0

North riding big win into out-of-state matchup

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan -- North Gwinnett quarterback Michael Haynes (13) looks to throw the ball during the Corky Kell Classic against Colquitt County at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta last week.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan -- North Gwinnett quarterback Michael Haynes (13) looks to throw the ball during the Corky Kell Classic against Colquitt County at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta last week.

BREAKDOWN

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Stadium information

A.C. Flora (S.C.) Falcons

Coach: Dean Howell

Record: 2-0

Last week: Beat Gilbert 51-36

North Gwinnett Bulldogs (7-AAAAAA)

• Team page

Coach: Bob Sphire

Record: 1-0

Last week: Beat Colquitt County 16-14

North Gwinnett used a last-second field goal to win its season opener last week.

Head coach Bob Sphire wouldn't mind not waiting until the very end on Saturday against South Carolina's A.C. Flora.

"Hey man, we'll take it anyway we can," Sphire said. "They are a quality football team."

A.C. Flora, which is outside of Columbia, was the runner-up in the lower state championship last season and finished the year 12-2.

The game is part of a doubleheader in the National High School Gridiron Challenge hosted by North.

South Georgia power Valdosta will play North Augusta at noon and North Gwinnett vs. A.C. Flora at 6 p.m. The event was originally supposed to be a tripleheader with DeKalb County power Stephenson playing Pensacola's Pine Forest at 3 p.m., but Hurricane Isaac forced Pine Forest to cancel the trip.

"I'm tickled to death with the lineup we have," Sphire said before the Stephenson game was cancelled. "The history Valdosta has is second to none. You can't say enough about the quality of program Stephenson has. I think you have a good mixture from South Georgia to city school to the suburbs. I think it's a good makeup of Georgia football state-wide."

North is riding high after its 16-14 win over No. 2 ranked Colquitt County in Saturday's Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome. Michael D'Angola kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Bulldogs to victory.

The win propelled North from being unranked in the state poll to No. 4 this week.

The Bulldogs' defense held Colquitt's high scoring offense to just 14 points, but will face a different style offense with A.C. Flora (2-0).

"They are a much different approach than Colquitt County," Sphire said. "They are going to line up in the I and run it at you. It's the old traditional out of the I type stuff."

Converted defensive back to quarterback Jake Lewis, who was a member of the state champion baseball team, accounted for three TDs in A.C. Flora's comeback win over White Knoll in the season opener.

Lewis' top receiver is Schroder Carlton, who had 1,000 yards receiving last year.

"They have a lot of weapons around him," Sphire said.

North Gwinnett's Dante Sawyer is coming off a monster game in the Dome. The junior defensive lineman had 16 tackles, three tackles for loss, five QB hurries and two forced fumbles last week.

"He had a tremendous game," Sphire said.

Fellow lineman Preston Green had six tackles, two for loss, two QB hurries and a sack.

"Those two in particular put a lot of pressure on (Colquitt)," Sphire said.

Cornerback Donnie Miles had nine tackles and Colton Manning had seven tackles and one pass break up.

North's offense only managed to score one touchdown. That was when Miles, a North Carolina commitment, was put in at running back at the end of the third quarter and scored a 77-yard touchdown.

Senior Michael Haynes made his first varsity start at quarterback and was 14 of 20 for 114 yards and one interception.

"We've got to get more consistency," Sphire said. "Looking back at the film, we were really close to making some big plays."