The first week of region play had some impressive wins, close calls and some heartbreakers. Hey, that's what makes high school football so great.
Part I. North Gwinnett trailed 14-0 in the first quarter and came back to beat defending state champion Norcross 36-17. If the playoffs started this week, I would bet my mortgage that North would win it all. They look really good right now. The bad thing is the playoffs don't start for another two months. Is it possible for the Bulldogs to get any better or have they hit their peak already?
Part II. Archer was down 20-19 to Brookwood in the fourth quarter and came back for a 25-20 victory. It was the first win for the Tigers over Brookwood after losing by a combined three points the last two years. I'll go ahead and admit I was wrong. I thought Archer would be too young and inexperienced this year to make a playoff push. I thought they could be really good next season. Turns out the 3-0 Tigers are a legitimate playoff contender this year.
Tommy Jones picked up his first win as Dacula's head coach and I don't think he'll ever forget it. The Falcons used double overtime to knock off South Gwinnett 35-29. Dacula won just one game last year and was 0-2 to start this season. All indications pointed to an improved Dacula squad, they just didn't have the wins to show for it. They got it against South despite having two PATs and the game-winning field goal blocked.
Wesleyan fell to 0-3 on Friday after its 36-35 loss to Stone Mountain. The Wolves are in a five-team region, so their first six games of the year are against larger classification schools. That still didn't make it easy to fall to Class AAAA's Stone Mountain. The Pirates had a 20-yard run on fourth down to keep the game-winning drive alive. After scoring, they converted an unlikely two-point conversion to get the win.
IMPRESSIONS FROM FRIDAY
Don't count out Norcross yet
Norcross has lost two of its first three games, but I'm not ready to write off the Blue Devils. I mean they did lose to the nation's No. 1 ranked team (Booker T. Washington) and the state's No. 1 ranked team (North Gwinnett). It's not like they've lost to some chumps.
But there are some concerns, especially with the offense. They looked terrible in the second half against North.
Norcross should beat Duluth convincingly this week and the big test will be against Mill Creek in two weeks.
Grayson gets rolling
Everyone was ready to count Grayson out for the season after an 0-2 start. The Rams showed they are still a formidable opponent, taking down Parkview 34-10. The scary part is this team is only going to get better as the season goes on.
Unsure about three teams
I still don't know what to make of Mill Creek, Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill. I know they all are good, I just don't know how good. All three had convincing region wins against sub-par teams. Things will shake out this week when Mill Creek hosts Peachtree Ridge. The winner will unofficially secure a playoff spot.
Show some mercy
It's not Gwinnett County related, but did anyone see the scores to the Lowndes and Camden County games? Lowndes won 87-0 over Windsor Forest and Camden defeated Beach 91-6. These were real high school varsity games. With a second-half mercy rule running clock, I didn't know that many points is possible.
I will say this, a Gwinnett County coach would never score that many points on another school. Never.
WHAT'S ON TAP
• Archer at Parkview
Parkview needs a win. Bad. Archer wants to show its the top dog in the region. This will be a good old fashion Region 8 dog fight.
• Berkmar at Central Gwinnett
Hey, Berkmar is 3-0. That doesn't happen very often. And when you're undefeated people want to see you play.
• Peachtree Ridge at Mill Creek
I mentioned it earlier, but the winner of this game will unofficially make the playoffs. I know that sounds a little premature, but that's how big this game and how tough it is to reach the playoffs in Region 7.