THE BLITZ: Sign of the apocalypse or just great football?

Editor’s Note: Brandon Brigman, a sports writer for the Daily Post, writes a blog every Monday called “The Blitz.” It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com.

It case you haven't heard, Grayson and North Gwinnett lost on Friday.

Yes, you read that right.

This is the same Grayson team that is or was ranked No. 1 in the nation. The same Grayson team that's the defending state champions. The same Grayson team that has 10 starters back on defense. The same Grayson team that features the No. 1 college prospect in the country in Robert Nkmediche. The same Grayson team that was supposed to walk its way to the Georgia Dome and another state title.

Parkview must have not gotten the memo.

On the same night North Gwinnett lost to Norcross. This is a North program that has won the last three Region 7 championships. It had a 22-game region winning streak. It had beaten the Blue Devils four years in a row.

On the same night two of Gwinnett's top teams lost a rare regular season game. It shouldn't be a sign of concern for either program or the state of Gwinnett football. Grayson and North will bounce back and will still be playing in November when the playoffs start.

If anything, I think the losses by Grayson and North shows us how deep the competition is in the county. You can't have an off week or you'll get beat.


Impressions from Friday

Proud of Panthers

You can't talk about the history of Gwinnett County football without mentioning Parkview and Brookwood. The two programs helped build the county into the football juggernaut it is today in the late 90s and early 00's.

Both have been the measuring stick for other programs. But let's be honest, this hasn't been the same Parkview program of the early 2000's in recent years.

Season after season I've seen teams get their signature win over Parkview. It was nice for the Panthers to finally get a big win of their own over Grayson. Parkview has pushed itself from playoff hopeful to region title contender. That hasn't been the case since the mid-2000's.

How did Grayson lose?

A lot of people want to know how Grayson lost. It's pretty simple when you turn the ball over four times and have more than 100 yards in penalties. But how does that happen?

Grayson was coming off a bye. How do you have four turnovers and that many penalties when you've had two weeks to prepare? It's not like this is the first game of the season. This was the third game in four weeks for the Rams.

What also doesn't make sense is Parkview scored three points in two games and then put up 22 on Grayson's defense. This is the same defense that allowed 13 points a game last year. It's not like Parkview came out running a new offense or something. I just don't get it.

Is Norcross for real?

Norcross always seems to have the best athletes year in and year out, but struggles in the postseason. The Blue Devils have another talented team this year, but can they make a playoff push? They finally beat North Gwinnett, who opened the season with a win over south Georgia power Colquitt County. Norcross also had a 20-0 win over Parkview, which just beat defending state champion Grayson.

Considering their quality of wins, I think you have to have Norcross as a state title contender right now.

New General in charge

I talked for first-year Shiloh coach Troy Hobbs last week and he asked me when I was going to cover a Shiloh game. I joked with him and told him as soon as Shiloh posts a winning record. He said OK and that he would add it to his to-do list. Shiloh hasn't had a winning season since 2003, but the way Hobbs is moving the program I might be covering a game sooner than expected.

Shiloh is 3-0 for the first time since 1991. Have the Generals played some really good teams? No, but that's not the point. This is a program that's on its third head coach in as many years and is coming off a drama-filled spring that included the former head coach resigning for recruiting violations.

Shiloh is winning with a strong defense. They've allowed just 20 points all season. They gave up 19 or more in every game last year. This is a program that finally has some confidence, but we'll see how they measure over the next month with three of their next four games against playoff teams from a year ago.

North needs some help on offense

North Gwinnett has as good of a defense as any in the state. But the Bulldogs have to find some more playmakers on offense. Quarterback Michael Haynes is all they have right now, at least that's what I saw on Friday. When Donnie Miles is in at running back, he gives the Bulldogs another explosive player. But Miles is used primarily on defense and the offense isn't the same with him not in there. The Bulldogs have to find another Miles-caliber player to take the load off Haynes if they want to have success this year.


What's on tap

We'll find out if Parkview's win over Grayson was a fluke this week. The Panthers get another playoff team from last season in Archer.

I feel bad for Dacula. The Falcons are 0-3 and now get to face an angry Grayson team coming off a loss. I don't think it will be pretty.

