Five things to watch this week: North Gwinnett depends #1 ranking

No. 1-ranked North Gwinnett plays at defending champion Norcross on Friday in Class AAAAAA’s spotlight game. Each has won three Region 7 titles since 2006, when Bob Sphire came to North Gwinnett.

The No. 1-ranked team in AAAAAA is 0-2 this season as Norcross and Colquitt County failed to defending their top rankings. Now North Gwinnett gets its shot. For those who follow recruiting, the game features the state’s top two defensive ends in Lorenzo Carter (Norcross) and Dante Sawyer (North Gwinnett). Both are uncommitted.

Five more things to watch this week:

Coffee: Many are calling Coffee under second-year coach Robby Pruitt the sleeper in Region 1. If so, maybe the Trojans can avenge last season’s loss to AAA’s No. 3 team, Burke County, which features wizard QB Donquell Green.

Wheeler: Region 5 seems up for grabs as Lassiter and Walton appear down while Cherokee, Etowah, Milton and Wheeler are 2-0. Let’s see what Wheeler and QB Elijah Staley (448 passing yards, 5 TDs) can do against defending Region 3 champion Langston Hughes and RB Keion Davis (344 yards rushing, 5 TDs).

Marietta: The Blue Devils are ranked this week (No. 10) for the first time since 2007 under fourth-year coach Scott Burton. They’ll know where they stand quickly as they travel to Hillgrove (2-0) on Friday. Expect the winner to be ranked next week. Marietta then faces No. 2 McEachern next week.

North Cobb: The Warriors are ranked No. 5 but haven’t played the same level of opponent as the other highly ranked teams. On Friday, they travel to Walton, a big-name opponent that also has something to prove. Walton needs to win to avoid its first 0-3 start since 1988.

Region 8: Region play begins with two pivotal games involving only one team – Archer (2-0) – that has won a game. Hard to believe Brookwood, Parkview and Grayson are winless. One of the three has won 18 of the past 19 region titles excepting only 2003 (South Gwinnett). Parkview is at Grayson, and Brookwood is at Archer.

98 comments Add your comment

region4fan

September 12th, 2013
9:10 am

Both Region 4 games referenced should be interesting. I look forward to watching North Cobb at Walton.

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
9:35 am

Region 8 == The Parkview vs Grayson game is pivotal only in that the loser moves further out of the picture in regional standing. They need to bring themselves back into the fold. As early as it is, they are in need of a win.

Look for Archer to go to 3-0. Grayson and Parkview may be in for a long season given that Shiloh and Berkmar are sitting at 2-0. Would it surprise anyone at this point if these two, Shiloh and Berkmar, fill the playoff bracket for the region along with Archer and South Gwinnett?

Tyler Queen is for real. That makes North real. With Cameron Albright and that runningback, I can’t remember his name but he wears #33, they have enough to win the region. This is a tough region though. They (all) are 13-3 with seemingly all playing good ball.

Wheeler is putting up big numbers. They could be the best thing in region 5.

Coffee is my pick to win region 1.

North Gwinnett vs Norcross will be a game. This will truly be a barometer for both. If Norcross can get pressure and disrupt the timing of the passing game, they have a chance. If not, they will need to score plenty.

Spectator

September 12th, 2013
9:41 am

I believe Hillgrove lost the last 2 against Marietta, so they’ll need to shovel some coal tomrrow, but it’s well within reach.

FarTrain

September 12th, 2013
11:39 am

The Colquitt County “Woodchoppers” lost to the #1 team in Alabama, which none of the other teams in 6A have the guts to schedule. They should not have dropped from #1 in GA, and should not be penalized. If they had lost to a lower-rated or lower classification team IN ANOTHER STATE, I could understand it, but this was uncalled for. Whoever does the ratings just saw a chance to bump back another South GA powerhouse and took advantage of it.

region4fan

September 12th, 2013
11:49 am

I think North Cobb may actually have more speed and talent at the offensive skill positions than they had last year. The Oline and Dline are all new starters so we see how that shakes out.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
11:50 am

Sportsnut,

To answer your question above, I would surprise ME a lot if either Shiloh or Berkmar were to make it to the playoffs from 8-AAAAAA. It would surprise me if either of them wins more than 2 region games.

