The updated Perfect Game HS Top 50 national rankings showed expected movement with Winder-Barrow being eliminated and Mill Creek advancing in the state playoffs.
North Gwinnett is now the highest ranked of seven Georgia teams coming in at No. 8 followed by Allatoona (No.14), Parkview (No. 17), Blessed Trinity (No.22), Pope (No. 33), Winder-Barrow (No. 40) while Mill Creek enters the rankings for the first time at No. 44.
Outside of Winder-Barrow’s 37-spot slide, Blessed Trinity slid nine spots after suffering a game 2 loss to Columbus however rebounded to win the series in three games to advance.
With Winder-Barrow out, Allatoona (31-3) and Pope (31-5) are the only remaining nationally ranked teams in class 6A. Allatoona swept Effingham County in the second round and will host a hot Johns Creek (20-12) team in the Elite 8. Pope swept last season’s 5A state champion Houston County to advance to face Dalton (24-8). Region 6-6A widely considered the toughest region in class 6A, has three of four teams remaining in the Elite 8 in Allatoona, Dalton and River Ridge.
North Gwinnett (32-2) and Parkview (30-4) would meet in the class 7A semifinals if each survive their Elite 8 matchups. North Gwinnett will travel to Hillgrove (25-10) while Parkview will host Woodstock (24-13). Mill Creek (31-5) is on the opposite of the bracket and will travel to North Paulding (23-10). Hillgrove is the lone remaining Cobb County team in class 7A after last season’s 6A state champion Walton fell to Mill Creek.
Blessed Trinity (31-4) will host West Laurens (23-10). The Titans have passed very tough tasks in the first two rounds of class 4A defeating Cartersville and Columbus.
Other Series of Note:
Class 3A’s top-ranked team Redan (25-9) continues to roll. The Raiders have won 16 straight game an advanced to the Elite 8 after sweeping Crisp County and will host Coahulla Creek. Redan has scored 12 or more runs in three of their four playoffs games so far. Coahulla Creek (24-9) was ranked tenth by the Georgia Dugout Preview rankings entering the playoffs and defeated No. 6 Pike County in the second round. Six of the top 10 in class 3A are in the quarterfinals with Calhoun and Lovett being the two unranked teams.
The six teams ranked in the latest Perfect Game HS Top 50 entering the Georgia state playoffs all swept their opponents to advance to the second round in their respective classes.
No. 3 Winder-Barrow (29-2), the highest nationally ranked Georgia team in multiple polls, defeated Harrsion 3-2 in eight innings in game one. In game two Bulldogg pitcher Darrell Woodall pitched a one-hit, nine strikeout complete game as Winder-Barrow completed the sweep with an 8-0 victory. Winder-Barrow will face Richmond Hill in the second round of the 6A playoffs. Richmond Hill swept Stephenson to advance.
No. 9 Parkview (28-4) racked up 20 runs on 19 hits in a sweep of Forsyth Central to advance. Parkview will host Colquitt County in the second round of the 7A playoffs. Colquitt County swept McEachern to advance.
No. 11 North Gwinnett swept Rockdale County by a combined 21-1 score in two games. North Gwinnett (30-2) hit four home runs in the second game and will face Lassiter in the second round of the 7A playoffs. Lassiter swept Newnan to advance.
In one of the more highly anticipated first round matchups, No. 12 Blessed Trinity swept previously nationally ranked Cartersville 4-1 and 10-1 to advance in the class 4A playoffs. Blessed Trinity will host Columbus in the second round. Columbus swept Thomson by a combined 21-4 score to advance.
No. 20 Allatoona (29-3) swept Lanier 7-2 and 6-2 to advance to the second round of the 6A playoffs. Tyler Messick was a perfect 3-for-3 in game one with 3 RBI. Kyle Jacobsen was held without a hit in both games, struck out twice and scored three runs in eight plate appearances. Allatoona will host Effingham County in the second round. Effingham County swept Mundy’s Mill to advance.
