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Clash of contrasting styles

When Brookwood head coach Mark Crews watched tape this week of South Gwinnett, he quickly noticed Comets quarterback Kent Rollins.

“He’s a good athlete and a good player,” Crews said.

BROOKWOOD AT SOUTH GWINNETT

Brookwood Broncos (8-AAAAA)

Coach: Mark Crews

Record: 4-1, 2-1 region

Last week: Beat Central Gwinnett 59-13

South Gwinnett Comets (8-AAAAA)

Coach: John Small

Record: 4-1, 3-0 region

Last week: Beat Parkview 37-16

When: Today, 7:30 p.m.

Last meeting: South Gwinnett won 17-14 last year

Directions to South Gwinnett High School: From Ga. Highway 78, go south on Skyland Drive. School is on the left.

Series history:

2008 — Brookwood 21, South Gwinnett 7

2007 — Brookwood 42, South Gwinnett 0

2006 — Brookwood 45, South Gwinnett 8

2005 — Brookwood 31, South Gwinnett 7

2004 — Brookwood 27, South Gwinnett 21

2003 — South Gwinnett 15, Brookwood 14

2002 — Brookwood 15, South Gwinnett 14, OT

2001 — Brookwood 21, South Gwinnett 7

2000 — Brookwood 10, South Gwinnett 7

1999 — Brookwood 28, South Gwinnett 14

1998 — Brookwood 24, South Gwinnett 14

1997 — Brookwood 32, South Gwinnett 15

1996 — Brookwood 46, South Gwinnett 17

1995 — South Gwinnett 48, Brookwood 19

1994 — Brookwood 17, South Gwinnett 0

1993 — Brookwood 36, South Gwinnett 6

1992 — Brookwood 14, South Gwinnett 3

1991 — Brookwood 28, South Gwinnett 7

1990 — Brookwood 14, South Gwinnett 10

It didn’t take long for South head coach John Small to figure out the Broncos’ playmaker on offense.

“They’ve got some athletes on the field,” Small said. “(Nick) Tompkins is one of the fastest backs we’ve seen and he can break one at anytime.”

It’s a contrast in styles tonight in Snellville. The fast-paced spread offense of South (4-1, 3-0) led by Rollins vs. the pound the ball running style of Brookwood (4-1, 2-1) led by Tompkins.

The winner stays in the hunt for the Region 8-AAAAA title, while the loser is left battling for a playoff spot.

“Our goal is to win a region title and this is another step,” Small said.

Crews is familiar with Rollins and not from just watching the quick QB make plays on the field. Rollins played at Brookwood in 2008, but transferred last year. He led the county in passing yards last season and is again among the county leaders. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior has thrown for 958 yards and 11 TDs this year. He’s also rushed for 369 yards.

“South has a very efficient offense and their quarterback does a great job,” Crews said. “That’s the tough part about defending them, they can beat you with the pass or run.”

South is ranked No. 9 in the state and is averaging 42.8 points a game. The Comets have won by an average of 30 points in region play and rolled up 352 yards rushing in last week’s win over Parkview.

Running back Aaron Wimberly compliments Rollins in the backfield. The senior has rushed for 568 yards and six touchdowns.

“They’ve got a running back that’s a good player, too,” Crews said. “Everybody thinks they are this spread offense that throws every down, but they can run it.”

Rollins and Wimberly will be tough tasks for Brookwood’s defense to handle. The Broncos struggled early against Central’s spread offense last week, before dominating the last three quarters.

Nick Moore (11 tackles, two for losses) and Zach Jackson had interceptions returned for touchdowns. Syracuse commitment Cameron Lynch had 13 tackles and an interception and Eric Mappoles had eight tackles and two for losses.

“We played pretty good defensively. We struggled with that offense for a couple of series to start the game,” Crews said of last week’s game. “We played much better on defense. It was a good time for our defense to face that because that’s what they’re going to see against South.”

Brookwood has long relied on the running game for its success. The Broncos have produced some of the county’s all-time great running backs. Tompkins may end up being the next. The junior leads the county in rushing yards with 763 and is coming off a 241-yard, two-touchdown performance against Central Gwinnett. He had Blake Fussell and Lawson Hale (92 percent on assignments) clear the way on the offensive line. Sophomore Jaamal Cole has 372 yards and eight TDs this season.

“Both guys are doing a great job and Andre (Sims) is a doing a good job for our offense,” Crews said.

Sims, a Michigan State commitment, has 266 yards receiving and three TDs this season.

“You can try and force them to throw the football, but then you have to stop Sims,” Small said.

It’s been a steady rise for the South program over the last six years under Small. The Comets got their first win over Parkview in 10 years in 2007. They beat Brookwood and Parkview last season for the first time since 1982. That win over Brookwood was the first since 2003. The Comets are 4-22 all-time vs. Brookwood and have never beaten the Broncos in consecutive years.

“I’m sure no one has picked us to win,” Small said. “We know the history and we’re trying to rewrite history.”

South is one of three undefeated teams in region play this season. A loss wouldn’t put the Comets out of the region title hunt, but it would make it harder to win their first region crown since 2003. Brookwood’s only loss is to Dacula and the Broncos have to win to remain in the title chase.

“We’re in a tough region,” Crews said. “One loss and you need someone to help you out. With two losses you’re probably not going to get it. A win keeps our hopes alive. It’s a big game for us and the postseason.”