South Gwinnett quarterback Jordan Ramey (2) attempts to avoid being sacked by Norcross defensive end Lorenzo Carter (25) during the game last week.
With much to be learned from the first week of the season, Corey Jarvis saw something in his Duluth team that in years past had been lacking.
Things didn't go well early for the Wildcats against Berkmar with an a botched snap and penalties erasing a pair of touchdowns and another long run. But rather than give in to the adversity, Duluth fought back.
"We learned that our team actually has a little more intestinal fortitude than what we had last year," the head coach Jarvis said. "If things that happened last week happened last year they would have quit in the middle of the game."
Rather, they responded with strength and a 22-15 win, the third straight season-opening win for the Wildcats over a Region 8 opponent, though this year with six As. Each of the past two years, the Wildcats started 2-0 with win a second week win over a floundering Northview program.
Things change this week as Duluth hosts another 8-AAAAAA team in South Gwinnett.
The Comets are coming off a disappointing loss to Norcross in Week 1 that saw South blow a third-quarter lead and commit 17 penalties, a point of emphasis this week in Snellville.
"You can't have 17 penalties and win a game in this league," said South head coach John Small. "We had way too many penalties. I thought they played hard against a good football team, but you can't have penalties and win football games like that."
Both teams escaped the first week without added injury. Duluth's Myles Campbell was hit with tough cramps, but Jarvis said he expects his standout receiver and defensive back to play this week.
"We have a couple kids that will be limited on Friday," Jarvis said. "We are not 100 percent, but the same guys that played last week will play this week."
And against South and quarterback Jordan Ramey, Duluth will need Campbell. Against Norcross and its tough front four, Ramey threw for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"He makes their offense go," Jarvis said of Ramey.
Ramey's numbers took a hit in the second half when South was forced to throw and put itself in plenty of first-and-long situations with penalties.
"When they know you are going to throw it, they can pin their ears back," Small said. "We can't put ourselves in that situation. We can't make it worse than it is."
South showed it could run the ball as well, scoring to open the second half last week with a drive of nearly all running plays.
"They run really well on the offensive line," Jarvis said.
Tonight is the home opener for Duluth and the final tuneup as both teams look to begin play in their regions in a week.
"You have to play good people to get ready to play region ball," Small said. "You can't get a false sense of security from playing people that aren't very good."