The Associated Press. Ohio State defensive tackle and Peachtree Ridge grad Cameron Heyward (97) charges toward Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark (17) during last Saturday's game in State College, Pa.
Ohio State is a win away from its first Rose Bowl berth since 1997. And Cameron Heyward is one of the major reasons why.
The Peachtree Ridge grad has been a force all season on the Buckeyes' defensive line, but never more so than last weekend in a 24-7 win over then-No. 11 Penn State. The 6-foot-6, 287-pounder made 11 tackles and had two sacks in a victory that gave Ohio State control of the Big 10 race.
"It was definitely a physical game," said Heyward, a two-sport star in high school and the son of late NFL star Craig "Ironhead" Heyward. "I thought our guys competed hard and we just wanted to win. We knew (Penn State's front) was athletic but we didn't know if they could sustain our four-man pressure. We just wanted to get after them and get pressure."
Heyward led the way with a determined effort in front of his mother, who makes the trip to all his games. His godfather from New Jersey also was there and gave him a throwback souvenir, a popsicle stick with his dad's face on it.
"It was hilarious," Heyward said.
If the junior continues on his current path, that kind of fame could be headed his way. His size and agility make him an NFL prospect, but so have his results on the field.
A contributor since his true freshman season, Heyward leads No. 10 Ohio State with five sacks and ranks second with 71/2 tackles for losses. He also has 36 tackles for a team that has a goal of reaching the Rose Bowl to face the PAC-10 champion.
A victory today over No. 15 Iowa would accomplish that feat.
"We knew November would be some of our toughest games," Heyward said. "Coach told us if we get after it every week, we have a great chance to win the Big 10 championship."
SoCon honors Central's Smith
Former Central Gwinnett linebacker Bryce Smith has been one of the leaders of the Samford defense, putting up one of his best efforts last weekend in a 31-10 win over Georgia Southern.
Smith intercepted former Greater Atlanta Christian quarterback Lee Chapple twice and also made a team-high 12 tackles in the victory, earning Southern Conference defensive player of the week honors.
The junior now leads Samford in tackles (77), tackles for losses (10) and interceptions (four).
One of Smith's biggest competitors for the SoCon's player of the week was Georgia Southern linebacker Dion DuBose, who had eight solo tackles, including three for losses.
* Asher Clark scored a pair of second-half touchdowns in Air Force's 35-7 win over rival Army. The Peachtree Ridge grad had 13 rushes for 82 yards for the Falcons, who became bowl eligible with the win.
* Norcross grad Darius Hanks scored Alabama's first TD last week -- on a leaping 21-yard catch -- in a 24-15 win over LSU
* Three Gwinnett grads caught a TD pass each in Valdosta State's 70-6 rout of Edward Waters last Saturday. South Gwinnett's Jackson Dean (five catches for 67 yards), North Gwinnett's R.J. Bastone (four catches for 27 yards) and Berkmar's Isaiah Jupiter (two catches for 49 yards) each had scores.
Hawk gets SoCon honor for game vs. Auburn
Although Furman lost a lopsided 63-31 game at Auburn last weekend, Norcross grad Trent Hawk was one of the Paladins' top weapons.
The senior was named Southern Conference special teams player of the week after punting eight times for a 48.1-yard average. He put three kicks inside the 20 and boomed a season-best 60-yarder.
Ex-Broncos going strong
Two former Brookwood players, Yakov Rubinchik and Theo Yang, have been key players for their college teams.
Rubinchik has two goals and three assists in helping Wofford (10-2-3, 5-1-1) to the Southern Conference regular-season championship. Yang has five points and was named this week to the Atlantic Sun's all-freshman team.
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 email@example.com or via fax to 770-339-8081.