When a new school is built, no one expects them to be good anytime soon. There are growing pains when building an athletic program, especially in the state’s highest classification.
Except in Gwinnett County, where the learning curve is a lot different.
Five-year-old school Archer locked up the Region 8-AAAAAA championship on Friday. It’s a very quick rise to success, but one that is not uncommon in Gwinnett.
Grayson opened in 2000 and in its third year won its first region title and made the Class AAA playoffs.
Peachtree Ridge reached the postseason for the first time in its fourth year of existence and the Lions went on to win the 2006 state championship.
Now Archer is the next young Gwinnett school to experience football success. The Tigers reached the playoffs in their third season, had their first winning record last year and now have both to go along with a region crown.
But don’t expect this to be a one-time thing for Archer. The Tigers are winning with a lot of young players. The success this season is only the beginning of what I think will be a nice, successful run for the Lawrenceville school.
They have surpassed my expectations when I projected them to be the fifth-best team in the region this year. A lot of people are discounting the Tigers, saying they are only good in a weak region this year. Well, let me remind you of this point.
Everyone said Region 8 was down in 2010 and the power teams in the county had shifted to Region 7. Well, Brookwood ended up winning the state championship that year and No. 3 seed Grayson reached the semifinals. They beat three of Region 7’s teams in the playoffs.
Now I’m not saying Archer is going to win state or that Region 8 is better than Region 7 this year. But I am saying don’t discount Archer. They may be young, but they are good.
Parkview’s Flowe retiring
One of the men who helped build Gwinnett County football into the power it is today is retiring at the end of the season. Parkview’s Cecil Flowe, the county’s all-time winningest coach, announced his retirement after Friday’s win over Central Gwinnett.
It’s going to be hard to imagine someone else leading the Panthers next season. Flowe has been on the Parkview sidelines for more than 20 years.
A replacement for Flowe hasn’t been announced, but I would imagine they will hire someone with Parkview ties. There’s so much history with the program that I wouldn’t be surprised if a former player or former assistant takes the job.
No. 1 stunner
Last week I wanted to take some time to look at postseason matchups. I guess I should have waited until the regular season was over.
The playoff pecking order was shaken up on Friday when Collins Hill knocked off No. 1-ranked North Gwinnett.
The win was a little bit of surprise to me. I saw Collins Hill beat Peachtree Ridge a few weeks ago and they looked really good. Then the following week they lost 28-0 to Norcross. So to see them beat North Gwinnett was a bit of a surprise. The fact that they hung 53 on them is even more surprising. That’s the most points the Bulldogs have allowed in 19 years.
But at the same time North had to hold on to beat Mill Creek 50-47 just two weeks earlier, so I guess you could say it was coming.
Now we have three teams — Collins Hill, Norcross and North Gwinnett — tied for first place in the region. Peachtree Ridge sits in the No. 4 seed and unless there are some more upsets Mill Creek will miss the playoffs as the No. 5 team.
It’s kind of crazy to think, but now North Gwinnett can finish anywhere from No. 1 to No. 4 in the region. I guess I shouldn’t have been looking to the playoffs so soon.
Roll out the red carpet
One of the cool things about Friday night football is I get to spend it covering games with my dad.
He handles the defensive stats like tackles and sacks, while I do the offensive stats.
He pointed out an interesting stat after Friday’s game. The home team is 6-0 when we are covering a game together this year. We’ve seen some pretty good games this year, too. North Gwinnett over Norcross, Shiloh beat South Gwinnett, Collins Hill rallied to beat Peachtree Ridge, North Gwinnett came back to beat Mill Creek, South Gwinnett beat Grayson and Norcross won over Peachtree Ridge.
So home teams if you see us the final few weeks of the season, you should feel pretty good about a win.