No. 48 Pope swept Creekside by a combined 20-2 score to advance to the second round of the 6A playoffs. Pope (25-5) will face Houston County who defeated Heritage-Conyers 4-3 and 4-3 to advance.
Other notable Georgia first round series: Redan (23-9), the top ranked team in Georgia class 3A, swept Fannin County by a combined 17-2 score to advance. Redan will host Crisp County in the second round. Redan was the only Region 5-3A team that did not need three games in the first round. Lovett was the only other team from Region 5-3A to advance after defeating Dawson County in three games. Pace Academy and Westminster each lost to North Hall and Greater Atlanta Christian respectively in three games. Redan and Lovett tied in their first meeting this season 7-7 which ended in controversy, however recently the game has been awarded to Lovett 8-7. Redan won the second meeting 6-4. Both teams are on opposite sides of the bracket and could only meet again in the championship series. Lovett is not ranked in the Georgia Dugout Preview poll.
Walton, who has been previously ranked nationally this season, swept Westlake by a combined 23-1 score in 7A to advance. Walton will face a dangerous Mill Creek team in the second round. Mill Creek (29-4) has victories this season over state contenders North Gwinnett, Parkview, Loganville (5A), Lassiter and Brookwood.
Tucker (26-6) swept Brunswick by scores of 14-2 and 9-7 to advance. The Tigers will host River Ridge out of Region 6-6A in the second round. River Ridge (25-7) swept Dacula to advance an dis ranked No.4 in class 6A.
The Georgia baseball playoffs begin this Friday across all eight classes. Several teams have been nationally ranked throughout the season. Here is a look at where Georgia schools stand nationally entering the playoffs.
The Perfect Game HS Top 50 features six Georgia squads topped by third ranked Winder-Barrow (27-2). The Bulldogs are undefeated against Georgia opponents and posted a 5-2 OOS record against very strong national competition with the high point being a 3-1 showing at the USA National High School Invitational in March. Winder-Barrow will open the playoffs against Harrison. Harrison played in arguably the toughest region in class 6A and picked up a victory over Allatoona this season.
Parkview (26-4) comes in at No.9 in the PG Top 50. The Panthers deep pitching and sound defense propelled them to 14 shutout victories this season. Parkview posted a 6-1 OOS record this season to go with instate losses state contenders to Allatoona (6A), Mill Creek (7A) and Brookwood (7A).
North Gwinnett opened the season winning its first 20 games, are 28-2 entering the playoffs and ranked No. 11 in the PG HS Top 50. The Bulldogs went 4-0 in OOS games this season with instate losses to Mill Creek (7A) and Loganville (5A). As a team North Gwinnett is batting .331 and has a team ERA of 1.93.
Blessed Trinity (27-3) comes in at No. 12 and may have the toughest first round opponent in previously ranked Cartersville. The Titans posted a 5-1 OOS record and suffered instate losses to Etowah (7A) and Kell (6A), both in higher classifications than Blessed Trinity. Blessed Trinity is batting .336 as a team with a 1.36 team ERA.
Allatoona (27-3) comes in at No.20 in the latest PG HS Top 50 . The Buccaneers won their lone OOS contest while suffering defeats to Harrison, Dalton and Blessed Trinity. The Buccaneers signature victory of the season came against Parkview (7A). Allatoona as a team is batting .342 with 201 RBIs and a team ERA of 1.68.
Rounding out the Georgia teams in the PG HS Top 50 is Pope (24-5) at No. 48. The Greyhounds were undefeated in OOS play with a 5-0 mark. Losses this season came to Cambridge, Dunwoody, Alpharetta and Walton. Pope remains ranked despite losing four of its last nine games to close the regular season.
In the latest Max Preps Xcellent 25 rankings Winder-Barrow (No.3), North Gwinnett (No.5), Allatoona (No.12) and Pope (No.23) are ranked.
In the latest Baseball America Top 25 Parkview tops the Georgia pack at No.8. Winder-Barrow (No.14) and Walton (No.22) are the only other Georgia teams ranked.
