North Gwinnett 34, Camden County 14

Hayden Sphire threw three touchdown passes and North Gwinnett overcame three turnovers to beat Camden County 34-14 in the Corky Kell Classic Saturday, spoiling Camden’s first game under new head coach Welton Coffee.

Sphire was intercepted on his first attempt and the Bulldogs fumbled after a pass completion to thwart another first-half drive.

The shaky start didn’t last, as the Bulldogs, ranked No. 4 in Class AAAAAA, rebounded to outgain No. 5 Camden 395-248 and compile 22 first downs.

Sphire finished with 206 passing yards, while Chris Leggett carried 23 times for 138 yards, for North Gwinnett, 108 coming in the first half.

The Bulldogs’ 34 points were the most allowed by Camden in a regular-season game since St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) beat the Wildcats 42-28 in 2010. The last time a Georgia team scored 30 points in a regular-season game against Camden was in the season opener in 1999, a 36-20 loss to Charlton County.

Camden’s Demetri Saulsberry made a diving interception on Sphire’s first attempt on the Bulldogs’ second offensive play, and Camden moved 69 yards in four plays for the first score, a 37-yard run by Antonio Wimbush.

The Bulldogs responded on the following series, moving 58 yards in seven plays. Sphire connected with Nate Brown from seven yards out for the score.

The Bulldogs used some sleight of hand to notch their second touchdown. On third down from the Camden 7-yard line, Sphire walked away from the line as if to take instructions from the bench, and the ball was snapped directly to Leggett. The play appeared to catch Camden on its heels and Leggett had a relatively easy run to the end zone from seven yards out.

The Wildcats answered on the next play from scrimmage with Harrison Poole’s 60-yard run at the 11:06 mark in the second period, knotting the score at 14.

From there, North Gwinnett seized control of the game, scoring the final 10 points of the half on Sphire’s 21-yard pass to Caleb Scott and getting an 18-yard field goal from Michael D’Angola as time expired.

They added 10 more in the first seven minutes of the third period. D’Angola booted his second field goal, this one from 40 yards out, and Sphire connected with Brown for a 10-yard TD pass to put the game out of reach.

Poole finished with 136 yards on 12 carries for the Wildcats, who rushed for 247 yards and completed just one of six pass attempts.

Camden County 7 7 0 0 – 14

North Gwinnett 7 17 10 0 – 34

CC – Antonio Wimbush 37 run (Hudson Jordan kick)

NG – Nate Brown 7 pass from Hayden Sphire (Michael D’Angola kick)

NG – Chris Leggett 7 run (D’Angola kick)

CC – Harrison Poole 60 run (Jordan kick)

NG – Caleb Scott 21 pass from Sphire (D’Angola kick)

NG – D’Angola 18-yard field goal

NG – D’Angola 40-yard field goal

NG – Brown 10 pass from Sphire (D’Angola kick)

Historical information from GHSFA.org was used in this article.

83 comments Add your comment

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
8:14 pm

Congratulations North Gwinnett Fans! You guys played a great game today. Hope to see you again in the playoffs! RELEASE the CATS! :-D

Sportsnut

August 24th, 2013
8:19 pm

DAMN 74 ! == What was that? Maybe now we both see what is so special about North Gwinnett. They looked good. Maybe you guy’s made them look good. Nah, they look good. There was absolutely no pressure on the Qb. He was not touched. Lots of work to do.

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
8:19 pm

PS. I now understand what makes your team special. I didn’t before, but I do now! RELEASE the CATS! :-D

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
8:25 pm

Sportsnut…..Your observations are correct! I have NEVER seen a Camden Defense that didn’t come close to sacking the opposing team’s QB the entire game! What’s more disappointing, no adjustments were made that worked. This game should be used as locker room bulletin board material. But there’s one thing I’m really proud of, the kids didn’t quit! They’ll be BACK! RELEASE the CATS! :-)

Sportsnut

August 24th, 2013
8:25 pm

Please Everyone, Pardon my French. I am just blown away from what I saw today. I know it is early but the season has started. This makes 6A look very different. This makes week 2 very important. North Gwinnett, Congratulations. In my new poll, you are #1. Norcross, oh Norcross. At home. Mercy Rule.

juss sayin

August 24th, 2013
8:28 pm

Camden 74 from what Ive seen that wasnt a typical Camden team. You guys are usually bettter than that. That and North has a really good team. See what I mean our defense makes plays but gives up big plays as well? Also it looked like Camden got tired from Norths up tempo style.Camden still has home run hitters but no passing game.good luck to you guys,

Sportsnut

August 24th, 2013
8:38 pm

They need a new mercy rule. 54-0, third quarter.