Shiloh’s wins over Meadowcreek and Redan do not mean they will be able to compete against their Region 8 opponents. Berkmar’s wins over Meadowcreek and Duluth- ditto. I expect Berkmar to end up 0-8 in the Region, with their best chance coming tomorrow against Shiloh.

Every team in Region 8 is now 0-0 and the playoff race starts tomorrow night at 7:30… They each play 8 region games in the next 9 weeks…

From what I have watched so far, and it hasn’t been particularly impressive from any of them, here are my predictions for the R8 playoff spots:

TIER 1: Parkview and Brookwood: 5-7 region wins each,

TIER 2: Archer, South, and Grayson: 4-5 region wins each. (all three of these teams are hard to predict which is better)

TIER 3: Dacula and Central: 2-4 region wins each

TIER 4: Berkmar and Shiloh: 0-2 region wins each

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
11:54 am

@ FarTrain == It does not take guts. The other teams in 6A don’t have a coach with anything to prove to Alabama. Do you not know a publicity stunt when you see one?

More than one person or organization dropped them. A loss is a loss. I guess Lowndes should not have dropped, or maybe you think Norcross should have remained #1 despite their loss to an out of state team. Again, a loss is a loss. In Georgia, they play a 10 game regular season. Your position in the ratings or rankings are dependent on winning those games. You lose, you move,…………….down.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
11:54 am

FarTrain,

Quit your whining, we (Norcross) lost to the #1 team in the country, passing the #1 ranking to Colquitt, and I am glad to let someone else carry the target. You will get a chance to earn your #1 on the field so forget about the rankings and concentrate on the games! Just be glad you aren’t 0-2,,,

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
12:10 pm

@ RobFromNorcross == Need I remind you that Brookwood, Grayson and Parkview are winless and it does not matter who they lost to. There are teams that make the playoffs with 1 region win depending on their region, the # of teams in their region and their competition.

The winner of the game between Shiloh and Berkmar will be for 2nd and 3rd in the region overall behind Archer, whom I expect to win. It will be a good game I think. Is it so far fetched to think that someone could improve enough to be better than Grayson or Parkview?

You have the historically 3 best teams in the region without a win going into week 4. Time is passing.
Your Tier 1 is currently Tier 4. Your Tier 4 is presently Tier 1. If after what you have watched so far has not been impressive, that opens the door to the possibility that things may not change.

It is what it is. Your Tier 2, you say, is hard to predict who is better? That’s easy, Archer. I can understand you questioning the future but right now the records tell us what we need to know.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
12:33 pm

When evaluating a team early in the season, of course it matters who they lost to, just like it matters who they beat. And it matters how they won or lost.

The whole region is winless (0-10) against quality opponents this year. Wins against Meadowcreek, Redan and Duluth don’t tell you anything. They are not good measuring sticks. They are not playoff teams.

Brookwood has lost to McEachern and Mill Creek, two very good teams.
Parkview has lost to Peachtree Ridge and Norcross, two very good teams.
Grayson has lost to Colquitt County and North Gwinnett, two very good teams.

Since you think rankings are so important, these 6 teams they lost to are ranked #1,2,3,4,7,and 8 in the state of GA right now on the composite rankings.

The records right now for Reg 8 are meaningless as it relates to the region games. My tiers are not intended to cover their records now or after tomorrow night’s first game. It is how I believe they will end up at the end of all the region games, for the playoff spots.

Tomorrow night either Berkmar or Shiloh is going to be 3-0, and it will still be meaningless.

Flyer

September 12th, 2013
12:56 pm

@Sportsnut– Region 8 plays their first regions games tomorrow night. Whether a team is 2-0, 1-1 or 0-2 going into those games has NO bearing whatsoever on the playoffs. The ONLY thing that matters in determining the 4 teams that make the State playoffs is their Region record. After tomorrow night there will be 4 teams (1-0) tied for first and 4 teams (0-1) tied for last. Since Central Gwinnett has a bye. They will be in 5th by themselves (0-0).

