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Gwinnett tied to UGA-OK St. game

It doesn't look like Caleb King will be able to chat face-to-face with his old high school friend, Beau Johnson, at Georgia's road football game at Oklahoma State.

King is out with an injured hamstring, so he won't make the trip. Good thing the former Parkview and Greater Atlanta Christian running back and Johnson, an Oklahoma State senior who went to Central Gwinnett, got their trash talk done in advance.

"We talk a lot," King said of his relationship with Johnson. "He's already talking a little smack."

The two running backs hung out some this summer, meaning their impending matchup in the season opener was a hot topic.

Johnson's just excited to play a school from his home state. On a roster laden with Texans, he sees his teammates get pumped up for games several times a season.

"My teammates get excited when we go play teams from Texas," Johnson said. "I never get a chance to be excited like that."

King is one of several Gwinnett products on the Georgia roster, including star linebacker Rennie Curran. The Brookwood grad said he's eager to see Johnson again, too.

"That will be exciting to play (Johnson) because we played so much in high school with Brookwood and Central Gwinnett," Curran said. "He's a good running back and they have a good football team. I'm looking forward to it."

The Gwinnett ties to today's showdown in Stillwater don't end with the players.

Oklahoma State quarterbacks coach Robert Matthews, a Duluth grad, goes up against his alma mater today - he was a walk-on for the Bulldogs from 1996-98. Matthews coached at both North Gwinnett and Shiloh, where he was head coach for three seasons, prior to joining the Cowboys as coordinator of football operations. He then became director of recruiting before this season, his first in a coaching role.

The OSU staff also features graduate assistant Nathan Burton, a Greater Atlanta Christian grad. A desire to beat Georgia shouldn't be hard to muster for Burton, who played college football at Georgia Tech.

FOOTBALL

McGlon earns starting role for historic game

Buford grad Lawson McGlon fought his way to a starting job, making sure he will be the first placekicker in South Alabama history. The Jaguars play the first football game in school history today against Hargrave Military (Va.).

McGlon, a redshirt freshman, was third on the depth chart after spring.

Jones a captain for Birmingham-Southern

Grayson grad Jeremy Jones was selected as one of three Birmingham-Southern College (Ala.) captains heading into the team's opener today at LaGrange College. The 6-foot, 235-pound junior, an All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference selection as a sophomore, plays defensive end for the Panthers.

SOCCER

Jones ties Furman, SoCon records

Collins Hill grad Alexa Jones matched Furman and Southern Conference records last weekend with four goals in the Paladins' 6-2 win over Presbyterian.

She came off the bench to score two goals in each half, tying the conference mark held by six players. One of the record-holders is former Furman player Danielle Petro, who played high school soccer at Norcross and Parkview.

Jones also scored a goal last week in Furman's 3-0 win over USC-Upstate, earning Southern Conference player of the week honors.

CROSS COUNTRY

Steinocher debuts with win, league honor

West Florida freshman Megan Steinocher, a Mill Creek grad, ran her first college race last weekend and placed first overall at the Choctaw Trails 4K at Mississippi College.

She was the lone runner to break the 16-minute mark, finishing in 15:49, more than 20 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Her effort led West Florida to the team title.

Steinocher was named the Gulf South Conference runner of the week, just the second women's runner in school history to get the award.

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.