The Georgia Dugout Preview final regular season rankings have North Gwinnett (7A), Winder-Barrow (6A) and Blessed Trinity (4A) ranked No.1 in their respective classes. Starrs Mill (5A), Redan (3A), Jeff Davis (2A), Gordon Lee (1A Public) and Savannah Christian (1A Private) round out the other top ranked teams entering Georgia playoff action.
Georgia continues to occupy a number of spaces in the latest Perfect Game High School Top 50 national poll.
Parkview is the highest ranked Georgia teams coming in at No.5. The Panthers swept a four-game spring break swing in Florida with victories over Jesuit, Sarasota, Venice and IMG Academy. The Panthers outscored those teams by a combined 14-1. Parkview extended it’s winning streak to 16 consecutive games with a pair of victories over Norcross this week. The Panthers have tallied seven shutouts during the winning streak.
Winder-Barrow (23-2) continues to climb the rankings moving up to No.7. The Bulldoggs have followed up their 3-1 showing in the National High School Invitational with a three-game sweep of region foe Habersham Central to go with two victories this week against Apalachee.
North Gwinnett (24-2) is the third Georgia team in the top ten coming in at No.9. The Bulldogs have won four of their last six games. They have defeated Discovery and Peachtree Ridge this week.
No.19 Allatoona (23-2) ran its winning streak to nine after defeating Stockbridge, Grayson County (KY) and North Atlanta at the Perfect Game Spring Fling at Lake Point. The Buccanners outscored those three foes by a combined 26-1 score. The Buccaneers rule-ruled Osborne 15-0 this week and face Dalton in a home-and-home series with region 6-6A first place on the line beginning Friday in Dalton.
Blessed Trinity (No. 12), Pope (No.15), Walton (No. 37) are the other teams in the Perfect Game HS Top 50.
Winder-Barrow (7), North Gwinnett (9) and Allatoona (12) also come in ranked in the latest Max Preps Xcellent 25.
Here is a brief look at each team and their upcoming schedules this week.
Pope (19-2) had its 14-game winning streak snapped last week falling to Cambridge 4-2. Pope will face county rivals Lassiter and Walton this week. Chase Smith and Ryan Webb have been solid for Pope in the pitching department this season. Offensively the Greyhounds have been solid averaging just over seven runs per game while yielding just under three runs per game.
Winder-Barrow (18-2) went 3-1 at the National High School Invitational last week in Cary, NC with victories over No.3 Huntington Beach (CA), No.16 American Heritage (FL) and Rocky Mountain (CO). The Bulldoggs lost in the semifinals to Dana Hills (CA). Winder-Barrow will wrap up the regular season with series against Habersham Central, Apalachee and Lanier before the state playoffs. Darrel Woodall (P), Daniel Buice (P), Will Hargraves (IF/P), Beau Hanna (C) and Pat DeMarco (CF) pace the senior-laden team.
Allatoona (19-2) has won six in a row and will face Stockbridge and North Atlanta this week in the Perfect Game Spring Fling at Lake Point. An all-important 2-game region series against Dalton still remains on the schedule. Kyle Jacobsen is the highlight player for the Buccaneers. Jacobsen enters the week batting .471 with 21 RBI 3 HR and is 5-1 with a 0.95 ERA and 23 strikeouts on the mound. David Smith (C; .417 24 RBI 2 HR), Payton Eeles (2B; .368 13 RBI), Blake Evans (SS; .417 6 RBI), Skylar McPhee (3B; .343 16 RBI) and Tyler Messick (1B/3B; .324 13 RBI) make Allatoona a championship contender in the heavy 6A classification. Head coach Keith Hanson recorded his 300th career victory earlier this season in a 10-1 victory over Creekview.
Class 7A is represented by North Gwinnett, Parkview and Walton.
