Here are five outcomes that surprised the GHSF Daily staff in Week One.
North Gwinnett 14, Prattville (Ala.) 11: Prattville was 43-1 while winning Alabama Class 6A championships in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and was ranked in almost every national poll. But North Gwinnett was dominant on defense. “This is a marquee win nationally,” North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire told GHSF Daily. “People will take notice now. People in the state recognize us as a program really competing at a high level, beating some good teams, but also knocking on the door of potential greatness. As far as national significance, this is a game that now all of a sudden the green light goes on when you think of North Gwinnett. We want a nationally respected program.”
South Gwinnett 49, Norcross 28: Norcross coach Keith Maloof returned only four starters on defense but expected little drop-off from a team that held five of 10 regular-season opponents without a touchdown last year. “We should be the same as we’ve been the last few years, hard-nosed and get-after-it,” he said. But so far, Norcross has struggled in a big way on defense, losing 28-27 to Walton in the opener and then to South Gwinnett, which got 223 yards rushing from Aaron Wimberly and 142 from Trevon Walker. South Gwinnett was 4-6 last season but will contend for a playoff spot in Region 8-AAAAA this season.
St. Pius 28, Marist 3: Marist returned most of its starters (which is unusual for a program that’s typically senior-dominated) and was coming off a state runner-up finish in 2008. This also was Marist’s first game on its new artificial turf field at Hughes Spalding Stadium. St. Pius beat Marist last season, but few saw this upset coming, especially by such a score. It was St. Pius’ first win at Marist in 35 years.
Roswell 42, Tift County 7: Roswell lost at Tift County 32-21 last season and finished 5-5, its first .500-or-below record in nine years. Most saw Roswell bouncing back this year, and Tift returned only one starter on defense. And Tift was no stranger to blowout losses last season (35-7 to Brooks County and 42-0 to Newnan). Still, this score jumped out at anyone seeing it.
Charlton County 38, Clinch County 0: Charlton won 28-7 last season, its sixth straight win in the series (and 10th in 11 meetings), but these games typically are close. Clinch was ranked No. 3 in preseason, and Charlton was left unranked after a 9-2 finish in 2008. This is Clinch County’s worst loss ever against Charlton County and worst overall since 1977 (lost 63-0 to Jeff Davis).
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