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
8:48 pm

Juss sayin…….I agree. Camden’s a young team right now, but they’ll be okay. I hope there are some changes made and there will have to be some tough decisions made by the Head Coach. North Gwinnett has a really good offense. I have to give them their props! This Camden team is similar to the 2009 team, but with less experience. RELEASE the CATS! :-)

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
8:51 pm

Sportsnut……I don’t like saying this, but I must. The Norcross Team quit in the second quarter. There is NO WAY BTW is that much better than them! :-)

CEM

August 24th, 2013
9:06 pm

Norcross wasn’t ready to play, mentally or physically. I’ve seen one or two high school football games in my life, and in terms of a team supposedly in the state’s “top tier,” I’ve never seen a team more poorly coached or prepared. It looked as though Norcross didn’t find out who they were playing until they lined up for the opening kickoff, and even then didn’t bother to make any adjustments.

Griffin T

August 24th, 2013
9:07 pm

Sorry GA football fans. You do play good football there, however, GA teams cannot compete at all with the better FLA teams. Just yet another example, Norcross had NO chance against Booker T.

Sportsnut

August 24th, 2013
9:11 pm

I agree. Those boys took their hearts. And are still doing it. They had no depth, no size, in terms of overall weight. They scored early and often after turnovers. To me, it didn’t seem they were that fast rather Norcross was undisciplined. Maybe they did simply run away from the corners and that would indicate a problem for Norcross.

CEM

August 24th, 2013
9:14 pm

I’m not sure I agree about Georgia teams not being able to complete with better Florida teams. If you replace South Gwinnett with Colquitt County and Norcross with North Gwinnett today, I can assure you the results would’ve been much different. Before this season is over, though, I think you’ll find the best team in the state isn’t Norcross, or Colquitt, or North Gwinnett, but Marietta. I’m not a Marietta “follower,” but I do know a little about the coaching staff, and there’s some real talent on the sidelines there.

big mike

August 24th, 2013
9:17 pm

yes we are young we were missing aj at pony even one man does not win a game but he is the biggest pony at 6,3 200 mess up his acl in spring we will get better as the season goes

Nick

August 24th, 2013
9:19 pm

Griffin, that is because Norcross isn’t really all that good. They have a couple of good players, an incredibly overrated running back, and nothing else. On top of that they quit before halftime, this was just a bad, overhyped matchup.

You saw last year what happens when an “elite” FL team meets a great GA team with Grayson and Miami Central.

Hubie Green

August 24th, 2013
9:20 pm

Playing a national schedule ain’t as easy as it looks. Norcross not only lost, but they gave up. Carter was just mashed, manhandled by an unheralded offensive tackle. Carter better start eating some biscuits, quick. And the transfers didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard.

Griffin T

August 24th, 2013
9:21 pm

And I am not being disrespectful at all to the GA teams. I do realize they play some very good football. They usually just can’t compete athletically against the better FLA teams. Another example was in 2010 when St. Thomas of South Florida put up 42 against a very good Camden team. St. Thomas could have pretty much named the score in that game.

JAB

August 24th, 2013
9:21 pm

@ Camden74, Region1 6A best in the state (hahaha) Camden Co. is a joke, if the rest of ya’ll region is as comical as ya’ll were tonight against NG, ya’ll will be the laughing stalk in Ga HS Football. We (Stephenson) scrimmage them (North Gwinnett) to a 9 – 0 finish, had a touchdown called back and was penalized to death, plus we were driving and had to turn it over to the JV. Camden, tonight was like a JV team going up against a varsity team.

GO STEPHENSON JAGUARS & REGION 6AAAAA THE SEC OF HS FOOTBALL BEST IN THE STATE…

CEM

August 24th, 2013
9:26 pm

Florida definitely has some great teams, no question about it. But it’s difficult to really compare the two states when some of the best teams don’t get the same kind of national exposure. I’d love to see a game like Armwood vs. Buford, or Manatee vs. Tucker, etc. To me, those would be much better examples of Georgia vs. Florida match-ups than just throwing two reigning state champions on a field together. Armwood and Manatee are well-known in Florida, like Tucker and Buford here, but aren’t necessarily the most attractive matchups for games like the ones played by Norcross and South Gwinnett today.

Griffin T

August 24th, 2013
9:26 pm

South Gwinnett also lost tonight to a FLA team from Jax. There are a few examples of GA teams beating good FLA teams. But the overall record is very one sided with FLA wins.

