Brookwood's Ky Priester tries to break away from a Parkview defender during a game earlier this season.
BROOKWOOD AT SHILOH
Brookwood Broncos (8-AAAAAA)
Coach: Mark Crews
Record: 3-2, 2-1 region
Last week: Beat Dacula 45-17
Shiloh Generals (8-AAAAAA)
Coach: Troy Hobbs
Record: 3-3, 1-3 region
Last week: Lost to Archer 31-28
For two teams and programs in different stages of development at the midway point of this season, both coaches sounds like echoes of the other.
Brookwood, 2-1 in Region 8-AAAAAA and coming off a lopsided win over Dacula, has struggled to maintain focus at times and head coach Mark Crews quickly identified his biggest concern.
"We want more consistency on defense is what we want," said Crews, whose Broncos have allowed an average of 19 points in their three region games. "It's kind of hot and cold, it's not like we have different players out there, or different schemes."
But the Broncos have done well enough to be in every game, even the close loss to Parkview that saw penalties erase two touchdowns. And they bounced back the next week.
"You sit around and lick your wounds pretty long in this league and anybody can whoop you," Crews said. "You've to got be level and you've got to work hard and improve and get better each week."
The Broncos will most likely miss the services of tight end and defensive lineman Shaun McGee this week as he recovers from an ankle injury, but outside of him, the Broncos are still a healthy bunch.
For Shiloh, a team with three straight losses, first-year head coach Troy Hobbs said he's preaching the same thing as his General face another balanced offensive attack.
"We are trying to be consistent all-around, offensively and defensively," Hobbs said. "Against Archer (last week) we got a little better. That's the big thing is being consistent on everything we are doing. I don't know if we can beat Brookwood, but we are going to go compete, I know that much."
If the Generals did beat Brookwood, it would be the first in a long time. The two schools with long histories by Gwinnett standards, have met 25 times and Shiloh has won just twice, the last time coming in 1995.
That game alone shows the difference between the programs. Crews was a Brookwood assistant in that game and Shiloh's had eight different head coaches. But Hobbs, who came over from North Gwinnett before this season, knows the process he wants to follow takes patience.
"The kids are giving great effort, but with that effort we have to learn how to play the game of football. They are getting better and that's why we continue to work and practice every day," Hobbs said. "You can't have any little mistakes if you want to compete in this region. If you take care of the little things, the little things handle the bigger things.
"We are working every day, it's a challenge in this region."
Hobbs admitted it is frustrating facing strong teams every week with a young developing team, but quickly credited his quarterback Devante James and defensive back Austin Exford as players who keep his team working and improving.
"They are our leaders and they are taking us where we want to be," he said. "The kids see them working and they want to work, too."