Rams, Broncos focus on each other, playoff seeding

File Photo Grayson's Wayne Gallman runs the ball during the Rams' game against Archer earlier this season.

File Photo Grayson's Wayne Gallman runs the ball during the Rams' game against Archer earlier this season.

LOGANVILLE -- If there was ever a temptation for teams to be doing a little scoreboard watching, tonight's Region 8-AAAAAA contest between No. 4 state-ranked Grayson and Brookwood at Grayson Community Stadium might be time.

After all, the playoff seedings for both teams depend not just on their game with each other, but to an all-important clash between Parkview and South Gwinnett in Snellville.

Of course, both coaches want their respective team's focus to be on the task at hand tonight.

"Of course, we're all going to be anxious to hear (the Parkview-South score) because all four of us are kind of in this together," Grayson coach Mickey Conn said. "But it's senior night, and Brookwood's got a really good football team. And they're a big rival to us, and our kids really get up for that game.

"I think our kids are going to be focused. They've been looking forward to this game ever since it's been on the schedule."

Focus has not been a problem for Grayson (8-1, 6-1) lately as the defending state champion Rams have steamrolled through six straight opponents since their shocking loss to Parkview by a combined score of 293-34 -- including a 230-0 mark over the current school-record four game shutout streak.

And if the Rams weren't already focused enough, an opportunity to claim the region's top state playoff seed, which would come with a Grayson win combined with a South win over Parkview, should have them even more ready to play.

"I would hope so. We've got a lot to play for," Conn said. "Not only that, but we're getting ready to go into the playoffs. So, there's a lot of work we've got to improve on in all phases of the game. And like I said, we're playing a quality opponent -- a really well-coached team."

Indeed, Brookwood (6-3, 5-2) has plenty of its usual quality in terms of talent, particularly with offensive skill position threats like the running back tandem Jamaal Cole and Josh Brown, quarterback Zach Moon and receiver Ky Priester.

"I think (Brookwood's offense) is a big challenge," Conn said. "Our defense has played great the last few weeks. I've been pleased with that. But they'll be challenged this week with all the weapons Brookwood will bring over. We'll see how it works out."

While that should put the Broncos in a position to challenge Grayson's shutout streak, it is when the Rams have the ball that has Brookwood coach Mark Crews just as concerned.

Starting safety Afolabi Laguda has been lost for the season due to injury, and several other defensive players are fighting though various injuries.

But Crews says his Broncos will battle through the best they can.

"We've still got a couple of people banged up," Crews said. "But that's all part of football. Stopping (Grayson) enough and not giving them a short field is very important because you're not going to get a great deal of chances against their defense. If we don't stop them and flip the field a few times, it's not going to be pretty."

Indeed, as impressive as Grayson's defense has been through its current shutout streak, the Rams' offense has been just as formidable.

The pounding of a physical line has opened up holes for a multi-talented running game led by Wayne Gallman and Aares McCall, as well as the occasional strikes through the air from quarterback David McTier and receivers like Corey Schaeffer and Jordan Germany, as the Rams have scored at least 41 points in each game in their current six-game winning streak.

"Any way you slice it, they're a good football team," Crews said of Grayson. "We're going to have to play our best and maybe get a few breaks here and there. We've got to take advantage of any opportunities we get and try to keep it close late."