Dacula takes crack at slowing down Comets

Only one team this season has had success slowing down South Gwinnett's high scoring offense.

Grayson held the Comets to their fewest points in the Rams' 27-16 win three weeks ago.

Dacula had a bye last week, so the Falcons have had an extra week to prepare for the Comets' offense, which is averaging 41 points a game.

"They've got a great group of athletes. It's like lightning in a jug," Dacula head coach Kevin Maloof said. "How many skill position guys can you have on offense? I think it's six and they have eight it looks like."

Quarterback Kent Rollins is the main cog in the Comets' offense. The junior leads the county in touchdown passes with 12 and is second in passing yards with 972.

"He's been outstanding with his feet and arm, making plays," South Gwinnett head coach John Small said.

Vanderbilt commitment Jonathan Krause leads the team in receptions with 21, followed by Aaron Ross with 12 and Andre Pierce with 10. Running backs Aaron Wimberly and Trevon Walker have combined for 676 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"(Wimberly) only rushed for 72 yards last week, but I think it was one of his best games," Small said. "He ran with authority and did all the little things that don't show up on a stat sheet."

Wimberly had one of his best games of the season last year when he rushed for 114 yards against Dacula. A touchdown run by Hunter Watts in the final minute lifted the Falcons to a 20-16 win.

"The quarterback makes good decisions and I think their running back (Wimberly) is the best we played against last year," Maloof said.

The last-minute loss still lingers in South Gwinnett's mind. The Comets lost two region games by seven total points last year, leaving them out of the playoffs.

"This game played a role in us not making the playoffs last year, so they are very hungry for this game," Small said. "I've said before the season started we've got some unfinished business from last year. This isn't a revenge game, but it's one we want to win."

Tonight's game starts a big four-game stretch for both teams. Each team still has playoff teams Parkview and Brookwood on their schedule and a resurgent Shiloh team. With both teams already having a region loss to Grayson, a win tonight will be huge in the region standings.

"It all starts this week," Small said. "We try to be 1-0 each week. Each win makes the next one bigger."

South (4-1, 2-1) beat Central Gwinnett 41-0 last week and is coming off its first shutout since the season finale in 2006. Defensive lineman Mazi Chiles and linebacker Kevin Dickerson, who had 11 tackles last week, have stood out on the Comets' defense.

"It was great for our players and our defensive coaches," Small said of the shutout. "Offensively, we played well, but had four turnovers. The defense made a lot of plays and created some turnovers to get the ball back."

The off week couldn't have come at a better time for Dacula. The Falcons (2-2, 1-1) have had to deal with some key injuries and are still trying to get some young players varsity experience.

Dacula hopes to get linebacker Kinard Thomas back today and it could be another week before Chris Camarata returns. Skylar Richardson, Elijah Mahaley, and Baiyembi Abange have stood out defensively in recent weeks.

"We still have a young team," Maloof said. "We've got 10-12 sophomores playing. We've got to play better and play smarter. The kids are playing hard, we just have to play smarter."


South Gwinnett Comets (8-AAAAA)

Coach: John Small

Record: 4-1, 2-1 region

Last week: Beat Central Gwinnett 41-0

Dacula Falcons (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Kevin Maloof

Record: 2-2, 1-1 region

Last week: Had a bye

When: Today, 7:30 p.m. (100.7 FM)

Last meeting: Dacula won 20-16 last year

Directions to Dacula High School: From Highway 316, go north on Highway 8 approximately one mile and school is on the left.