North Gwinnett (20-1) opened the season winning its first 20 games before falling last week 6-2 to Mill Creek. The Bulldogs pitching is anchored by seniors Jake Brace and Cade Heil. Brace is 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA to go with 32 strikeouts. Heil is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA and has fanned 53 batters this season. Sophomore Micah Borah leads the team in batting average at .463 and is second in RBIs with 20. Parker Coyne leads the team in RBIs with 22 and is batting .437 with a pair of dingers on the season.
Parkview (18-3) opened a four-game stretch over spring break in Florida with a 3-0 victory over Jesuit (No.12 in Baseball America HS Top 25) on Monday. The Panthers will face Sarasota (FL), Venice (FL) and IMG Academy (FL) this week while in Florida. Parkview will close the regular season with two-game series against Norcross, Meadowcreek and Brookwood after returning from Florida. Senior Joey DeMasi has powered the Panthers at the plate this season batting .361 with 32 RBI and 8 HR. Logan Cherney (.424) and Jonathan French (.325) are tied for second on the team in RBIs with 18 apiece. Caleb Mitchell and Braden Hays bring the heat from the mound. Mitchell is 5-1 with a 0.92 ERA and 35 strikeouts while Hays is 5-0 with a 2.15 ERA and 39 strikeouts.
Walton (18-4) was ranked as high as eighth this season in the Perfect Game Top 50 comes in at No. 30. The Raiders split two games with Etowah last week and will face Cambridge and county rival Pope in a rematch of last seasons state championship series this week. Walton will close out the regular season with a pair of three-game series against Lassiter and Woodstock. Senior pitcher Luke Bartnicki has tossed a no-hitter this season, has over 55 strikeouts and has hit 90-plus on the radar gun multiple times.
Clarke Central (3-2) scored 38 unanswered points after trailing rival Cedar Shoals (3-2) 6-0 enroute to a 38-12 victory. The Gladiators have defeated the Jaguars eight straight times and lead the all-time series 35-15. Jack Mangel passed for two touchdowns to Rico Arnold and Trajan Pinkney while JaQuarus Grant returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown for the Gladiators. NaDerrious Smith and Jarvis Howell each rushed for a touchdown for Clarke Central.
North Gwinnett (3-2) used a balance attack to defeat Mountain View 38-14. Bulldog quarterback Cade Fortin passed for two touchdowns. Brian Eberhardt and Ryan Lovelace rushed for touchdowns and Javonni Cunningham returned a punt for a touchdown for North Gwinnett.
Xavier Sheppard passed for three touchdowns and Joshua Vann caught two touchdown passes as Tucker (4-1) shutout M. L. King (2-3) 55-0.Tucker has scored 50+ points and recorded shutouts in two consecutive games.
Other games of Interest:
Lakeside-Dekalb shutout Meadowcreek (0-5) 38-0. Lakeside recorded its first shutout this season and improves to 4-1 with its only loss to Tucker.
Malik Willis passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two touchdowns as Roswell shutout Archer 47-0
McEachern (4-1) held its third straight opponent without a touchdown in a 34-3 victory over Camden County (1-4).
Harrison (5-0) extended its winning streak to five games with a 43-19 victory over Allatoona (1-4).
Newton got by Heritage-Conyers 34-28. Newton head coach Terrence Banks served a one-game suspension and did not coach in the game.
The Norcross Blue Devils opened their defense of the 2012 Georgia 6A title with a disgraceful 55-0 loss on national TV at the hands of the nations No.1 team Booker T. Washington (FL). Booker T. Washington is still ranked No.1 and are undefeated through a nationally laden schedule with Florida powers included. The Tornadoes are playing in the 4A Flordia state Finals (Florida has 8 Classes) and are in the driver’s seat for the “National Title”.
