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PREP FOOTBALL NOTES: North opens playoffs with rare road game

North Gwinnett’s C.J. Leggett (7) carries the ball past Peachtree Ridge’s Aaron Harris (44) during high school football action in Suwanee Friday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

North Gwinnett’s C.J. Leggett (7) carries the ball past Peachtree Ridge’s Aaron Harris (44) during high school football action in Suwanee Friday. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

For the first time under head coach Bob Sphire, North Gwinnett will begin the playoffs on the road.

In the previous seven years under Sphire, North finished either No. 1 or No. 2 in the region.

The Bulldogs were in a three-way tie for the Region 7-AAAAAA championship this season, but lost a coin flip to determine the playoff seeding.

That means North will begin its playoff journey on the road at Milton on Friday.

If there’s any consolation, the Bulldogs don’t have to face a traditional power in the first round. Milton has never won a playoff game in the school’s 60-plus year football history. The Eagles were knocked out of the first round last year by South Gwinnett.

The North Gwinnett-Milton winner will play the Archer-North Forsyth winner in the second round. North is 7-0 in first round playoff games under Sphire.

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Chris 
Shelling

Central’s Shelling piles on catches

Central Gwinnett’s season is over, but Chris Shelling may have locked up the No. 1 spot for receptions this season.

Shelling caught 18 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown in the Black Knights’ final game of the regular season. Shelling was the county’s leading receiver in catches going into the game. He has 34 more catches that No. 2 Nate Brown from North Gwinnett.

Broncos ride Morrow’s foot to playoffs

Brookwood kicker Brandon Morrow kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime to put the Broncos in the playoffs for the 12th straight year.

It’s the longest active streak by Gwinnett schools in the highest classification.

Morrow kicked five field goals, including a 31-yard game-winner, to beat Grayson 30-27. Morrow had field goals of 41, 47, 47 and 20 yards in addition to his game winner. Going into the game, Morrow was only 6 of 10 on field goals this season.

Rams’ playoff run ends

For the first time since 2005, Grayson will not be in the playoffs. The Rams’ seven-year playoff streak was snapped when they lost to Brookwood in overtime.

For the last seven years, Grayson has been one of Gwinnett County’s most successful programs. The Rams made the playoffs every year from 2006-12, which included five-straight quarterfinals appearances and one state championship. The Rams also posted a 76-17 record (82 percent winning percentage) and claimed four region titles.

Shiloh breaks losing skid

Shiloh’s win over Central Gwinnett on Friday didn’t clinch a playoff berth, but it was still a big victory for the program. The Generals’ 31-14 win over the Black Knights allowed Shiloh to finish with a 5-5 record. It doesn’t sound like much, but it snapped nine-straight seasons with a losing record.

The Generals beat Parkview for the first time in 21 years and defeated Region 8 playoff team South Gwinnett.