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North to play in Georgia-Florida Challenge

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

As one of Georgia’s top football programs the last few years, North Gwinnett will get the chance to represent the state this fall in the new Georgia vs. Florida Gridiron Challenge.

North will play Florida power St. Augustine in the three-game event at Carrollton High School on Sept. 3.

“I don’t know much about them right now,” North head coach Bob Sphire said. “I know from talking to our AD Mark Karen they have been really good.”

North needed to find a non-region game to replace a one-game deal with Crenshaw (Calif.), which it played last year on ESPN2.

North will open the season in the Corky Kell Classic against McEachern. The Bulldogs are still finalizing the opponent for the Progressive Challenge it hosts each season.

The Georgia vs. Florida Gridiron Challenge will feature Carrollton vs. Vanguard (Fla.), Westminster vs. Baker County (Fla.) and then North Gwinnett vs. St. Augustine in the nightcap.

North has won 10 or more games in each of the five years under Sphire. The Bulldogs reached the state championship game in 2007 and were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round last year.

The Bulldogs will face a St. Augustine program with a rich tradition. The Yellow Jackets have reached the semifinals six times in the last 10 years, including runner-up finishes in 2001 and 2007 and a state title in 2005. St. Augustine was 12-1 last year and reached the Class AAA semifinals.