Norcross suffered their second loss in three games to the North Gwinnett Bulldogs 36-17 after leading at halftime. Since the 1-2 start Norcross has ripped off 11 consecutive wins. The Blue Devils get their shot at North Gwinnett and redeeming their national respect again in the Georgia 6A state finals. Georgia has 15 teams that have seen the national ranked at some point this season and will have at least ten finish nationally ranked due to the overall strength of Georgia. Norcross is adding to that strength despite taking one of the worst losses in Georgia vs Out-Of-State games in recent years (since 2007) and are making their second consecutive trip to the finals in the Georgia finals. Previously Norcross has never advanced beyond the quarterfinals prior to last year in the schools history.
Norcross defeated Colquitt County 14-9 in the semifinals to advance. Colquitt County is the first team to reach the semifinals five consecutive years Georgia history in the highest classification yet are 1-4 in those games. Norcross’ Myles Autry had been quiet most of the season coming off a knee injury sustained in the playoffs last season. Trailing 9-7 Autry took a screen pass, darted then juked free to the end zone for what would wind up being the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was Autry’s second touchdown of the season. Norcross led 14-9 after Autry’s heroics and held on for the win. Jordan “Speedy” Noil intercepted a pass and returned it 44 yards to seal Norcross’ victory in the final moments.
Colquitt County led 6-0 after a pair of Jose Vega field goals. Colquitt would lead at the half after Vega hit another field goal answering a James Keeling one-yard touchdown for Norcross. Norcross’ quarterback A.J. Bush set up the score with a 52-yard run. Colquitt held their 9-7 lead into the fourth quarter with 10:18 remaining when play was suspend due to lightning.
Other games west of Norcross had been suspended earlier as storm cells entered Georgia from the northwest and moved east. After the delay Autry entered his own form of lightning to carry Norcross to the state finals.
North Gwinnett turned the ball over three times in the first half yet took a 14-7 lead to the locker room at halftime. The Bulldogs and the Indians would experience an almost 90-minute halftime as the game was suspended during halftime due to lightning.
McEachern turned an early turnover from North Gwinnett into points when senior starting quarterback Ty Clemons hit T.J. Rahming on a 26-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead 19 seconds into the game. North Gwinnett answered right back with a C.J. Leggett 3-yard touchdown run to even the score at 7. Leggett rushed for nearly 300 yards in the game and has nearly 800 yards rushing with nine touchdowns in the postseason.
After the lengthy halftime, McEachern knotted the score at 14 on a Bailey Hockman touchdown pass to Trey Scott from 38 yards out. C.J. Leggett raced in from 50+ yards for another touchdown giving the road-weary but road-warrior Bulldogs a 21-14 lead. Michael D’Angola would add two more field goals, he missed early in the fourth quarter, for a 27-14 with under four minutes remaining. McEachern quickly put together a 4-play 60-odd yard drive to pull within six at 27-21. McEachern capped the drive on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hockman to Artise Clark for the final margin as the point off D’Angola’s leg proved to be enough. It was the second game D’Angila has won with his leg as North Gwinnett skated by Archer 34-32 on an A’Angola field goal in the closing moments.
More information to come.
North Gwinnett became the first team to win four road playoff games to advance to the state finals nd are in the finals for the first time since 2007 (all under Head Coach Bob Sphire). Charlton County is in 1A Public won three road games to advance to the state finals. 1A Public plays one less round that 6A in Georgia.
Three of the eight come from the loaded Region 7-6A (Gwinnett County), two from the respected Region 1-6A (South Georgia- Colquitt County and Lowndes), two from Region 4-6A (Cobb County-McEachern and Hillgrove) and one from Region 8-6A (Gwinnett County- Dacula).
Norcross, North Gwinnett and Collins Hills all hail from Region 7-6A and finished in a three-way tie for the region title during the regular season, all were awarded pieces of the region title. Region 7-6A is 7-1 in the 6A playoff through two rounds.
Region champions Lovejoy (2-6A), Langston Hughes (3-6A), Archer (8-6A), Alpharetta (6-6A), North Cobb (4-6A) and Camden County (1-6A) were knocked out in the second round. Region 5-6A champion Lassiter was the only region champion not to advance to the second round losing to Region 7-6A 4-seed Peachtree Ridge in the first round.