After an 0-2 start, Peachtree Ridge can show it has turned things around against Mill Creek. The Hawks have region title aspirations. This is the best game in the region this week.


Win on Twitter

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ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 9 months ago

"Sign of the apocalypse or just great football?" ...No apocalypse, just plain ol' great football or as we call it in Gwinnett, a regular Friday night.

"How did Grayson lose?" ...Grayson lost because they likely started believing their own press clippings and all of the hype about them with the gaudy #1 state and national rankings, which as the Rams were reminded of the hard way on Friday, don't mean a darn thing in Georgia high school football, especially in Gwinnett County and particularly at the AAAAAA level where anyone, no matter how highly touted or ranked can be beaten at any given time by a hungrier opponent. No one is going to lay down and rollover for you because of some sky-high ranking all a bunch of national hype. If anything, they are going to come after you even harder as a defending state champion with a #1 state ranking and a #1 national ranking is very much the hunted in Georgia AAAAAA high school football.

"Is Norcross for real?" ...Norcross is for real, at least talent-wise, as the Blue Devils are once again loaded with unbelievable amounts of talent and seem to be even moreso this year. The only thing about the Devils is that they seem to get a lot of penalties, particularly on offense where there seem to be a lot of procedural penalties that seem to take the team backwards at key times during offensive drives, which is something that absolutely must be cleaned up for the Devils to have a legitimate shot at region and state title contention especially with very tough games against very strong region opponents like Mill Creek, Collins Hill, Peachtree Ridge and even Mountain View still remaining on the schedule. If the Blue Devils do not clean up the sometimes sloppy and undiscipined play and start avoiding those silly drive-killing procedural penalties at the line of scrimmage on offense, the Devils will not remain in the hunt for region and state titles for long.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 9 months ago

"New General in charge"

...Troy Hobbs has coaching pedigree and is the real deal over at Shiloh, especially after the instability that the program has had at the head coaching position over the last several years and the three straight wins to start off the season is reason for early (yet very guarded) optimism about the long term direction of the program.

But despite some relatively very early success against three admittedly lesser opponents, the reality remains that Coach Hobbs has a very tough job on his hands in rebuilding a long-struggling Shiloh program in the brutal Region 8-AAAAAA (one of the toughest high school football conferences in the entire nation) that will require a great deal of patience and committment from all parties involved (parents, boosters, adminstration, community, Coach Hobbs himself, etc).

A successful rebuild of the Shiloh program can be done, it's just that it is an undertaking that is going to take a heckuva lot of patience and understanding in a region with such stellar programs like South, Dacula, Parkview and, especially, the two most recent state champions of the highest classification, Grayson and Brookwood on the prowl.


ACC12_SEC13Booster 2 years, 9 months ago

"North needs some help on offense"

...With Meadowcreek next up on the schedule on Friday and then a bye week before playing Duluth on October 5th, it appears as if North is about to have a tremendous opportunity in the schedule to build some confidence for players needing to step up and grow into filling those roles on the offense as there could be no better opportunity for a program of North's caliber to get well quick than to put on an offensive clinic against Meadowcreek, have a bye week and then come out and be forced to play a more balanced game against a competitive yet overmatched Duluth program on Oct 5th before playing an extremely-talented but sometimes very-inconsistent Mill Creek program in a key region matchup on Oct 12th.

As for what seems to some to be a lack of playmaking ability on the offense, it could be a case of younger players not necessarily growing into their roles as of yet early on, or it could be that the attrition of losing assistants off of the coaching staff combined with opening of Lanier a couple of years ago and the splitting of the talent pool in the North Gwinnett district with much of the football talent that would be playing for NG now playing for Lanier is starting to take its toll on the NG program, especially as Coach Sphire has not necessarily been able to fill many of the open spots on the coaching staff on a permanent basis due to a lack of available open teaching spots in the Gwinnett County school system at the moment.


NG_Dawg 2 years, 9 months ago

"North needs some help on offense"

North has been missing one of starting WRs and Punt Returns from last years team. He has been sick all summer, but expect him to be back before the end of season. He has been Haynes' favorite target since 8th grade and should help the offense out giving it another play maker.


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