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THE BLITZ: Where teams stand at the halfway point of the season

We've reached the halfway point in the season, so I thought this would be a good time see where we stand.

Some teams have emerged as state title contenders. Other teams are on the bubble for the playoffs. Then there are some that I'm still scratching my head about.

Here's a quick breakdown of each team.

Region 8-AAAAA

Grayson (4-0, 2-0)

The Rams are the best team in the region and arguably in the county. Grayson hasn't been tested since its season opener, but that will change in October.

Parkview (2-2, 2-0)

The Panthers are the best kept secret in the region. No one is talking about them, but they have a strong running game and a good defense. That's the perfect recipe for success in the region.

Dacula (2-2, 2-0)

After a rough non-region start, the Falcons are tied for first in the region. The improvement of the defense has Falcons fans excited about a possible region title. We'll know more in two weeks when they play Grayson.

Brookwood (3-2, 2-1)

The Broncos still haven't played their best game. That's good news for Brookwood faithful. Once the offensive line comes together, watch out for Brookwood to make a playoff run.

Central Gwinnett (3-2, 1-2)

The Black Knights were supposed to emerge as a playoff contender. They looked good with a 3-0 start. But after giving up 119 points in the last two games (that's not a typo), Central is the biggest enigma in the county.

Archer (2-3, 1-2)

The Tigers have lost to region heavyweights Grayson and Brookwood. The third-year program is much improved and could sneak into that No. 4 playoff spot.

South Gwinnett (1-4, 1-2)

The Comets came to life in the Georgia Dome two weeks ago, but the other four games have been tough. A third straight playoff appearance looks bleak for the Comets.

Shiloh (1-4, 1-2)

The Generals are a lot tougher than years past, but the schedule doesn't play into their hand. Shiloh may be able to pull out another one or two wins.

Berkmar (1-4, 0-3)

The Patriots are young and inexperienced as expected. This is a building year for the team.

Region 7-AAAAA

North Gwinnett (4-1, 2-0)

The Bulldogs should be 5-0, but they've rebounded nicely with four straight wins. The offense is clicking and the defense is stout. It's another typical year for the Bulldogs.

Norcross (5-0, 2-0)

The Blue Devils' big-play offense has been effective all season. Norcross is one of the state's best teams right now and has the tools for a deep playoff run.

Peachtree Ridge (4-1, 2-0)

The first half of the Lions' schedule has been easy. We'll find out if they are for real with region heavyweights that last half of the year.

Collins Hill (2-3, 1-1)

The Eagles' offense isn't as potent as last year, but they are in the same spot at this point from a season ago. The Eagles need to pull off another winning streak to make the postseason.

Mountain View (2-3, 1-1)

The Bears got a signature region win two weeks ago. But are they for real? If Mountain View can get three more region wins, they'll make the playoffs.

Mill Creek (3-2, 0-2)

The Hawks have hit a skid the last two games. Don't count Mill Creek out just yet. They still have a playoff caliber team, but they might need some help to get in.

Duluth (2-3, 0-2)

The Wildcats have talent, but the program still doesn't know how to win. Duluth needs a victory over a team it's not supposed to beat to get over the hump.

Meadowcreek (0-5, 0-2)

The Mustangs are taking baby steps to get better. Meadowcreek is still a few years away from being competitive for four quarters.

Region 6-AA

Buford (5-0, 0-0)

Buford is Buford. No team has challenged the Wolves yet. If any team is within two scores going into the fourth quarter with them, then that's a moral victory.

GAC (5-0, 0-0)

The Spartans are back as one of the state's top teams and are 5-0 for the first time since 2005. We'll see how far they've come on Oct. 21 against Buford.

Region 5-A

Wesleyan (3-2, 1-1)

The Wolves are still one of the top teams in Class A. They don't have the big names of recent years, but should make the playoffs again.

Non-region

Lanier (2-1)

The Longhorns are slowly building their program. They are still a few ways from competing with the big boys.

Hebron (0-5)

The Lions are in a major re-building year. The offense misses the firepower it had last season.

Catching up with the Super Six

This is how the Daily Post's Super Six are doing midway through the season.

TE/DE Kurt Freitag, Buford

The senior continues to make plays on both sides of the ball. Freitag is expected to make a college decision in late October.

OL Chase Roberts, GAC

Roberts has helped rejuvenate the Spartans' offense and the team is 5-0.

RB/DB Nick Tompkins, Brookwood

Tompkins hasn't had many of the long runs he broke last year, but the senior is still among the county's rushing leaders.

LB Dillon Lee, Buford

The leader of Buford's defense has the team undefeated and poised for another title run.

WR Jason Croom, Norcross

The Tennessee commit is among the county leaders in receptions and has his team 5-0.

OL Vadal Alexander, Buford

The big lineman scored a touchdown in a blowout win earlier this year. He's also helped open holes for one of the county's top running games.