Here are the updated Georgia 6A playoff brackets with notes from some of the games below
Hillgrove, which pulled from McEachern in 2006 when they opened, scored 27 unanswered points after trailing 21-7 against Camden County to win 34-21. It was Hillgrove’s second playoff win at Camden County in the past four seasons. They lead the all-time series 2-1 (all in the playoffs, all in Kingsland,GA). Justin Denton returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass. Hillgrove quarterback Elijah Ironside passed for two touchdowns-one a 72-yarder to Emanuel Beal. Omar Black caught a touchdown pass from Sonny Harrison. Kalvarez Bessent caught a touchdown while Harrison Poole and Antonio Wimbush rushed for a touchdown apiece for Camden County.
Michael D’Angola kicked a 28-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining as North Gwinnett defeated Archer 34-32. He also connected on a 30-yard field goal in the game. Defensive tackle Dante Sawyer threw a touchdown pass, Hayden Sphire passed for two touchdowns-both to Caleb Scott and CJ Leggett scored a 39-yard rushing touchdown for North Gwinnett. Dylan Singleton rushed for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown while Gabe Tiller had three touchdown passes for Archer who finished with a school record 11 wins. Archer, in their fifth year of football, pulled from Grayson in 2009. Grayson was the 2011 5A (highest class at the time) state champion did not make the playoffs this season.
McEachern trailed 21-9 with less than six minutes to play before coming back to win 22-21 at Langston Hughes. Freshman quarterback Bailey Hockman passed for a touchdown, Taj Griffin and Alizee Chubbs rushed for touchdowns for the Indians. Hughes’ Keion Davis rushed for a touchdown and Kenny Moxey passed and rushed for touchdowns. McEachern advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1999 and are doing it without senior starting quarterback Ty Clemmons.
Lowndes never trailed as they downed Lovejoy 23-18. Alex Brown and Jerome Daniels scored rushing touchdowns while Nick hart kicked three field goals for Lowndes. Preston Williams caught a touchdown pass, Jeremiah Kirkland scored a rushing touchdown and Brandon Williams scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery for Lovejoy. Lovejoy failed on all three PAT attempts. Lowndes will travel to north Georgia (Gwinnett County/Norcross) again next week to tussle with defending 6A champion Norcross.
Collins Hill cruised past Alpharetta as Tyler Henderson rushed for two touchdowns and caught two touchdown passes. Quarterback Tyler Herman threw four touchdowns as Collins Hill has outscored their opponents 89-7 in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Eagles will host McEachern in the quarterfinals. McEachern and Collins Hill have never met before.
Dacula rallied from a 21-14 deficit to score 14 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Peachtree Ridge 28-21 to advance. Dacula quarterback Adam Grove passed for a touchdown and rushed for another in the third quarter while Bijan Sirleaf and Kelan Fraise rushed for a touchdown each in the first half. Chance Thrasher passed for two touchdowns and Myron Burton caught a touchdown and rushed for a touchdown. Dacula’s reward? They’ll host Colquitt County who is 12-3 under Rush Propst in road playoff games including Friday nights 52-6 thrashing of North Cobb.
Colquitt County led 38-0 at the half and defeated North Cobb 52-6. Shihiem King rushed for three touchdowns and Tim Saunders rushed for two touchdowns. Daniel Mobley tossed a touchdown pass to Kiel Pollard for Colquitt County. North Cobb got a late touchdown pass by Tyler Queen to avoid the shutout. Colquitt County is now 12-3 in road playoff games under head coach Rush Propst (last five seasons). Colquitt will hit the road again to face Dacula. It will be the teams first meeting in history.
For the second week in a row Norcross broke open a close game, this time to defeat Brookwood 32-9 after leading 7-3 at halftime. Norcross scored on five rushing touchdowns, two by Josh Boyd and one each by quarterback AJ Bush, wideout Clinton Lynch and KaDarius Garrett. Norcross was 1-5 on PATs in the game. Jesse Brown scored Brookwood’s lone touchdown via the ground. Norcross will host Lowndes in the quarterfinals in what will be the teams first meeting in history.
