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THE BLITZ: Big games make the season fun

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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.

Injuries bite

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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Comments

NGHS09 3 years, 1 month ago

Norcross's Defense will be just as equally tested because NG is averaging 39 pts a game as well. Norcross has always had the truck loads of D1 talent over there, but Sphire-led NG has demoralized Norcross the last three seasons. Dacula and Parkview didn't play well against Norcross at all, but they are steam rolling now. Norcross has not been tested execpt for Mill Creek. Mill Creek should have won the game if not for the stolen fumble becasuse Norcross was TIRED and getting WHIPPED up and down the field the second half. Sphire has Maloof's number and nobody in Suwanee is scared of Norcross anymore. It will be a dog fight for sure and NG will have to play error free to win this one @ Norcross, but NG is better coached and wants the victory more trust me. IF you ever get a chance BRANDON, stop by NG @ 8:00 every Saturday morning and experience how hard the players and coaches work after Friday night game. They practice harder and with a swagger everyday during the week. I haven't seen this kind of energy @ practices since 07'. The defense will shut down Norcross just wait and see. IT's gonna be darn frustrating for Kamara when he's getting hit in the mouth in every gap he tries to run through. We play gap to gap football and this defense tackles better than any before them. Everyone is raving about Jason Croom. Norcross has D1 receivers every year! BIG DEAL! Malcom Jackson is more than capable of shutting the big boy down. Hell he won't even get the ball thrown to him very much because the QB will be re-landscaping the field with his own face mask. NG's defensive pressure on the QB is deadly and unstoppable. It's a gamble for sure in some situations, but undoubtedly any QB's worst nightmare. Do some research and look @ how many QB's NG has knocked out of games. The number will shock you! They won't be able to run it so Norcross better perfect their passing game this week. NG's defense will win this game mark my words. Norcross is going to do what they always do....run for the hills when they get popped in the mouth every play.

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NGHS09 3 years, 1 month ago

The offense will be seriously tested, but Hosch rarely makes bad decisions with the football and NG's turnovers have been non existent since the first game. Norcross showed its inability to cover short quick throws and they get gashed by misdirection run plays and screen plays. NG's 1-2 RB punch is deadly this year and the OL is making people sorry for doubting them. NG's offense will try to score early, but i'm guessing they won't come to life until late 1st/early 2nd quarter. We have just absolutely dismantled teams in the second quarter every game since game 1 vs MacEachern. This NG offense strikes early and scores late. That's the perfect recipe for beating a Norcross Defense that can't play for 4 qrts. NG's offensive line is going to really shock people with out strong and cohesive they are. The rushing yards will be tough to come by, but Hosch will lead the air attack down to the red zone and the rushing game will finish the drill. NG is more complete this year as a whole at every position than ever before. We have a true pocket gunslinger, two great running backs, a stable of posession receivers, and a defense that will knock your block off.

NG doesn't back down from anyone so Norcross better have a blank memory going into Fridays game.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 3 years, 1 month ago

"What game are looking forward to checking out this week?"

Both Dacula at Grayson in 8-AAAAA and North at Norcross in 7-AAAAA are monster games, North at Norcross just seems to be a bigger mega-monster game.

(There's also Hillgrove at McEachern for all the marbles out in 4-AAAAA out on the other side of town about 35 miles away in Cobb in a rematch of a game in which McEachern outscored Hillgrove 64-48 in a game last year, but we're focusing on Gwinnett, here)

I would give North Gwinnett a slight advantage going into this monster game because since the heartbreaking opening day loss to #1-ranked McEachern in the Corky Kell Classic Dome, the Bulldogs have played nearly perfect football minimizing turnovers and playing very well on defense behind experienced veteran leadership in some really big games while Norcross has had some issues with multiple turnovers, fumbles, interceptions and blocked punts and PATs on special teams.

North also has more experience at QB with senior Scotty Hosch.

Junior Joseph Wilber has played very well at QB for Norcross, especially in getting the ball downfield to that talented core of big, fast, athletic receivers led by Tennessee recruit Jason Croom, but the emphasis on the long-ball in the passing game has made the offense suseptible to some turnovers at key times in which the Devils have been fortunate enough to have been bailed out by a very aggressive defense which has been very good at forcing and creating turnovers on their own at key times of the game.

It also helps that the Devils can quickly comeback from mistakes with an ongoing big-play capability with Croom at receiver and Alvin Kamara at running back.

I don't know the injury status of Tanner Maloof, but it would sure help if the Devils could have him back healthy and at full-strength at fullback for blocking and to run the ball in short-yardage situations on offense and especially at linebacker to help contain and stop the run as losing Maloof was a big loss for a team that has some inexperienced spots on what is otherwise a very talented defense.

I like this game to be more competitive than North's 38-0 shutout rout of the Devils last year as I look for the Devils to at least show up and get off the bus for this one, but North just seems to have a SLIGHT advantage in key areas like veteran leadership, QB play, taking care of the ball offensively, on defense and special teams, though the Devils can be very deadly with their big-play capability both on the ground and with the vertical passing game through the air.

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grayram 3 years, 1 month ago

Norcross will have to tackle far better than they did against Mill Creek. North Gwinnett is strong on both sides of the ball. Hope its a good close game but i also think North will win it.

Dacula for some reason seems to play Brookwood really tough and then play poorly against Grayson. Hope this isn't tthe year the change that.

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