North Gwinnett Bulldogs (7-AAAAA)
Coach: Bob Sphire
Record: 7-1, 5-0 region
Last week: Beat Mill Creek 29-7
Duluth Wildcats (7-AAAAA)
Coach: Corey Jarvis
Record: 4-4, 2-3 region
Last week: Lost 47-14 to Peachtree Ridge
This is a matchup of two teams with slightly different goals.
North Gwinnett, fresh off another Region 7-AAAAA win over Mill Creek, is a game away from a region-championship showdown with Peachtree Ridge. It has a playoff spot locked up and is playing for seeding. The offense continues to improve while the defense keeps leading the way.
"We felt like our defense was the bell cow coming into the season," North head coach Bob Sphire said. "We don't want to be the stereotypical spread football team that talks about stats, we want to win football games. You have to be great on defense to compete."
North hasn't allowed more than six points the past two weeks and the offense, led by quarterback Scotty Hosch and receiver Chad Scott, hasn't scored less than 29 points the past seven weeks.
"They run routes really well," Duluth coach Corey Jarvis said of North. "It's tough to sit down and stop (North's offense) if you have a quarterback who can read it. Scotty (Hosch) does a great job. I've been singing his praises all year. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the area."
For Duluth, the chance at a playoff berth is slim, but will be erased with a loss. The Wildcats also have a shot at a .500 record for the first time since 2003 and a winning record for the first time since 1995. They are finally healthier, with quarterback Anfernee Stewart returning from injury during last week's loss to Peachtree Ridge and an improving offensive line even with a tough loss. Lineman Nick Wasylyk led a strong offensive performance against Peachtree Ridge.
Jarvis said his defense showed improvement as well and he hopes it can slow down North's spread attack.
"Like I told our defense, you have to help out the offense sometimes," Jarvis said. "We have to get stops. Hopefully they'll have another good ball game and we can give North a run for their money."
Last meeting: North Gwinnett won 26-7 last year
Directions to Duluth High School: From I-85, take Ga. Highway 120 west to Buford Highway and turn right. Take a left at the next light onto Brock Road and school is on the left.