Region 7-AAAAA off this week

Region 7 is taking the week off and there's a buffet of great games in the region in two weeks. Most notably is North-Norcross, but there's also Peachtree Ridge-Collins Hill and Duluth-Mountain View.

We'll have a better idea of the playoff pecking order after those games.

Hawks in black

Mill Creek wore its black uniforms for the second time against Norcross on Friday.

The uniforms look great, but they may want to retire them. The Hawks lost for the second time in the black jerseys after losing to Dacula in the season opener a year ago.

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Comments

ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Meadowcreek (0-5, 0-2)

"The Mustangs are taking baby steps to get better. Meadowcreek is still a few years away from being competitive for four quarters."

The Mustangs have been a few years away from being competitive for four quarters for quite awhile and, unfortunately, may continue to be a few years away from being competitive for four quarters for awhile at almost any level of Georgia high school football, especially if they stay in AAAAA.

I hate to be cliched, but for a program like Meadowcreek that finds itself in the situation it is in, success cannot and will not be measured in wins and losses on the field.

Instead, success wil be measured in how much fight the program has each week in the face of almost insurmountable odds and how many players the program sends to college, which highlights the utmost importance of keeping the program going despite the overwhelming competitive disadvantage that the Mustangs are at to such notable powerhouse programs as North Gwinnett, Norcross, Peachtree Ridge, Mill Creek, Collins Hill, Brookwood, Grayson, Parkview, South Gwinnett and Dacula in a county that is notoriously ultracompetitive in AAAAA prep football as Gwinnett is.

Many of the aforementioned programs have money and community support and seem to produce a plentiful crop of experienced veteran players capable of leading a program into playoff and even state title contention most years while the Mustangs always seem to be rebuilding with a very youthful and inexperienced roster what seems to be each and every year.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Non-region

Lanier (2-1)

"The Longhorns are slowly building their program. They are still a few ways from competing with the big boys."

The 'Horns may still be a few years from competing with the big boys (most likely in what is now 7-AAAAA, depending on how the enrollment fills in), but it sure helps to have an experienced coach and administrator at the helm of the program that is being built from the ground up.

It also helps that the program was born out of the talent-rich North Gwinnett cluster, a cluster with fantastic youth programs that have done a great job of developing kids to play at the varsity level in AAAAA Georgia high school football and even at the college level.

If the Longhorns can carry over that great youth development from the North Gwinnett cluster then they will be able to compete whenever they grow into the higher classifications.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Berkmar (1-4, 0-3)

"The Patriots are young and inexperienced as expected. This is a building year for the team."

The Pats suffer from many of the same problems that most of the other struggling AAAAA football teams in the county suffer from which is a program filled with too much youth and inexperience.

Defensively, the Pats have given up 42 or more points in four of their five games this season, the only exception being the 8 points that they held the perennially epically struggling Meadowcreek Mustangs to in a 31-8 win over the Mustangs in the second week of the season.

Offensively, the Pats haven't fared much better scoring only 14 or fewer points in the other four games outside of the Meadowcreek win, being shutout against third-year expansion program Archer (0-42) and only scoring six points each in games against state title contender Grayson (6-56) and offensively explosive rebuilding Central (6-49).

The second-half of the season doesn't look any better with games against always-tough Parkview (away), an unpredictable reloading up-and-down South program capable of its own offensive explosions (away), a talented, but rebuilding Shiloh program that has some speed on the offense and is very hungry for wins (home), a very experienced Dacula program with over 30 seniors that is starting to look like it is working its way into playoff and even region title contention (home) and, of course, the defending state champion Brookwood Broncos, a team with a powerful running attack that may just be looking to make the playoffs, set a powerful tone and send a very powerful message to any potential postseason opponents in the last game of the regular season on Senior Night (away).

Each of the teams that the Pats will face in the second-half of the season have some type powerful or speedy advantage on offense to exploit the Pats glaring weaknesses on defense (mainly continued youth & inexperience).

And three of the five teams the Pats will face in the second-half of the season look to be solid playoff and even region title contenders (Parkview, Dacula and Brookwood) with offenses loaded with experienced skill players and athletes that the Pats will have a very difficult time defending.

Looking at the schedule, the Pats best remaining remote chance for a win in region play in the second half of the season looks to be maybe against Shiloh and even that will be a major challenge as new Generals head coach Montgomery looks to be changing the additude of that program to one where the players at least believe that they belong in a fiercely competitive 8-AAAAA.

Overall, though, the Patriots will have to play very hard in the second-half of the season if they do not want to be embarrassed by some teams looking to make big statements during the stretch run of the season.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

South Gwinnett (1-4, 1-2)

"The Comets came to life in the Georgia Dome two weeks ago, but the other four games have been tough. A third straight playoff appearance looks bleak for the Comets."

