October 31, 2011
Editor's Note: Brandon Brigman, a sports writer for the Daily Post, writes a blog every Monday called "The Blitz."
If you've come here to read about the big game in Region 7-AAAAA this week, you're going to have to hold on for a minute.
We all know Brookwood, Grayson, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge are some of the top teams in the county and in the state.
But there's a new team on the horizon that we could be talking about with those big names in a few years.
Archer defeated Parkview on Friday to put itself in position for a playoff spot. Yes, it's the same Archer program that's just three years old. It wasn't just a win over Parkview, the program that helped put Gwinnett County football on the map in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was a dominating 40-16 victory.
The learning curve in Gwinnett County football is a lot faster than other new programs around the state.
In other parts of Georgia, you can afford to go five, six or seven years to build your program. In Gwinnett, if you do that you're going to be the homecoming game week in and week out.
Archer's quick rise shouldn't be too shocking. We saw Peachtree Ridge win the state championship in its fourth year. Mill Creek reached the playoffs in its fourth year. Archer's young counterpart is Mountain View and the Bears defeated Mill Creek, a state quarterfinalist last year, to open Region 7 play this season.
That same week, Archer almost beat defending state champion Brookwood. Since then the Tigers still needed that signature win to show they've arrived. They finally got it against Parkview. Now can they win one more game to secure a state playoff spot?
North, Peachtree Ridge meet for Region 7 title
For the third time in four years, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge will meet for the Region 7-AAAAA championship. The Lions won the game in 2008 and the Bulldogs in 2009.
It will be an interesting matchup between Peachtree Ridge's big-play offense and North's stingy defense.
North has won the last two region titles and hasn't lost a region game since its 2008 defeat by Peachtree Ridge. The Bulldogs are no stranger to big games. They've been there and done that by playing in the Georgia Dome, out of state competition and winning the last two crowns. I think that kind of experience will help them to a third straight title.
We have the four playoff teams from Region 7, it's just a matter of figuring out the top two spots. The winner of the North-Peachtree Ridge game will get the No. 1 seed. The loser is No. 2. Norcross locked up the No. 3 spot by beating Collins Hill, which was pushed to the No. 4 spot.
In Region 8, the top three spots have been decided. Grayson is the No. 1 seed, Dacula is No. 2 and Brookwood is No. 3. Archer and Parkview are left for the fourth and final spot. Archer holds the tie-breaker after beating Parkview on Friday, but needs a win over South to secure the playoff berth. Parkview needs a win over Dacula and an Archer loss to get in the postseason.
Rap videos just as good as game
After all the hype with the Brookwood and Grayson rap videos, the game lived up to the hype. It was another defensive battle between the defending state champion Broncos and the No. 2 ranked Rams.
The game had the feeling it was going to go overtime until Kasey Gaines came up with a big pick six to end it.
There are two things I learned from the game. Brookwood is going to be dangerous in the playoffs. If they can hang with Grayson, which I think has a pretty good shot to win it all, then they can do some damage in the postseason.
No one can run on Grayson's defense. I've seen them shut down Parkview's Chris Carson and Brookwood's Nick Tompkins this season. Neither had success running the ball against the Rams' D and I don't think anyone can run on them. They are scary good.
Longtime General gets honor
Shiloh's season ended on Friday with a close loss to Central Gwinnett. The Generals haven't had much success in the last decade. Shiloh has had five different head coaches in the last 10 years and just one winning season.
When there's that much turnover and not much success, it's easy to jump ship on a program. There's one guy, Tom Marley, who has stuck by the program. Marley has been a fixture around Shiloh since the late 1980s when his son Chad was a state champion wrestler. Marley, like any true supporter, is optimistic Shiloh will turn the corner soon. The program will do so in a building in his honor. Prior to Shiloh's season finale against Central Gwinnett on Friday, the school announced it would name its new field house the Tom Marley Field House. It couldn't be a better honor for a man who has dedicated so much of his time and effort to one school and community.
Mustangs need a schedule change
Barring something strange happening this week, Meadowcreek will lose to Collins Hill on Friday and finish the year 0-10. The Mustangs have lost 37 games in row dating back to 2008 and are in danger of breaking their own county record of 43 straight losses next year.
Meadowcreek has shown some small signs of improvement under second-year coach Deario Grimmage, but the program is far from competing in Region 7-AAAAAA.
Regions have not been determined for the next two-year cycle, but the Mustangs need to consider changing some things. Losing by 40 or more points every week won't help you build a program. It hasn't worked for the last three years. Meadowcreek should consider a non-region schedule to help build its program or some small classification schools for its non-region games. Meadowcreek is a Class AAAAA school in Gwinnett, so it has to have some athletes. They just need those kids to experience a win or two to get the ball rolling.
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