Under first-year head coach Welton Coffey, Camden County book-ended their 10-2 season with losses to North Gwinnett and Hillgrove who will meet in the quarterfinals. The Coastal Georgia Wildcats from Kingsland were outscored 68-35 in those losses. Camden County has exited the playoffs with home losses the past four seasons (’10 Hillgrove, ’11 Colquitt County, ’12 Norcross and ’13 Hillgrove). Camden County has won 10 or more games the past 13 seasons and have never lost more than two games in a season during that span.
Lovejoy’s losses came to Region 1-6A opponents Colquitt County and Lowndes by a combined nine points. Lovejoy is 0-3 against Region 1-6A teams the past two seasons. Lovejoy had made the state title game the past two seasons in two different classifications (4A and 6A).
Archer had it’s first undefeated regular season in the schools history and are 1-2 in the playoffs with both losses coming to North Gwinnet
North Gwinnett and Camden County were squaring off for the second time in history and the Bulldogs evened the all-time series 1-1 after a commanding 34-14 victory over the Wildcats in the season opener. Camden County was opening a new era under first-year head coach Welton Coffey who lead Raines (FL) to a state title in 1997 as the head sideline boss and spent time on the staff at Valdosta prior to coming to Camden County in 2006.
The Wildcats broke out in front on a 37-yard touchdown run by Antiono Wimbush for a 7-0 lead capping a 64-yard drive set up by an interception on North Gwinnett’s second play. North Gwinnett would come right down the field led by first-time starting senior quarterback Hayden Sphire finishing a 58-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Nate Brown to even the game at 7-7.
“I was really pleased with the way Hayden [Sphire] bounced back from [the early interception], they did a great job in their coverage, they disguised they jumped into underneath man coverage at the last second, they baited him into a throw and he put it right behind him and went right back out and ran the offense,” head coach Bob Sphire said.
CJ Leggett then capped a 47-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run to give North Gwinnett a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. Leggett finished with 140 yards rushing and a touchdown on 12 totes for a 6.0 yard average leading the Bulldogs ground attack that put up 189 yards.
Camden County would hang momentarily as sophomore Harrison Poole ripped off a 60-yard touchdown 19 seconds later to knot it at 14-all with 11:06 left in the second quarter. Poole lead Camden County with 136 yards on 12 carries and the touchdown. That would be it for the boys from Kingsland as North Gwinnett would seize control the rest of the way.
“The game is four quarters and you can’t let up at any time and you got to play with a certain level of emotion and excitement throughout the entire game especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Camden head coach Welton Coffey stated.
Sphire hit Caleb Scott on a 21-yard touchdown pass making it 21-14 and Wesley Edwards raced 36 yards to set up an 18-yard field goal by Michel D’Angola as the half ended giving North Gwinnett a 24-14 lead at the break.
North Gwinnett continued to pour it on scoring on their opening two possession of the third quarter on a 40-yard D’Angola field goal and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Spire to Brown for the 34-14 margin that would hold until the final horn. Hayden Sphire, the son of head coach Bob Sphire, finished 15-27 206 yards 3TD 2INT while Brown led a deadly corp of receivers with 4 receptions 74 yards 2TDs. Despite two early turnovers and a third ending a drive inside the twenty in the third quarter, North Gwinnett racked up 395 yards of offense.
“I’m sure we can find some things on the video that we can do a whole lot better,” Bob Sphire said afterwards. “I’m pleased in three areas. Number one our kicking game was outstanding, anytime your good in the kicking game it gives you a chance to set the table. Number two I was really pleased with the new offensive line and the cohesiveness they showed and number three I thought our defense executed and was patient and adjusted and really played sound assignment football, you play well in those areas and you got a chance to have a pretty good night.”