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
1:04 pm

Meaningless to you and I. These games, non-region, are what makes many teams. Let an average team win games in non-region and you could see their confidence soar. They could start to believe enough in themselves to carry them to more inspired victories.

Since you play basically all Gwinnett teams and maybe a Cobb team, you have no indication how they stack up against others outside your football world. The rankings can inspire. Both the ranked and unranked.

If it does matter who they lost to, then that lets you know, in this case, they are not what you think. If they are supposed to be good, then they should not have lost or at least been more competitive.

The fact is that region 8 is a state worst 7-11, non region. Does this bode well for the 2nd season when you will have to play non region opponents?

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
1:19 pm

@ Flyer == When will you guy’s stop acting like the non region games don’t mean anything? That is what region 1 thinks. I think Lowndes will play more inspired ball now that they lost to a so-called nobody. Newton will play better because they now know they are capable of beating someone everyone thought was superior.

Or, Lowndes could suffer mentally. They could allow this to linger and go into a slide that creeps into region play. Take off the manacle and look with both eyes. You might be surprised what you see. The landscape changes now and then and maybe this is happening now.

Colquitt has an excellent home field advantage. They are not concerned about non region games and fail to win their region but always go deep in the playoffs. Imagine if they won their region and played at home during the past four years. They could easily have a couple more rings.

So you can tell me all you want that the region is all that matters. Keep up that attitude and we will see you in the playoffs at 12 Oaks, where we have played all but 2 playoff games the last 2 years because we try to win them all and not just worry about region.

Camden74

September 12th, 2013
1:47 pm

Why do I get the feeling the # 1 ranked team will be 0-3 this season? I know they didn’t show one against BTW, but does Norcross have an aggressive fast defense? If Norcross can disrupt the timing in NG’s passing game, they have a good chance to pull off the upset. If they can’t slow down the passing game, it will be a long night for Norcross! :-)

Camden74

September 12th, 2013
1:55 pm

Sportsnut……..I think you should qualify your statement about Region 1 not caring about winning non region games. Camden wants to win every game they play, regardless if it’s a Region 1, 6A game or not…… :-D

Pshawkfan

September 12th, 2013
2:09 pm

(Spectator) 2011 – Hillgrove 48 – Marietta 8 / 2012 Marietta 27 – Hillgrove 13

Should be a good game. Even at 2 & 0 Hillgrove hasn’t been tested yet.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
2:09 pm

sportsnut, you are smart enough to understand what I am saying I think,

I am simply saying that beating meadowcreek and redan and having a 2-0 record does not mean that you are a better team than someone who lost to colquitt and north gwinnett and is therefore 0-2. and that these records have no bearing on the playoffs.

Of course all the teams want to win all their games, so you can get off your high horse. Maybe if you had another team above .500 overall record last year in your region, you would understand that some teams are better than others.

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
2:09 pm

@ 74 == Maybe I should be more specific. Those region 1 fans from Lowndes, Colquitt and Valdosta always make the argument that they are not worried about non region games. I have not heard the same from Coffee, Tift, Camden or Brunswick.

It is their contention that the games not in region are win or lose, no matter. There have been times when I have heard coaches say, ” Hopefully we can be ready by region time”. I want my coach ready to win by season’s opening.

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
2:22 pm

@ RobFromNorcross == Don’t ride horses. I don’t presume to know which teams are better. I can only go by what everyone else goes by and that is a teams history and it’s present. By doing this, I am attuned to the here and now, with perspective.

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
2:25 pm

Oh yeah, No need to bash Region 2 and 3. Right now, Region 7 and Region 8 aren’t showing much better.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
2:28 pm

Sportsnut –

For Lovejoy, maybe your region games are the easy part of your year with no real competition at the present time. Maybe that is the difference in mindset between us. the teams trying to win in tougher regions are using the non-region games to improve. They are also of course trying to WIN and no one has said otherwise that i have seen.

