Breaking News

Man found dead at Duluth apartment complex April 19, 2014

0

Six of eight AAAAA teams in playoffs

How they determine their playoff teams may differ - Region 8-AAAAA plays a straight region schedule and 7-AAAAA doesn't - but Gwinnett's two regions share at least one commonality at this point.

Three football teams have clinched postseason berths, while each region has two teams still fighting to prolong their seasons.

North Gwinnett, Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill have sealed postseason spots, leaving Norcross and North Forsyth to fight for the remaining open position in 7-AAAAA. In 8-AAAAA, Grayson, South Gwinnett and Dacula are playoff teams, leaving perennial powers Brookwood and Parkview to battle for the remaining state playoff berth.

The potential state playoff seeding also is jumbled in both regions, with the exception of unbeaten Grayson, which is locked in as the 8-AAAAA champion. South can lock up the region's No. 2 seed with a win over rival Brookwood on Friday.

"It's a credit to our kids and also our coaches for all the hard work they've put in," South head coach John Small said of clinching a playoff berth. "We've all been working hard since we've been here, but it's nice to see it paying off on the field. We've had great results off the field, but it's nice to get results on the field, too. It's a whole lot better controlling your own destiny than waiting on what someone else does."

Dacula at least knows it has a playoff spot, but Brookwood and Parkview still face uncertainty. It's a distinct possibility that the two longtime rivals could meet in the Nov. 6 finale with a playoff berth on the line.

Friday's games could clear up the 7-AAAAA playoff picture somewhat, hinging greatly on the outcome of the Norcross-Peachtree Ridge game. Norcross also plays Collins Hill the following week, and must win both games to keep a slim lead over North Forsyth in the playoff chase.

North Forsyth upset the Blue Devils on Oct. 23.

"If we win both, we're in," Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said. "If we lose one, we've got to have help. By letting North Forsyth beat us, it put us in a bad situation."

The top three teams in 7-AAAAA - North (6-0 in the region), Peachtree Ridge (6-0) and Collins Hill (5-1) - know they are in the playoffs. At which spot is another story.

All three want one of the top two seeds and a home playoff game in the first round of state.

The matter gets complicated since the region voted not to play a full region schedule, allowing teams to play two non-region games at the beginning of the season instead of one. That left Collins Hill and North Gwinnett, two longtime rivals, from playing each other the past two seasons.

"There are a lot of things that can happen with us not playing North," Collins Hill head coach Billy Wells said. "It's definitely favorable for us with who we haven't played, but we could still have a home playoff game or we could be the No. 4 seed. It's all about who you beat and who you don't in our region."

The region title won't be decided until Nov. 6, when Peachtree Ridge travels to North. A coin flip for seeding also is a possibility next week because two of the contending teams haven't played each other.

"There are a ton of (possibilities with ties)," Peachtree Ridge head coach Bill Ballard said. "The thing is, with Collins Hill and North Gwinnett not playing one another, it's really kind of an unfair deal for people like Norcross, who have to beat us and Collins Hill (to get into the playoffs)."

Air Brookwood

Never a program known for its passing prowess, Brookwood has morphed its attack this season.

The Broncos have moved the ball better with the pass in recent weeks, thanks to the junior combination of Andre Sims and Ben McLane.

Sims had school records of 10 catches for 167 yards in Friday's 23-17 loss to Dacula, in addition to a 51-yard punt return.

"He's a special kid," Brookwood head coach Mark Crews said of Sims. "And Ben's getting to where he can throw it to him pretty good, too."

Sims also has topped school records this season for catches (43) and receiving yards (766), both marks that were set in 1998 by Michael Francis. He also has eight touchdowns, tying Francis' season-record total from '98.

McLane had his own record-breaking night against Dacula with single-game marks for completions (25), attempts (37) and passing yards (275). His 14th TD pass of the season broke a tie for the school record he shared with Lance Layson (1998) and Corey Brown (1991).

McLane upped his season passing total to 1,456 yards, needing just 22 more yards to surpass Layson's '98 record total.

Quick hits

Wesleyan running back Kyle Karempelis topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season in Friday's win over Athens Academy, carrying 14 times for 149 yards and two TDs for Class A's No. 1 team. He accounted for 2,388 total yards last season as the Wolves won the state title. ... Collins Hill safety Chris Caspari has been superb in back-to-back games, totaling 23 tackles (17 solos) and six tackles for losses in games vs. Peachtree Ridge and Mill Creek. He also had a fumble recovery and caused a fumble. ... Winless Greater Atlanta Christian gets its best shot at a win Friday against lowly Cross Keys, which has won one game, but it was via forfeit. ... Duluth will retire the jerseys of its two current Major League Baseball players, Nick Green and Brian McCann, at Friday night's game against North Gwinnett.