The Comets are a reloading program that is in the midst of attempting to regain its traction after losing so many talented and experienced players on the roster to graduation last year.

Making the playoffs with the likes of Brookwood, Dacula and Grayson remaining on the roster may be a bit too much to ask for a program that looks to have some promising talent, but is rebuilding with youth, though opposing teams should not overlook South and just write them off as an automatic win as the Comets very much proved that they are capable of exploding for a ton of points as any given time as they did in the game against Central in the Dome a couple of weeks ago.

The Comets also had improved enough defensively to hold a power running team in Parkview to only 20 points in their 20-7 loss to the Panthers last week.

The Comets should probably pick up at least another win against rebuilding Berkmar and are capable of a volatile offensive explosion and a sudden surprise ambush against any one of the remaining contenders on the schedule (Brookwood, Dacula and/or even Grayson), who should under no circumstances let their guard down against this South team which is capable of going anywhere from between 1-4 to 3-2 to finish the season.

How the Comets finish the season all depends on how comfortable Quarterback Mason Hart and rest of the skill players can get in the offense and how much the defense can continue to improve in the second-half of the season.

As they proved in the Central game in the Dome, if QB Mason Hart and the offense get comfortable in their roles, then lookout 8-AAAAA as this is an offense that is capable of putting up a lot of big numbers at any given time, a very dangerous and volatile team in 8-AAAAA indeed if they ever get it clicking.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Shiloh (1-4, 1-2)

"The Generals are a lot tougher than years past, but the schedule doesn't play into their hand. Shiloh may be able to pull out another one or two wins."

Despite a second-half schedule with matchups against the likes of Grayson, Brookwood, Central and even a very physical Archer expansion program, the Generals will continue to be a tough-out under new head coach Brian Montgomery who looks to be trying to bring a playoff-type mentality to the program.

The Generals may not make the playoffs this year, but given that the Generals are building towards a playoff mentality they may be motivated by the opportunity to have a say in who makes the playoffs from 8-AAAAA with Grayson, Brookwood, Archer and Central remaining on the schedule.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Archer (2-3, 1-2)

"The Tigers have lost to region heavyweights Grayson and Brookwood. The third-year program is much improved and could sneak into that No. 4 playoff spot."

Archer is a team that has been catching opposing teams off-guard with their tremendous and increasing physicality.

Teams have been walking away from games with the Tigers in total amazement of the amount of physicality that they've been showing for a third-year expansion program.

If Archer keeps up and increases the physical play they very well could sneak into the playoffs out of 8-AAAAA.

The Tigers look like they could pose a problem for the remaining teams on their schedule as the Tigers have showed up to play in each game so far this season will likely continue to play very physical with what looks to be a legit shot at the postseason in play.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Central Gwinnett (3-2, 1-2)

"The Black Knights were supposed to emerge as a playoff contender. They looked good with a 3-0 start. But after giving up 119 points in the last two games (that's not a typo), Central is the biggest enigma in the county."

The last two games against South and Brookwood has exposed some glaring defensive deficiencies against both the pass and the run as the Black Knights have given 63 and 56 points in the past two games, respectively to a spread passing team in the Comets and a power running team in the Broncos.

Central's defensive challenges don't look to get any better this week against another spread team with a very mobile quarterback in Dacula which has found its physicality on the defensive side and its overall confidence over the past couple of games in a 20-6 win over defending state champs Brookwood and a 25-0 shutout win over a rebuilding tough-out in Shiloh.

All that I can say is that the Black Knights had better rediscover the defense that got them to a 3-0 start, because points may be at an even more of a premium this week than last against a fast, physical, very athletic and very experienced Dacula defense that faces the spread offense that Central runs in practice everyday, albeit at a slower pace.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Parkview (2-2, 2-0)

"The Panthers are the best kept secret in the region. No one is talking about them, but they have a strong running game and a good defense. That's the perfect recipe for success in the region."

Right now, with their strong running game and their defense, the Panthers look to be contenders for a home playoff game and possibly even the region title.

Though after hosting rebuilding Berkmar on this coming Friday, the schedule gets alot more challenging with games remaining against teams that are all in contention for postseason berths as of this week with three of those games being against teams that are presently in contention for the 8-AAAAA region title (vs Grayson, at Brookwood, at Dacula).

Realistically with the remaining tough schedule it looks like the Panthers could finish anywhere from third in the region to fifth and out of the playoffs looking in.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Grayson (4-0, 2-0)

"The Rams are the best team in the region and arguably in the county. Grayson hasn't been tested since its season opener, but that will change in October."

The Rams have been making a concerted effort to become more balanced on offense over the last couple of years and with the challenging remaining schedule, it looks like that effort to incorporate more of a West Coast Spread-type passing dimension into their Wing-T rushing-dominated attack just may come in very handy in helping to keep some tough opposing defenses off-balance.