Football teams at all levels- pee-wee to pro- strive to get better each week as the team gels. In high school, where you have a lot of turnover every year it is even more important to use the non-region games to prepare the players stepping up for the region season, and also for the playoffs.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
2:33 pm

Sportsnut-

Region 7 is 9-1 in quality games by our Top 5 teams heading into Region play. The one loss is by Norcross to the #1 team in the nation, You must not be keeping up with what’s going on.

Fred

September 12th, 2013
2:41 pm

North Gwinnett is good, very good but I think they can be beat. Their defense scored more points against us than their offense did which I found very surprising. If you can hold their offense down and not turn the ball over you have a real good chance.

@RobFromNorcross – It is the whole strength of schedule thing that some people subscribe to and some people don’t. There have been a whole lot of teams roll into the Dome with less than 14-0 schedules. I really want to win region because that makes the first two playoff games at home. That’s always easier than loading up and hitting the road. I agree that the win-loss records in region 8 don’t mean a whole lot today. After today it will start to shake out.

@Sportsnut – Your playing all of your playoff games at home has had as much to do with a traditionally weak region as your team’s abilities. I am NOT saying you haven’t had a good team because you clearly have. You just haven’t had a ton of competition in region. In region 8, traditionally there have been some very good teams that have been at 5-5 or 6-4 due to the strength in the region. When you have for example 3 very strong teams at the top, someone has to lose those region games and some very good teams may be the ones losing. This is especially true if you have one team undefeated in region and another with only one loss. The math just works out that way.

57Cat

September 12th, 2013
2:44 pm

Where in the world is bksmith14? Has he given up football?

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
2:54 pm

Fred,

I am not even talking about whether it is better to schedule tougher early games or easier ones to get ready for the region season, and the playoff season. I am just saying that it is apples and oranges to compare a team that lost games to 2 good teams, with a team that beat 2 weaker teams and make any sense of it at this point in the season. And I agree, Lovejoy had a great team last year, and for all we know they could have a great team this year.

We won’t really know how good they are in Lovejoy’s case until the playoffs. Because they don’t face anybody else who is a yardstick of excellence all season. Lovejoy already lost the one game that they scheduled against a traditionally good team this year. Maybe Alpharetta can give them a good test but probably not.

Fred

September 12th, 2013
2:54 pm

@57Cat – He’s trying to catch up to all that 4.3 speed.

westcobb5

September 12th, 2013
3:32 pm

Hey 74, I hope you’re wrong about #1 going 0-3. If so, Mac moves to #1, plays Marietta next week, and . . . I don’t even want to think about it. Pulling for NG this week just to avoid bad kharma.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
3:40 pm

Sportsnut-

This is a quote from you up above: “There are teams that make the playoffs with 1 region win depending on their region, the # of teams in their region and their competition.”

This is not possible. You seem to be of the belief that it is overall record that matters, and that is wrong. Non-region games have no bearing on playoffs.

Do you now admit that you don’t understand how the playoffs seeds work or do you still think your statement above is true? Do you understand how it works now?

Fred

September 12th, 2013
3:48 pm

@RobFromNorcross – I’m sorry of it didn’t come across right but I agree with you. Losing to Colquitt and North Gwinnett is not the same as winning over Berkmar and Meadowcreek even though we stunk it up pretty good against NG.

57Cat

September 12th, 2013
3:50 pm

There are advantages to playing softer teams – but to play all cup cakes would deny you an opportunity to learn about your team under adverse circumstances. (Unless you’re like Lowndes. Lol). To schedule all toughies, like Colquitt does, it seems to me, could have an adverse effect if you didn’t fare too well. Plus, if you play to win each game, you may not be able to try new wrinkles. Admittedly, Colquitt has made that work for them, but were I coaching, I would want a mix. I like Valdosta’s schedule where we mixed a couple of tough games (Thomas County Central, Brooks) with two expected (and I emphasize “expected”) easier games. We learned a lot about our offense, defense, and special teams in the first two games and, hopefully, will be able to work out the wrinkles in tjhe next two before we get into region play.

