I got an interesting question from my wife last week. Would Buford, the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAA, ever play North Gwinnett, the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAAAA?
It would certainly make for an interesting matchup. Buford has been the state's most successful program in any classification over the last decade. The Wolves have won five out of the last six state championships,
North and Buford are just seven miles apart down Peachtree Industrial Blvd.
They played each other regularly for almost 30 years until 1999. Buford dominated the series by going 22-5-1 against North. At one point Buford won 14 in a row over North.
If the region alignments stay the same for next year, Buford would have three non-region spots available. The Wolves recently began a nice rivalry with Hall County neighbor Gainesville, but would still have two non-region spots available.
Buford hasn't played a Gwinnett County team in the highest classification since it beat Central Gwinnett in 2005. The previous year the Wolves lost to Central to snap their state record 47-game winning streak.
For the last seven years, North Gwinnett has been one of the state's winningest programs. The Bulldogs have won 10 or more games every year and have claimed three region titles and a trip to the state finals.
Their non-region schedule has included some of the top teams in the highest classification from Georgia and top tier teams from around the country.
The Bulldogs have played in the Corky Kell Classic the last four years and will likely be invited back again. If the region alignment stays the same, that leaves one spot for another non-region game. Perhaps Buford?
It would certainly draw a big crowd from both schools, which would bring a nice financial gain at the gate and concession stand. Buford is well-known for bringing a large crowd to every, I mean every, Buford game. As a 6A school, North would easily fill its side of the stands.
I've heard North fans over the years argue they have nothing to gain by playing Buford. If they beat the Wolves, they were supposed to because they are a larger school. If they don't, then it looks bad because they lost to a team from a lower classification.
I have heard Buford fans say they'll play anyone and that bigger schools are afraid to play them. But let's be honest. If North, or any other 6A Gwinnett school, beat the Wolves by a large margin it wouldn't sit easy with the Buford faithful.
In the next month or two, high school coaches will start setting up their non-region schedules for next season. If a Buford vs. North matchup is going to happen anytime soon, now is the time to start lobbying for it.
So to answer my wife's question, will Buford and North ever play each other? No, I don't see it happening right now. Should they play? As a high school football fan I say yes. Will they play? Well, let's hope something will happen.
IMPRESSIONS FROM FRIDAY
The Falcons are back
I had low expectations for Dacula going into the season. I'll admit that the Falcons have proved me wrong so far. After the first two games of the year, I knew they were improved, but I never imagined them being in the thick of the playoff hunt this year.
In case you missed it, Dacula knocked off defending region champion Grayson last week. Now after an 0-2 start, the Falcons are 2-0 and at the top of the Region 8 standings. First-year head coach Tommy Jones has done a 180 with the program after going 1-9 a year ago. This is a playoff caliber team and that's something I didn't think I would be saying this year.
Ridge is for real
I've been skeptical of Peachtree Ridge all season. Yeah, they have a bunch of D-I commitments on the team, they beat two solid programs in Walton and Parkview, but I wasn't sure if they were for real. At least until Friday night.
After Friday's win over Mill Creek, Peachtree Ridge is officially back after going 4-6 last year. The Lions will be a playoff team this year. And I don't think it's crazy to put them in the region championship talk.
WHAT'S ON TAP
• Parkview at Brookwood
The Brookwood vs. Parkview rivalry, better known as the Battle of Five Forks, has had some big games over the years. The two schools have battled for region titles, playoff berths and state championships. It's the most popular rivalry in the county and at its peak in the early 2000s, it helped put Gwinnett County football on the map.
That's what makes this year's Battle of Five Forks so odd. For the first time in nearly 30 years, both schools go into the game winless. Brookwood is 0-3, while Parkview is 0-4.
The last time that happened was 1986. According the Georgia High School Football Historians, Brookwood and Parkview were 0-5 going into the game that the Broncos won 29-6. It was the only win for Brookwood that year as it finished 1-9, while Parkview won its next two games to finish 2-8.
With the way Region 8-AAAAAA is shaping up this year, I could see both these teams finish with similar records. I think the loser of this game will not make the playoffs.
• Mill Creek at Norcross
Two of the state's top teams face off in a big Region 7-AAAAAA battle. The Hawks nearly came back to beat Norcross last year in a barn burner.
• Dacula at Archer
This game is huge for both teams. First place in Region 8-AAAAAA is on the line.