Editor’s Note: Brandon Brigman, a sports writer for the Daily Post, writes a blog every Monday called “The Blitz.” It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com.
My first full football season with the Daily Post was in 2006. At the time the county had two up and coming programs in Grayson and Peachtree Ridge. As the new guy I got sent to a lot of their games. We didn't know if they were legit that season, but they both ended up making pretty good playoff runs.
Peachtree Ridge's was a little better as it won the state championship that season. Ever since then it seems like there's a team from Gwinnett that people don't expect to make a deep playoff run, but they do.
North did it the following year with a trip to the state finals. Grayson reached the semis in 2008 and Collins Hill last year went to the semis. (I won't mention the Black Friday of 2009).
So who is going to be that team this year? Brookwood is the defending state champs, but are a three seed out of Region 8. Grayson and North have been two of the state's top teams this year and are expected to make deep playoff runs.
That leaves little 'ol Dacula.
The Falcons have a new, coach new system, and not many high expectations outside of the program. They knocked off a very talented Norcross squad that easily handled them in the season opener in Friday's first round playoff win.
The bracket is set up nicely for Dacula to make a deep playoff run. If your team is out of the playoffs, the Falcons have plenty of room on the their bandwagon.
The Falcons don't have a lot of flashy players and aren't considered one of the big name teams in the county, at least not right now. That might change few a more big playoff wins.
Region 8-AAAAA wins battle
Gwinnett County's two regions met in the first round of the playoffs and Region 8-AAAAA came away with the advantage.
Region 8 won three of the four games with Grayson, Dacula and Brookwood picking up victories.
Region 7's only win was North Gwinnett's victory over third-year program Archer.
North has tough road ahead
If North Gwinnett manages to win the state championship this season, no one can argue they didn't play the state's best.
The Bulldogs get last year's state runner-up Colquitt County in Friday's second round playoff game. They will likely play No. 1 ranked Camden County, who hosts Marietta, in the third round.
South Georgia schools have been North's Achilles Heel in recent years. The Bulldogs have been knocked out of the postseason by a South Georgia school four of the last five seasons.
Grayson vs. Lowndes revisited
One of the best games in Gwinnett County history is the quarterfinal matchup between Grayson and Lowndes in 2008.
Grayson was just beginning its current run as one of the state's premier programs. Its victory that season put them on the map.
Lowndes was the defending state champions, its third state title in four years. The Vikings came in ranked No. 1 in the state and nationally ranked with a roster littered with Division I prospects like current FSU players Greg Reid and Gerald Demps.
The Rams scored 10 second half points on its way to a 17-7 upset victory. The final minutes were marred by Lowndes players trying to fight Grayson players and receiving penalties. Even worse, it was broadcasted on regional television.
Flash forward three years later and Grayson is ranked No. 2 in the state, while Lowndes ins't even ranked. The Vikings are still one of the state's premier programs and it will be interesting to see if Friday's game is another epic matchup.
Rocky is all heart
Gwinnett County has produced dozens of Division I football players and a handful of NFL players.
Dacula quarterback/running back Rocky Capobianco will probably not sign with a D-I school or play a snap in the NFL. But if I were starting a high school program, I would build it around him.
Rocky is the epitome of a high school football player. He may not be the biggest or the fastest, but he's one of the toughest players I've ever watched.He put Dacula on his back in Friday's playoff win over Norcross. The guy played almost every snap except for a few special teams. He made some big hits on Norcross receivers and running backs and then led the Falcons to the game winning drive and score.
His teammates chanted his name afterwards and nearly every fan came by to give him a congrats. Capobianco had tears in his eyes after Friday's game because he was so emotional after the win.
He may not be the highest profile player to every come out of Gwinnett, but Rocky certainly has the biggest heart of any of them.
Moon redeems himself with big TD
Brookwood quarterback Zach Moon made the worst throw of his career two weeks ago when he threw a interception returned for the game-winning score against No. 2 Grayson.
The junior was put in a critical position again in Friday's first round playoff game against Peachtree Ridge, but Moon flourished this time around.
Moon threw a game-tying touchdown with 47 seconds left in the game as the Broncos went on to a 30-27 overtime victory.
The play is a big confidence booster for Moon. The Broncos struggled to run the ball last week and teams are going to continue to force Moon to make plays.
Hopefully, that pick six from a couple of weeks ago is erased from Moon's mind and he can continue to lead the Broncos to a deep playoff run.
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