Turkish second division. He leaves Sept. 10 for Turkey.

Clark averaged 13.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in 2007-08 as a GCSU senior, finishing his career with 1,467 points and 847 rebounds, ranking fourth and second, respectively, on the school's all-time list.

SOCCER

Falle scores twice in UGA win

The Georgia women's soccer team defeated Utah for its first game of the season behind two goals from Marah Falle. The Parkview grad scored the game's first goal in the 50th minute, then scored the game-winner in the 86th.

Diaz-Matosas scores winner

South Carolina's Samantha Diaz-Matosas, a Brookwood grad, scored on a penalty kick in her team's opening 1-0 win over East Carolina. The PK was set up by an East Carolina handball in the box off a cross from Buford grad Maria Petroni.

CROSS COUNTRY

Kreutzer gets conference honor

Providence Christian grad Allison Kreutzer was named the Peach Belt Conference Runner of the Week on Tuesday. Kreutzer, a two-time Division II All-American, won the Cougar Invitational in Smiths Station, Ala., in 18 minutes, 36.58 seconds.

Gwinnett Grads is a column that runs on Saturdays spotlighting the achievements of past Gwinnett standouts. Coaches and parents are urged to send suggestions via e-mail to will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.