The Rams' recently-found Multiple (Spread Wing-T) offensive approach just may be the difference in looming 8-AAAAA monster game matchups against teams like Dacula, Parkview, South, Brookwood and Central and especially against the very physical defenses of Dacula, Parkview and Brookwood.

And it doesn't hurt to have a prolific scoring capability against the likes of high-powered South and Central, two teams that could explode for 60 at anytime, though I would expect that the talented and physical Grayson defense would have no problem keeping them in check.

The Rams are still obviously the favorite to win the region, but in no way should anyone should expect it to be a cakewalk as there are some VERY tough games against 8-AAAAA contenders (and pretenders) looming in the second-half of the season, most notably against Dacula, Parkview and Brookwood.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Duluth (2-3, 0-2)

"The Wildcats have talent, but the program still doesn't know how to win. Duluth needs a victory over a team it's not supposed to beat to get over the hump."

I don't know the status of his ankle injury, but obviously starting QB Anfornee Stewart is the key to the young Wildcats' season.

With Stewart in at QB, the 'Cats are a very prolific offensive team and are almost nearly a playoff contender for which no opposing teams' lead is truly safe.

Without Stewart, the 'Cats still are not the same pushover team that they had been for many years up until Corey Jarvis arrived, but they are not nearly the same team they are that always seems to have a chance with Stewart.

Duluth MUST have Stewart at QB to have any hopes of late-season success and to have a shot at validating their fading playoff hopes.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Mill Creek (3-2, 0-2)

"The Hawks have hit a skid the last two games. Don't count Mill Creek out just yet. They still have a playoff caliber team, but they might need some help to get in."

Though the 0-2 region start has hurt their region title aspirations, having John Russ back to lead the team at QB helps the Hawks' postseason hopes tremendously.

Not to mention that the Hawks get two weeks to prepare for winless Meadowcreek, with which a bye week and Meadowcreek after returning to play is the cure for whatever ails you and just what the doctor ordered to get a skidding team like Mill Creek back into the swing of things back in 7-AAAAA.

After Meadowcreek on October 7th, the schedule gets brutal for the Hawks with games against Collins Hill, North, P'tree Ridge and Duluth to finish out the regular season.

The Hawks have to win at least three of their remaining five games and likely have to split the last four to give themselves the best shot at making the playoffs again this season.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Mountain View (2-3, 1-1)

"The Bears got a signature region win two weeks ago. But are they for real? If Mountain View can get three more region wins, they'll make the playoffs."

The Bears are a tough-out who as it stands right now look to have at least an outside shot at a postseason berth, if not the opportunity to make some noise for a third-year expansion team in 7-AAAAA.

But with a remaining schedule of five games, three of which include back-to-back away games at North and Collins Hill and a home game with Norcross to finish up the regular season, three more region wins might still be too tall of an order for the third-year Bears, though the Mill Creek win certainly sent the message that the Bears are not to be overlooked in 7-AAAAA play.

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NGHS09 2 years, 6 months ago

ACC12_SEC13Booster....Finish the rest of R7. I enjoy reading your comments so keep it comin!

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HonestIngine 2 years, 6 months ago

ACC12_SEC13Booster... Great comments..... kudo's

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Sorry that I haven't been able to finish, but I got extremely busy and have been very short on time as of late.

But I encourage other readers to PLEASE feel free to give their own analysis as well so that we can keep this unique feature going as Gwinnett County is by far one of the most dominant regions for high school sports, ESPECIALLY football, in the entire nation.

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 6 months ago

Peachtree Ridge (4-1, 2-0)

"The first half of the Lions' schedule has been easy. We'll find out if they are for real with region heavyweights that last half of the year."

With games remaining against Collins Hill (away), Norcross (home), Duluth (home), Mill Creek (away) & North Gwinnett (away) have a brutal schedule.

After the opening game loss to region 5-AAAAA co-leading and top-ten contending Walton in the Dome, the Lions have adjusted to their new head coach and come on nicely with new schemes and philosophies on both sides of the ball.

The Lions have especially come on well on the offensive side of the ball in adjusting to new head coach Mark Fleetwood's "Multiple-I" offensive system which has help to put to better use all of the very athletic weapons that they have on that side of the ball.

The way things stand in the region right now, the Lions only need to win at least two of their remaining five games to get into the playoffs as four wins in seven games will likely qualify a team for the postseason out of 7-AAAAA, though this team looks like it could be capable of at least going 3-2 in this brutal five-game stretch.

Though against this brutal quintet of opponents the Lions will have no choice but to take each of these very high-quality opponents one game at-a-time as there is no such thing as looking ahead against this very difficult and challenging second-half schedule.

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NGHS09 2 years, 6 months ago

I want to know what you have to say about NG this year.

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