Central Gwinnett football brings another loaded field to passing tourney

Challenge isn’t just part of the name, it’s the goal of event organizer Todd Wofford.

The Central Gwinnett head football coach is excited about the fourth Gwinnett vs. Georgia 7-on-7 Challenge, which his school hosts again this Saturday. Another strong field is expected, including 2013 state championship teams Norcross, Buford and Creekside.

“It’s going to be good,” Wofford said. “It’s going to be competitive. We’ve got teams that are used to winning. Everybody that will be there has some of the top players in the state, if not the country. That was the original reason to do it, to have one day where you get no games off as far as competition. It will be tough and set the tone to see where you are in the summer.”

Defending Gwinnett vs. Georgia champion Norcross joins Buford, 2011 champion Collins Hill, North Gwinnett and Shiloh among Gwinnett entries in this year’s tournament. Both North, last year’s Class AAAAAA runner-up to Norcross, and Collins Hill made deep playoff runs while Buford was the champion in AAA.

Creekside is considered one of the most talented teams in Georgia regardless of classification, as is fellow participant Eagle’s Landing Christian. Kell, which won the tourney in 2012, also is in the field, along with Winder-Barrow and Jonesboro.

“It’s great competition for everyone,” Wofford said.

Central brings some experience back at the skill positions, including quarterback Eric Forrest, wide receivers Chris Shelling, Major Bellamy and Azaviar Kuffour and running back Nigel Adams. The Black Knights are in a better spot in that regard to the other contenders in the 7-on-7 tourney.

Collins Hill and Norcross graduated virtually every offensive contributor off their 2013 teams, while North Gwinnett also suffered huge graduation losses.

The Bulldogs do have some proven talent at wide receiver, as well as highly touted offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, returning this season. Shiloh has some playmakers back like Cam Stewart and Jeremy McDuffie, but it will break in a new starting quarterback over the summer.

Buford also has its share of college prospects, but will be replacing its two co-No. 1 quarterbacks from the state championship team, Taylor Mitchell and Montgomery VanGorder.

“We’ll have a lot of the top recruits from Georgia here,” Wofford said.

Play begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with the championship game slated for 5 p.m.


What: Gwinnett vs. Georgia 7-on-7 Challenge

When: Saturday, 9 a.m.

Where: Central Gwinnett High School