The first week is in the books and we had a little bit of everything to start the high school football season. A 90-minute lightning delay in the fourth quarter postponed the Dacula vs. Mill Creek game before the Falcons won the game on a big play.
Parkview lost a tough one, taking the No. 6 team in the state to overtime. Buford won in dominating fashion, Duluth celebrated an opening week victory for the first time in seven years and North continued to show why it's the county's top Class AAAAA team.
It was a great first week of high school football in Gwinnett County. The good news is we have another nine regular season games.
I'm not going to recap every game from last week, but hereare some things that stood out to me.
Dacula has some playmakers
Fans of Region 8-AAAAA, go ahead and write down the name of Dacula's Dexter Walker. That kid is good. The running back/defensive back had his name called all night against Mill Creek, rushing for 145 yards and then making seven tackles and the game-clinching interception.
Is it just me or does Dacula quarterback Rocky Capobianco remind you of Doug Flutie? I'm not saying that because of his size, but Capobianco has a way of making plays. I know the kid is tough, I saw him take some hits as a mostly running quarterback last year. He's now added a nice aerial touch, throwing for long TDs the last two weeks. Against Mill Creek he seemed to have knack for making things happen, just like Flutie.
Panthers take No . 6 team to overtime
A person close to the Parkview program told me last week that the team wasn't too happy about my 4-6 prediction two weeks ago. After Friday's game, the Panthers made me believers they can be a lot better than that. I knew the defense would be pretty good and scoring two TDs certainly helped in the 21-14 loss to Stephenson. Was that just a first-game fluke? We'll find out this week against Norcross, a team that has beaten the Panthers in the last two meetings.
Rare season-opening win for Duluth
Duluth won its season opener for the first time since 2003. I know what you're thinking, they beat a second-year program in Archer. But let's face it, Duluth hasn't had much to celebrate in recent years, winning two games in the last three seasons. But Friday's win was a stepping stone. By the way, the last time Duluth won its season opener it went 5-5.
Is Buford really that good, this early?
This season was supposed to be a question mark for Buford. After winning the last three Class AA state titles, offensive and defensive line were supposed to be concerns for the Wolves. I guess having an abundance of skill position players took care of that. Buford dismantled a Gainesville team that was in the Class AAA state finals last year, 40-19.
"You want every group to know that we're hoping not to rebuild but reload and pick up where we left off," Buford head coach Jess Simpson said after the game.
Buford will play this Friday at Carver-Columbus, one of the few teams expected to challenge the Wolves for the state title this year. If Buford wins convincingly, just go ahead and give them the state crown after the game.
North has been upgraded to really good
North Gwinnett is no longer going to be pretty good this season, the Bulldogs have already reached the status of really good.
North had a 21-0 lead before it went on to a 42-20 victory over Bob Jones (Ala.) It's the second week the Bulldogs have won by 20-plus points.
Many people think Auburn commitment C.J. Uzomah is the only thing the Bulldogs have on offense, but Uzomah is just a small piece of that offensive juggernaut. At least three different running backs can do something with the ball. Pair that will a playmaking defense and it's scary to think this team will only get better as the season progresses.
What stood out to you after the first week of the season?
Gwinnett County had six new head coaches on the sidelines on Friday and four of them won their debuts. Kevin Reach (Collins Hill), Tim Cokely (GAC), Todd Wofford (Central Gwinnett) and Corey Jarvis (Duluth) won their first games of the season.
Check me out live
If you can't get enough of me, check me out this week on Sports Central XL, a weekly webcast on Georgia Public Broadcasting's web site. The show is from 8 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Here's the link. www.gpb.org/sports
Black Mamba comes to Suwanee
Crenshaw High School from Los Angeles Calif., will play at North Gwinnett on Friday on ESPN. Crenshaw is led by star running back/defensive back DeAnthony Thomas, who goes by the nickname Black Mamba. Thomas, who has committed to Southern California and is the No. 5 ranked player in the nation, was given the nickname by hip-hop star Snoop Dogg because of speed and quickness like the Black Mamba snake.
I tried to get Thomas on the phone for an interview, but his coach wants to keep his media exposure limited.
"He's not a celebrity, he's a high school student," Crenshaw coach Robert Garrett said. "We like to keep it that way. His mission is to play football."
I'll have more on the Black Mamba and the Crenshaw program in this week's Friday Kickoff section. Until then, here's a highlight clip of the Black Mamba.