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.
Friday nights in the fall have turned into much more than just high school football games. In the South, it's the place to be on a Friday night. From the band, cheerleaders, youth teams, student sections, sometimes it's hard to remember you're there to watch a football game.
Here's some of the things I like about Gwinnett County football that has nothing to do with the players on the field.
• The funnel cakes at Parkview games
Funnel cakes are a sportswriter's kryptonite, or at least mine.
• South Gwinnett's marching band
My favorite band to listen to for the past three or four years. These kids know how to take all the popular songs and play them. It's hard not to get excited when you hear them play.
• The Cha-Cha Slide at North Gwinnett games, which has now been changed to The Wobble
I'm a sucker for dance songs at weddings. What's better than to do them at a high school football game? Everybody clap your hands …
• Sitting in a castle to cover Central Gwinnett games
Let's just say you feel like royalty in the castle. I'm still waiting for William and Kate to show up.
• Dinner at The Lodge before Brookwood games
Bronco fans know how to chow down before games. It's got that old-school big family feel to the dinner.
• Interviewing Grayson head coach Mickey Conn with kids in his arms
I can't tell you how many times I've interviewed Mickey with his sons Brodey and Spencer right there in his arms. They usually go off and play by the time the interview is over, but it's a good reminder that family is more important than football.
• The open-air press box at Buford
It's a little cold during the playoffs, but on a nice fall Friday night in Georgia there's no better place to enjoy the weather.
• Listening to Guns N Roses 'Welcome To The Jungle' at Parkview
I mean seriously, is there a more appropriate song for a stadium?
• Covering the game with my dad
If you see a 6-foot-4, 300-pound guy with me at games, that's not my security guard. It's my dad. He's been going with me to high school games for the last five years. He helps me out by keeping defensive stats, but it's always nice to have him there every Friday to talk sports, family and life.
Impressions from Friday
Parkview still strong with new QB
I thought Parkview would have a letdown after its big win over Grayson on Friday. The Panthers lost starting quarterback Rob Youngblood to a broken collarbone and Mac Marshall made his first start against Archer.
Marshall wasn't counted on to make any big throws, he just needed to manage the game and he did. Youngblood didn't have great numbers through the first three games, but he was a leader at the position. Marshall, who is also a member of the Panthers' state champion baseball team, fits in the same mold as Youngblood.
Teams like Brookwood, Grayson, Camden County and Lowndes have shown you don't have to have a 300-yard passer to be successful. You just need a strong running game and good defense, which the Panthers have this year.
Panthers tame Tigers' running game
I was looking forward to see Archer's vaunted running game against Parkview on Friday. It never showed up.
The Tigers' Ernest Alexander and Sean Fowler rushed for 100 yards or more in the first three games.
That streak ended against Parkview. Alexander was injured on his first and only carry, while Fowler was held to negative yards rushing.
Wesleyan's Delk continues to shine
I know a lot of people follow Class AAAAAA teams, but keep an eye out for Wesleyan's Rhett Delk. The linebacker continues to shine every week for the Wolves.
He kicked a 49-yard field goal to lift Wesleyan to a 17-14 win over Brookstone. Two things stand out about that kick. First, Delk thought it was about 35 and not 49. Second, he's a linebacker kicking a field goal that long. There aren't that many pure kickers in the county who can hit a 49-yard field goal.
Delk kicked the game-winner a week after recording 11 tackles, five for loss, an interception and a safety.
Grayson gets back on track
It was no surprise to see Grayson win big over Dacula on Friday.
The Rams were up 28-0 at halftime and went on to win 45-7.
What did surprise was the Rams committed 16 penalties for 126 yards.
That's more than 200 yards of penalties in the last two games. The only difference this game was the Rams didn't turn the ball over four times.
That many penalties is flirting with fire and could burn Grayson again.
What's on tap?
Brookwood at Parkview — It's the Battle of Five Forks. Do I need to say anymore? This is the rivalry that helped build Gwinnett County football. In case you forgot, Brookwood won last year on a kickoff returned for a touchdown in the game's final seconds. It was arguably the most exciting game in the series' history. If Parkview wins this game, it will be sitting pretty to win the region championship. If Brookwood wins, then it will make the Region 8 race much more interesting.
Norcross at Mill Creek — Mill Creek has never beaten Norcross, but this year may be the Hawks' best chance. The Hawks look like a playoff caliber team to me, but this game will be a great indicator. Norcross is ranked No. 3 in the state and has won every game by double digits.
South at Central — Central can begin to make me a believer out of me this week. They play a much improved South Gwinnett team this week. We'll see if Central's defense has actually improved this Friday. South won this game last year 63-55. This week's game will feature two of the county's top quarterbacks in Central's Eman Westmoreland and South's Jordan Ramey.
Win on Twitter
Want to win a free Blitz t-shirt and a coupon for a Chick-fil-A biscuit? Give the Blitz a shout-out on Twitter to be entered. Be sure to mention @GDPsports in the tweet. We'll draw a winner on Wednesday.