The Wildcats entered the ranking for the first time this week – which is ego boosting for us fans – but that’s all it is. We still have to play solid Wildcat football against Crisp this week, and our coaches and kids know that.

Camden74

September 12th, 2013
4:52 pm

Westcobb5…….Don’t you want to wear the “TARGET” at least once, just to see how it feels? :-)

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
5:27 pm

@ RobFromNorcross == The region has been the easier portion of our schedule. That is why we play our best competition in non region. Lovejoy has not always played in such a soft region. There was no time to get better. You were there or you weren’t.

In reference to region 7’s record, it stands at 9-9. Quality games or not, it is still 9-9, out of region.

@ Fred == As I stated, Lovejoy has not always been in this region. There were strong regions long before Gwinnett was a force. Before many of your schools were even around. You need to understand that when you guy’s were changing regions, we were changing classes. That is where we gained our edge.

As far as turnover is concerned, there is not a lot at Lovejoy. We do not get as much as others. Our freshmen play as freshmen, given they have the talent. That way, when they are upper classmen, they are ready.

Prior to re-alignment, there were regions in GHSA that did not have 5 teams in them. Someone had to make the playoffs. Don’t believe me, look it up.

Marietta fan

September 12th, 2013
5:28 pm

So far this year I think region 4 could give region 1 and 7 a run for the best region in the state. Marietta’s game against Hillgrove this week should be a great game. Marietta is averaging 57 points a game, but Hillgrove has a good defense. I look for Marietta to win 31-20 and set up a classic against Mceachern next week at Northcutt on GPB.

Camden74

September 12th, 2013
5:44 pm

Marietta fan……..Who’s Marietta averaging 57 points per game against? How many points are they giving up per game, what’s the level of competition? :-)

Marietta fan

September 12th, 2013
5:55 pm

@74 We won at Newnan 52-21 and beat Pope 63-13. I know Newnan is down a little but Maxwell projected them as region champs and Pope is a 5A team in Cobb thats been to the playoffs 4 or 5 years in a row. We’ve come a long way since we played Camden 2 years ago

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
6:10 pm

Today there are 412 schools playing football in Georgia. There has not always been 6-10 teams in each region. Today, the top 4 teams from each region qualify for the playoffs. They are seeded by their record against their respective region.

Maybe I should have said there have been teams that make the playoffs with 1 region win. It could happen today. Lets say nobody in Lovejoy’s region wins a region game. They have 4 out of region games and win those. Wouldn’t the top 4 still go to the playoffs regardless of their region record?

If the answer is no, please explain.

RealisticFan

September 12th, 2013
6:20 pm

Can someone give me an honest assessment and breakdown of Tift County this year. Improved but still will lose every region game…. Worse …. Much improved ?????

Thanks

GwinnettDad

September 12th, 2013
6:40 pm

@Fred – how times change. Grayson has looked flat. Brookwood has looked bewildered. And Parkview hasn’t won either. They are, after all, just high school kids, so there can be all sorts of changes in a year.

I really don’t have a clue how this season will turn out in Region 8AAAAAA, but Brookwood having its first losing season in a long time is not impossible. Mark Crew’s teams up until last year could almost always play defense. Not any more. Archer should have beaten them the last two years. I expect them to defeat the Broncos when they play.

Otherwise, I have no idea were Sportsnut gets his crystal ball. But one thing is for sure, when one makes bold predictions, one may someday have to eat the words that were proudly written. We’ll see.

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
7:18 pm

Sportsnut,

I have no idea how you think it is possible for every other team in Lovejoy’s region to have no wins.

There are 21 games played between all the teams in a 7 game region. That is 21 wins and 21 losses.
The most wins that Lovejoy can get in the region is 6, so there are 15 more wins that must be divided among the other 6 teams. And only one team can be winless. and only one team can have a single loss. So the absolute worst record that the #4 seed can have in a 7 team region is 3-4 (3 wins)

RobFromNorcross

September 12th, 2013
7:23 pm

And Sportsnut,

There is no tie-breaker scenario for playoff seeding that takes into account non-region games or overall record. They are irrelevant. That was the point of saying the non-region games are meaningless from a playoff seeding standpoint.