For Camden County it’s back to the drawing board after suffering their worst margin of defeat loss since 2006 in a second round playoff lost to Warner Robins. The Wildcats were 1-6 passing for one yard and had 248 total yards of offense but were hit with 11 penalties for 113 yards.
“We didn’t execute well and I though we were undisciplined. We had a number of flags and that’s not characteristic of us. I don’t squabble about referees or anything like that we just didn’t get it done,” Coffey said. “You learn from this, you get out on the film you get out there and work, let them see it and you go on from there. We’ve got to get these young inexperienced guys experience and ready to go.”
For the Wildcats that will come next Friday against Baker County (FL) at home while North Gwinnett will travel to Grayson.
The High School Football season is upon us even if it is more than a week away from officially starting around the region, a region where the weather in August has been historically kind. Before all the “classic” game action and bevy of TV games hits us in a week or so, reps and experience against live competition is underway via scrimmage action. It’s that time when booster clubs slowly begin to ramp it up because they support a team/school/program that may have a shot at winning a state title.
Here are some results and notes from scrimmages held on Friday.
North Gwinnett 9 Stephenson 7: Stephenson’s defense was swarming to the ball most of the night but the North Gwinnett defense struck first scoring on a short fumble return for a touchdown when Bobby Young stripped the running back and scored.
Lovejoy 27 Peachtree Ridge 21: Lovejoy amassed 330 yards of offense in only two quarters. Junior Wide Receiver Preston Williams caught two touchdowns. Williams missed all of last season with a hip injury after having a productive summer on the 7-on-7 circuits.
Tucker 24 Marist 3: Dominic Sanders scored three touchdowns for Tucker including 71-yard TD run in the first quarter.
Byrnes (SC) 42 Erwin (NC) 26: Byrnes’ Shaedon Meadors had a 42yd touchdown reception and running back Isaiah Hill scored a 52-yard touchdown on a screen play.
Buford 47 Berkmar 0: Buford did well in the tune up and Berkmar will take morale victories and seek to improve as they play in the rugged Region 8-6A in Georgia. Buford plays in Class 3A.
Camden County 40 Milton 7: Harrison Poole scored touchdowns of 42 and 80 yards, he is a sophomore. Junior Antonio Wimbush scored on an 80-yard touchdown and recorded a sack. Ryan Johnson returned a punt 53-yards for a touchdown and Wimbush had a punt return over 30-odd yards as well. Camden threw the ball more than a couple of times meaning, it’s in their playbook, they’ll decide when to pull it out. Treyvon Paulk of Milton may have went over 70 yards on the ground but that is not official.
Gainesville (GA) 28 Grayson (GA) 27: Highly-touted and Clemson commit QB Deshaun Watson passed for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns. Aares McCall led Grayson on the ground with over 100 yards. Grayson scored a defensive touchdown in the game.
Valdosta 7 Ware County 6: Quarterback? Valdosta trailed 6-0 in the middle of the 4th quarter to the Georgia 2012 5A runner-up Ware County Gators before ending a drive, led by quarterback Jacob McMillan, in the end zone. Valdosta is searching for a quarterback since starter Cole Massengill went down with a season-ending injury in practice earlier this month.
Cedar Shoals 35 Oconee County 21: Senior QB Darius Jordan threw 4 TD passes for Cedar Shoals. Breon Mitchell had 2 scores, Tyler Hitchcock, Sam Hemphill and Ryan Huff also scored touchdowns.
Other scores of interest:
Mauldin (SC) 21 Greenville (SC) 14
Coffee County (GA) 21 Cook (GA) 7
Lowndes 41 Thomasville 0
Jacksonville (FL) 12 Brunswick (GA) 0
Walton 33 South Cobb 7
Hart County 44 Habersham Central 17
Gaffney (SC) 36 Woodruff (SC) 35
Mill Creek 20 Parkview 13
Hiram 26 Harrison 21
B.T. Washington (GA) 41 Douglass (GA) 0
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