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THE BLITZ: North's defense is better than imagined

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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.

I've been telling people all year that Norcross has a pretty good team and a shot for a deep playoff run.

Maybe it was the fact that I saw the Blue Devils play twice this year that I was in love with their explosive offense.

North Gwinnett reminded me, during and after the game, that you still need a great defense to be successful in Class AAAAA football.

The Bulldogs' defense held Norcross to just one offensive touchdown (the other two came on special teams and defense) in Friday's 29-22 win.

I knew North had a good defense, but they might be better than I imagined. Even more impressive than holding Norcross to one offensive touchdown is the fact that they held Alvin Kamara, the county's No. 2 rushing leader, to just 55 yards.

The Bulldogs don't have a defense loaded with Division I players like some great defenses I've seen in Gwinnett in the past. Defensive lineman Jordan Washington is their biggest prospect. The rest of the group -- guys like Joe Dillard, Justin Alabi, Carl Rider and Justin Thomas -- make the defense a contender for not only another region title, but a very deep playoff run.

I may not have picked North to win last week, which the North faithful reminded me several times after Friday's game, but I'm sticking with the Bulldogs in the pick 'em the rest of the year.

That defense is just too good to pick against.

Norcross has the talent, but is still missing something

If you were to draft a fantasy high school football team, you'd probably take a Norcross player in the first round.

They have athletes all over the field year-in and year-out.

I think they have the most explosive offense. The only problem is you only see that offense in the first half. Norcross has developed a knack for big first-half leads only to see them slip away. They've been able to hold on for wins in the first five games. That wasn't the case against North.

If Norcross can find a way to play a complete game and not let off the gas, I think we can see them make a deep playoff run.

Region 8 starting shape up

We know Grayson is a lock for the playoffs. It's those last three spots that are still up for grabs.

I thought Dacula was a realistic No. 2 spot, but I'm not so sure after their loss to Grayson. They didn't hang with the Rams like I thought they could and the injury to one of their best players in Marcus Cox doesn't help.

Brookwood is Brookwood and they'll be in the playoffs, I'm just not sure where. I still think Parkview underrated, but that might be because they haven't reached the meat of their schedule. That will change this week. The last team for a shot to get in is Archer, but the Tigers need to pull an upset to have a shot. I think the rest of the region participants have too many problems to get in the playoffs this year.

Duluth gets much needed win

I thought Duluth was done when it lost to Collins Hill two weeks ago. It didn't help that their quarterback and best player Anfernee Stewart is out indefinitely.

The Wildcats had a lot of high expectations for this season and their win against Mountain View showed they are not out. Yes, the win was over a third-year program. But lets face it, Duluth needed the win to keep its morale.

Parkview will go as far as Carson will take them

Parkview running back Chris Carson might be the best back in the county this year.

The junior turned in another impressive game on Friday against Central, rushing for 184 yards and three touchdowns.

Parkview trailed in the first half against Central and Carson had 136 of his yards in the second half to lead the Panthers to their fourth straight win.

Carson has emerged as the offensive spark for Parkview and the Panthers need him to continue his success if they are going to reach the playoffs.

We will find out how good of a team Parkview has this week. The Panthers host No. 3 ranked Grayson. The Rams have one of the best defenses in the county year-in and year-out. If Carson can put another 100-plus yard rushing performance, I'll be ready to call him the best back in the county this year.

Did Central find a defense?

Central Gwinnett finally kept a team under 49 points. The Black Knights surrendered 168 points the last three games.

They kept Parkview to just 22 last Friday, but still lost their fourth game in a row.

It might be too late, but it could be a sign of better things to come for the Black Knights.

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