If the non-region games were taken into account, every team would play weak teams for their non-region games.

Carl

September 12th, 2013
8:26 pm

Is Sportnut always like this

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
8:34 pm

I did not mean for you to take it that literal. I know that is impossible with the current set-up. Just think of a region with 5 teams. That makes for 4 region games. The schedule is completed by adding 6 non-region games. A team wins 1 region game but all it’s non region games. That makes them 7-3 and playoff bound if there is a team in that region that does not win 1 region game.

@ GwinnettDad == What predictions have I made? I said I expect Archer to be 3-0. The rest of the paragraph was questioning anyone on the possible scenario of those teams being the reps from region 8. I think Coffee will win Region 1. If you were referring to the comments about North and Norcross, that is simply the truth given that the passing game is North’s strength.

Here’s your sign !

Grayram

September 12th, 2013
8:38 pm

Sportsnut. The teams in each region play each other. Someone wins someone loses. It’s not possible for multiple teams to be winless. Every team wants to play well in non reg games but they don’t count in any way other than media rankings. Playoff seeding is solely based on region games.

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
8:47 pm

Podunk High, owners of a 1-9 record, will represent Section 16 in the State Playoffs. Their lone win was over region rival Knucklescratch , who went 0-10. Since there are only 5 teams in the region, they, along with Slipfoot High, at 2-8, both qualify

Grayram

September 12th, 2013
9:01 pm

Yes. Or you could say
Podunk high at 1-9 with 1 region win over knucklescratch is the 4 seed and in the playoffs. Knucklescratch who ended at 6-4 did not make the playoffs after going 0-4 in the region

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
9:01 pm

Some of you are laughable. Start from the beginning of the blog and READ and try to comprehend. I know it is hard for some to think outside the box. Life sometimes dictate that we do for our own sake.

@ Grayram == I have been involved in football since 1969. I have lived in Georgia all my life. I played ball. My family is full of former and present athletes. I have coached football and today, I am still in the fold.

To address your comment about it being impossible for multiple teams to go winless, I never said that. I stated that there have been teams to make the playoffs with 1 region win.

Back to an earlier line, Some of you are laughable.

Sportsnut

September 12th, 2013
9:14 pm

I had been listening to the NSWR vs Westside Macon game earlier and it was NSWR on top, 28-14 with just over 5 mins. left in the 4th quarter. Should be over but I’m not sure of the final.

GwinnettDad

September 12th, 2013
9:18 pm

Sportsnut: “Shiloh and Berkmar are sitting at 2-0. Would it surprise anyone at this point if these two, Shiloh and Berkmar, fill the playoff bracket for the region along with Archer and South Gwinnett?”

Yes.

The fact that Berkmar and Shiloh are 2-0 means absolutely, positively, ZERO, nada, nothing.

I’ve already guessed Archer over Brookwood. Would be only fair. They should have won the last two. SG looks pretty good. Can’t forget Dacula, either, that’s beaten the Broncos three times in a row, I think, and even the the Broncos won the state, that was their only loss. Broncos could easily be 0-4.

westcobb5

September 12th, 2013
9:25 pm

For the record, it is possible for every team to go winless in a region . . . if they tie every game. And if all region games end in a tie except one, the winner of that one finishes first in the region with only one region win. Just sayin’.

57Cat

September 12th, 2013
9:42 pm

Sportsnut keeps citing examples in which he includes a team’s record for the whole year, region and non-region games. Forget all about a team’s non-region wins and losses since they have no relevancy in determining a region’s playoff participants. In his example above, Podunk’s region record was 1 – 3. Knucklescratch was 0 – 4. Slipfoot would have to be 2 – 2. Your other two teams in that 5-team region would have to be 3 – 1 and 4 – 0, to balance the region’s wins and losses at 10 each. Thus, Podunk indeed would make the playoffs with only one region win. All five of the teams could have won or lost all six of their non-region games and it would not change their playoff picture.