Sportsnut

August 24th, 2013
9:27 pm

They didn’t play the right Georgia teams. Simple as that.

football fan

August 24th, 2013
9:30 pm

transfers aren’t always as good as they made out to be – hopefully the GHSA will finally do their job and let teams compete with the “talent” they have – NG has a player who has been at 3 high schools and never moved -stacking teams takes away from the fun of the game

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
9:33 pm

Griffin T…..What are you smoking? What we all witnessed tonight was a very good BTW team playing an unprepared, good Norcross team who gave up in the second quarter. Nothing more, nothing less! :-)

DOSTA DAWG

August 24th, 2013
9:36 pm

@ JAB – Are you serious??? When was the last time Stephenson beat a Region 1 6A team?? Didn’t a #3 seed Region1 6A Lowndes team come up there and beat your 11 D1 players the year before last????

Griffin T

August 24th, 2013
9:37 pm

Final comment of the night guys. Once again, they do play very good football in GA, and I am not taking shots at all. I have great respect for their play. But, bottom line is that this year, and most years, there are at least ten FLA teams that would beat the best team is GA every year. That is just a fact. Most of the better FLA teams have multiple guys playing on Sundays each week. Again just a fact. Have a good night guys, and I hope all your teams have great years this year!

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
9:37 pm

We’ll see where Camden is at the end of the season. They will be a force in Region 1, 6A and a force in the playoff’s! RELEASE the CATS!!!! :-D

DOSTA DAWG

August 24th, 2013
9:38 pm

@ Griffin T – Where are you getting your stats from?? I know at Valdosta, we own Lincoln-Tallahassee, who is a regular state power in Fla.

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
9:44 pm

Griffin T…….What you failed to mention is the fact that the same year Camden lost to STA, they defeated Central Miami, who at that time, was ranked # 1 in the nation. Besides that, Camden didn’t even win the State Title that year. You also failed to mention the fact that Florida has more than twice the population of Georgia. That normally makes a difference as to how many top teams a state has……….RELEASE the CATS! :-D

Dosta Relic

August 24th, 2013
9:46 pm

Camden fans….given the amount of points given up to NG tonight (second most since the 90’s)….any worries about your new coach and staff?

John

August 24th, 2013
9:47 pm

Griffin T is just making a bunch of generalized statements guided through weak rationale instead of providing any real statistical evidence.

Plowboy-Viking

August 24th, 2013
9:49 pm

Hey Griffin T……check your facts!!

BTW vs Northside in 08 was blown away by NSWR
Miami Central has been whooped by Camden and Grayson
Valdosta owns Lincoln
COLQUITT has beaten Madison

Sportsnut

August 24th, 2013
9:49 pm

Did not see a D-front to stop Lovejoy’s offensive line today. Not one. That includes BTW.

CEM

August 24th, 2013
9:52 pm

I think the talent in Florida is better, in part because they’re coming from a larger population by far. In terms of better teams, though, I don’t think I would go as far as saying Florida has better ones pound-for-pound. They may have MORE teams that are better, but it’s all apples and oranges when population size is factored in the equation. The truth is, when you have that many teams, you’re naturally going to have a smaller percentage of good coaches and thus, less-efficient and disciplined teams.

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
10:10 pm

Dosta Relic……..There are a lot of things I could say about what happened tonight, but worry, is not one of them. I believe Camden will be fine. But, IMO, there are a few tough decisions that need to be made by the coaching staff. We’ll see if they are willing to make those decisions. Camden is running the same offense and defense as they have in the past. Tonight, there was a total breakdown in discipline on the offensive and defensive lines. The offensive line with the penalties, and the defensive line for not being able to get off of blocks and not wrapping up on tackles. I believe Camden Players and Coaches were taken by surprise with NG’s running game. I’m sure they expected the ball to be flying around in the air. Camden’s DB’s actually played pretty well, NG’s QB was on his game tonight. He had more than enough time to throw, which surprised even me! :-D

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
10:12 pm

I should have said the entire NG offense were on their game tonight! :-)

Sportsnut

August 24th, 2013
10:14 pm

@ 74 == That was the key. He had all the time he wanted. I saw him go thru his progressions and I was able to follow. Option 1, option 2, option 3 and so on.

GwinnettDad

August 24th, 2013
10:52 pm

NG was clearly the better team. Camden did not, or cannot, throw a forward pass with any authority whatsoever. This was not a fluke.

