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Grayson loses Champaign
No. 1 Rams lineman tears ACL; considers return for playoffs

Well after last Friday's football game ended, Grayson head coach Mickey Conn talked with Brookwood's Mark Crews about injuries.

Crews recalled how the Broncos' 1997 season was derailed by a rash of injuries that greatly depleted his team, eventually leading to a state semifinals loss. He shared the story with Conn partly because the Rams' coach has seen a bad run of injuries with his team, too.

Grayson lost another key player in the 22-12 win over Brookwood as star defensive end Joseph Champaign tore the ACL in his knee. He joins starting tight end Nick Benzor, who also tore his ACL the previous week against Shiloh.

"They're going to rehab (Champaign's knee), put a brace on it and then they're trying to have him back by the playoffs," said Conn, who said Benzor may return with a knee brace for the Nov. 6 game with Central Gwinnett.

A Brookwood player peeled back to block Champaign as he pursued last Friday, but his cleat stuck in the turf on the play. His absence will hurt the Grayson defense, taking away a top college prospect who led Gwinnett County with 14 sacks last season.

"(Champaign's) going to stay on and be a leader for us," Conn said. "We'll be all right. We've got some guys who can fill in. They just need to step up."

Defense carries Dacula win

Dacula thrust itself right back into the Region 8-AAAAA playoff mix last Friday with a 9-6 overtime win over Parkview. And it has the defense to thank.

The Falcons answered a tough Parkview defense with a shutdown effort of their own, limiting the Panthers to 137 total yards. That included 19 rushes for only four yards.

That rescued a Dacula offense that tallied just 151 yards.

"We played really, really well on defense," Dacula head coach Kevin Maloof said. "Really, really well. We played with great emotion and passion for the game once again."

Skyler Richardson led the unit with 12 tackles, Darien Lane and Jake Brown intercepted two passes each and Baiyembi Abange was a pass-rushing force with three sacks and five QB hurries.

Blue Devils rolling along

Keith Maloof, Kevin's younger brother, also has his team playing well. Norcross has won three of its last four games, rebounding from an 0-2 start to get back in the 7-AAAAA playoff chase.

The Blue Devils' three losses were to Walton, South Gwinnett and North Gwinnett, teams with a combined 17-1 record.

"I don't know if anybody's played as tough a schedule as we have," Maloof said. "And we've still got (undefeated) Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill out there (to play)."

Quarterback Ronald Rose had a good game, as did wideout Geremy Davis, who had his third 100-yard game of the season.

Broncos improve on defense

Brookwood's defense, after giving up 42 points to McEachern and 41 to North Gwinnett to open the season, put together three solid defensive outings in wins over Shiloh, Berkmar and Meadowcreek the following three weeks.

If those games didn't prove anything about the Broncos' defense, a close 22-12 loss to No. 1 Grayson last Friday showed a lot more.

The unit held the Rams in check for most of the night, giving up two long passes in the first half that hurt. Until a long run that set up the clinching score, Brookwood had bottled up Grayson running back Ean Pemberton pretty well (just 45 yards on 22 carries prior to his 53-yard run).