Berkmar at Duluth preview

Berkmar’s Kaleb Catching

Berkmar’s Kaleb Catching

Berkmar Patriots (8-AAAAAA)

Coach: Jonathan Sanks

2012 Record: 2-8

Last week: Did not play

Duluth Wildcats (7-AAAAAA)

Coach: Jason Conner

2012 Record: 4-6

Last week: Did not play

Berkmar ended the 2012 season with an exciting win over Region 8 opponent Dacula, the first since 1994. The Patriots used that momentum during the offseason and hope to see it pay off during the 2013 campaign.

“I’m so pumped. I’m ready to go,” Berkmar head coach Jonathan Sanks said. “I think we’re ready.”

Berkmar will get a chance at redemption against Duluth Friday. The Wildcats rallied to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat the Patriots last season. It’s a comeback Sanks firmly remembers.

“I remember everything. It won’t happen again,” Sanks said.

The Patriots return one of the county’s top passers from last season in JaQuan Morris, who threw for 1,970 yards 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Meanwhile, the defense returns linebacker Kaleb Catching, who posted 65 tackles and one interception a year ago.

“Their size — they are a massive team,” said Duluth’s Jason Conner, who is making his head coaching debut. “They have three or four linemen that are bigger than anything we have. And they have a quarterback that can throw it.”

Duluth played Dacula in a scrimmage two weeks ago and trailed 16-7 at the half.

“We need to play more physical,” Conners said. “We’ve had two good weeks of practice.”

Quarterback Thad Bell started four games last year for Duluth and threw for 1,115 yards with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions.

“Their coaches are sharp. They have good ballplayers,” Sanks said. “I think they are a really good football team.”

Last meeting: Duluth won 22-15 last year

Directions to Duluth High School: From I-85, take Ga. Highway 120 west to Buford Highway and turn right. Take a left at the next light onto Brock Road and school is on the left