HAMMOCK: Don't count out Dacula football

Will Hammock

Will Hammock

The advice, on the money as it turned out, came to me from another Gwinnett high school football coach.

"Don't count out Dacula," he said. "They've got a good football team."

After two games this season, it seemed like people were doing just that --counting out the Falcons. They were 0-2 and from the outside (those who hadn't seen their games), appeared to be struggling. Folks questioned if the defense was good enough, or if the transition to first-year head coach Jared Zito's offense wasn't going well.

Those who were ready to write off Dacula's season were a little premature, though.

The Falcons made sure of that last Friday with a breakthrough win, 20-6 over defending Class AAAAA champion Brookwood. The defense completely shut down the Broncos and the offense fared well against what had been a stout defense through two games.

The victory accomplished plenty, not the least of which was offering a stress reliever to Zito, previously the coach at North Forsyth. It gave him his first victory at Dacula and showed the community a sign of what's to come, rather than giving those fans an 0-3 start.

Dacula's third straight win over Brookwood also announced it as a contender in Region 8-AAAAA. Grayson's still the favorite in my eyes, but Dacula has to be a clear-cut No. 2 after last week's victory, which shouldn't have been a surprise.

The Falcons' previous coach, Kevin Maloof, knew this year's team would be in good shape. A large and talented senior class was coming back, so he felt good in retirement that the cupboard wasn't bare for a new coach.

The 0-2 start wasn't ideal for Zito and his players, but it was deceptive. They faced two unbeaten teams, Mill Creek and Norcross, and both of those teams have the potential to win the title in tough Region 7-AAAAA.

Guess who has the potential to win 8-AAAAA? What about Dacula? Upsetting Grayson won't be easy, but as I've learned already, "don't count out Dacula."

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, visit www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.