Chuck Layson stays pretty busy with football during the week, a trend that will continue this Saturday.
Layson is the head coach of three Dacula youth teams that are in the Gwinnett Football League finals this weekend, including an eighth-grade NL South team that sports an 82-game winning streak. That Falcons team, which faces fellow unbeaten Buford NL North in the championship game, has won its age division title for the past seven years, a GFL record.
"Coaching three teams to the finals is a pretty great accomplishment," GFL president Erik Richards said.
Layson also coaches Dacula's Division II, NL North eighth-grade team that plays Mill Creek AL North in the finals, as well as the 6-year-old NL North squad that takes on Peachtree Ridge NL South group. The coach's title games are at 8 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, so it will be an all-day affair.
It's nothing too new for Layson, who has twice-a-week practices with his 6-year-old team and practices three days a week with his eighth-graders.
"I've got a lot of good coaches in eighth grade to help me out," Layson said. "They make my job a lot easier. It's time consuming, but it's fun. I've been doing it for 12 years, so it's nothing new."
Dacula High School hosts Saturday's championship games, fitting since the Dacula youth league has a GFL-best six teams in the finals. Dacula NL East takes on Brookwood AL South in the 7-year-old title game, Dacula AL South faces Lawrenceville AL North in the 10-year-old finals and Dacula NL East plays Peachtree Ridge NL South in the 12-year-old championship game.
Two young associations, Archer and Lanier, also have teams in the finals for the first time. The 8-year-old Archer AL South plays Grayson AL East for the championship, while the 11-year-old Lanier NL South plays South Gwinnett AL South in the finals.
The other title game pits Peachtree Ridge NL North vs. Mill Creek NL East in the 9-year-old championship game.
Over the course of championship Saturday in the GFL, between 10,000 and 12,000 fans will pass through the gates. The nightcap eighth-grade game typically features a crowd of nearly 4,000 fans and this year's event should be no different, with an eighth-grade matchup that features the county's only two EastBay Youth All-Americans -- 6-foot-1, 305-pound Buford lineman Benjamin Frazier and Dacula running back/safety Dylan Singleton.
Those standouts, along with many of the other players this weekend, will be on Gwinnett high school rosters before too long.
"Two years ago, (Norcross') Anthony Autry, (Wesleyan's) Will Anderson, (Mill Creek's) Carter Governale and (Buford's) Andrew Sciara were playing in the eighth-grade championship game and now they're all playing a lot as high school sophomores," Richards said. "It's amazing how quickly these eighth-graders start helping out on the varsity level."