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
10:54 pm

Sportsnut……The lack of a pass rush was major. The last time that happened was in 2010 against STA. But there was an adjustment made in the second half and their passing game wasn’t as effective. Tonight, whatever adjustments were made, didn’t work. Camden’s defense still didn’t put any pressure on the QB in the second half…….I guess I need to go ahead and put it out there now. Camden will have to throw the ball in order to keep defenses honest. From tonight onwards, everyone will try and place 9 in the box and run blitz. There’s more I could say about this, but I’m going to wait and see what happens. :-D

Camden74

August 24th, 2013
11:00 pm

GwinnettDad……I’m not saying it was a fluke. North Gwinnett has a good team, especially on offense. I can tell you, Camden definitely was not on their game tonight, partially due to NG, partially due to some other matters. Camden’s Coaching Staff will have to make some tough decisions. I believe we’ll see NG again in the playoffs…….. :-D

57Cat

August 24th, 2013
11:25 pm

North Gwinnett is very good, no question about it. But Camden fans should recognize that you just cannot lose the talent your team lost due to graduation, AND change coaches and not expect things to.continue to run with same sweet running, well oiled efficiency as it has in the past. Camden has talent, and their coach is familiar with the system, but it just ain’t the same. By the time region play starts, I fully expect you guys will be better able to take care of business. I don’t want you beat Valdosta, but I do want you playing when you get to the playoffs – and you will get there.

57Cat

August 24th, 2013
11:27 pm

“playing well”

VALDOSTA DAWG

August 24th, 2013
11:36 pm

No one in Camden County should panic. I actually think coach Coffey was trying to prove a point in that Camden must do more than just be a WING-T team. I think coach Coffey will open the offense up and Camden will roll. He turned around a boring Valdosta offense in 2003. That Valdosta team started out 0-3 and went on to the state championship game after coach Coffey changed the entire offense!!!!

Camden74

August 25th, 2013
12:00 am

VALDOSTA DAWG…..Coach Coffey has a few tough decisions to make. I want to see if he’s willing to make them. There were other moves he could have made tonight, but he didn’t. Maybe because he didn’t want to show his hand too early or maybe for some other reasons. But a few changes will have to be made. Camden will be fine……. :-D

CoffeeC100

August 25th, 2013
12:10 am

Enter your comments here

CoffeeC100

August 25th, 2013
12:20 am

VALDOSTA DAWG – I think you are right about the Wing-T. Coach Pruitt has demonstrated that he is one of the premier Wing-T coaches in the nation and he had enough sense see he had no choice but to drop the Wing-T completely if he was going to compete in 6A ball. Coffee has installed a no huddle spread based on Clemsons scheme this year. It may take a while to get the players comfortable with it’s complexity, but it seems the only way to go if you expect to be competitive. It also has the advantage of having a defense that becomes familiar with defending the spread if they are practicing against it off-season and during the week.

Camden74

August 25th, 2013
12:38 am

CoffeeC100…..There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Wing-T. Camden can and probably will continue to run it and win running it. There are few changes that can be made that will make the Wing-T virtually unstoppable…..But, a coach has to be able and willing to make those changes. :-D

BulldogsStillBite

August 25th, 2013
5:24 am

Well, saw what a solid running back could do for North’s game….very promising. Camden has talent but does have to make some decisions. It’s the FIRST game of the season and first impressions can be lasting; North looked farther along in their preparedness tonight. The Norcross team that showed up (didn’t show up) tonight better get their minds right and heads out of the clouds. It has been rare that North has had solid receivers and a running game that didn’t involve the QB. We’ll see how they look against Grayson next week. There is still a lot of talent in AAAAAA this year and the road to the Dome will not be easy or anyone. I don’t think Sphire’s 10+ wins/season streak is in jeopardy with this team, even though they lost a lot on both sides of the ball from last year. Norcross last year used overwhelming talent to win; I am not so convinced they have it yet this year. Your first shot on the big stage nationally and you lay down! I just remember NG going to Norcross a couple of seasons ago down 22 – 0 and coming back to win. If they get behind, they have not shown they have what it takes to win from there; but again – it’s just the first game. Let’s see where we are/they are after game 3….our first region game. I can say this – I think our team has the talent to go farther this in the playoffs; they still have lots of work to do to make that happen though. Colquitt has a couple of barometer games coming up; Lovejoy is the one that matters to me. We went there with a hobbled QB (much like we did at home against Camden in ‘09) with no Donnie Miles and were punished. Not that he or a healthy QB would have been the game changer, Lovejoy was very talented last year; may have been a closer outcome. That matchup (Colquitt – Lovejoy) is actually one I want to watch; but Probst gets on my nerves with his sideline antics – too much of a diva from where I sit…don’t know the guy, just saying what I see….

Sportsnut

August 25th, 2013
6:02 am

I said at the beginning of last season and during the season that the wing-T is dead. I also said it is necessary to be able to throw.

Sportsnut

August 25th, 2013
6:41 am

Oh yeah, you must get pressure on the Qb. Any kind.

Being realistic though, I know these teams will be competitive but their jobs will be much more difficult this year. There are teams that are now on the rise. Now more than ever, “Any Given Friday”.

Trojan94

August 25th, 2013
7:30 am

didnt greyson blow out Miami central just last year 35-3