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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.
Other than the opening week of the season, this Friday is the most exciting week of the season so far.
It's only Monday, but the hairs on my arms are standing up because there's that many good games on tap.
By 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, we're going to have a pretty good idea of the four playoff teams in Region 7-AAAAAA and 8-AAAAAA.
The biggest game of the week is North Gwinnett at Norcross, which will likely decide the Region 7-AAAAA champion. On the other side of the county, Dacula is at Grayson for a Region 8-AAAAAA game that is just as important.
The buffet of great games doesn't stop there.
Peachtree Ridge is at Collins Hill, Duluth is at Mountain View and Parkview is at Central Gwinnett. All of those games have playoff implications.
Friday can't get here fast enough.
What game are looking forward to checking out this week?
Here's a quick look at those big matchups.
North Gwinnett at Norcross
This is the matchup that has decided the Region 7-AAAAA title in recent years. North has won the last two region crowns and no team has won three Region 7 titles in a row.
The Bulldogs have won four games in a row after losing to now No. 1 ranked McEachern on the last play of the game. The defense is the strength by allowing 8.25 points a game in the last four wins.
North's defense will be tested against an explosive Norcross offense. The Blue Devils don't have problems scoring points by averaging 39 a game.
Both teams still have to go through Peachtree Ridge to secure the region crown, but the winner has a great shot at the No. 1 seed.
Dacula at Grayson
After an 0-2 start, Dacula has come alive. The Falcons are a serious threat to win their first region title since 2005 when they were in Region 7-AAAAA.
The biggest improvement has been on defense where the first-team unit has allowed just six points in the last three games.
Dacula will find out if it's a legitimate playoff contender against No. 3 Grayson. The Rams have beat up on lesser competition for the first five games. This will be their toughest game since the season opener against Kell.
The winner will have to beat Parkview, the only other undefeated team in the region, for sole possession of first place.
Peachtree Ridge at Collins Hill
Collins Hill is in the same position it was in last year. The Eagles were 2-3 at this point and then won the next eight games to reach the state semifinals.
That run began with a win over Peachtree Ridge. The Lions' loss was the beginning of a bad second half of the season. Peachtree Ridge is in a lot better shape at this point of the season than last year. No one is giving the Lions a shot at the region title, but this game will be a good test to determine if they are a legitimate contender.
Duluth at Mountain View
Mountain View woke up the region when it beat Mill Creek earlier this year. The Bears are still in the mix for a playoff spot, but need a win over Duluth.
The Wildcats still have an outside shot for the playoffs, but need their quarterback in the lineup. The loser of this game will be playing for pride the rest of the year.
Parkview at Central
Parkview is still in the hunt for its first region title since 2004. After starting 0-2, the Panthers appear to have the their old formula for success with a strong running game and dominant defense. The Panthers haven't played the best competition the last three weeks and Central appears to have fallen off track.
Parkview needs another good showing before playing Grayson and Brookwood the next two weeks.
It seems like the injury bug hits a different team every year. It was Peachtree Ridge last year and the Lions couldn't overcome the injuries after a 5-0 start.
This year the injury bug has hit South Gwinnett. It started in the preseason with the starting quarterback and has continued every week with a different starter going down. I know injuries are going to happen to teams, but when you have a rash of them it's hard to win games.
South still has a pretty good squad. You just have to wonder if they had their starting quarterback and best defensive player if they would be in the mix for a home playoff game.
Quarterback Jordan Ramey is back, but it might be too late to salvage the season.
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