Nine teams from Gwinnett that will be in action, in high school football playoffs, when the second round begins this Friday. Three of Friday night’s match ups will involve region 7-6A vs. 8-6A. With Norcross, North Gwinnett and Collins Hill ranked nationally by NationalHSFootball.com region 7 is considered one of the strongest in the state and nation, with Peachtree Ridge considered a nationally relevant team as well.
Here is a quick preview of each game this weekend.
North Gwinnett (10-1) at Archer (11-0): Archer is the lone undefeated team remaining in the AAAAAA playoffs. The Tigers won their first-ever playoff game with a 34-7 victory over North Forsyth. Archer is averaging 34.5ppg and the offense is led by quarterback Gabe Tiller. Tiller has passed for 19 touchdowns this season while running back Randy Nails is 33 yards shy of 1,000 for the season. North Gwinnett starting quarterback Hayden Sphire returned to action as the Bulldogs defeated Milton. It was first time the Bulldogs won a first round playoff game on the road under head coach Bob Sphire. North Gwinnett, averaging 41.5ppg, is loaded with multiple weapons on offense including running back CJ Leggett (1,031 yards rushing) and Nate Brown (state leader in touchdown receptions with 19).
Brookwood (6-5) at Norcross (9-2): Brookwood defeated their first opponent with a winning record in their 35-16 victory over Lambert. Running back Jesse Brown carried the load rushing for four touchdowns against Lambert. The Broncos will have their hands full with defeating 6A state champion Norcross Blue Devils. Norcross has won eight games in a row, allowed 135 yards in their first round shutout victory over Etowah, returned an interception for a touchdown and are allowing only 14.3ppg this season.
Peachtree Ridge (8-3) at Dacula (7-4): Peachtree Ridge is led by running back Jordan Ellis. Ellis rushed for 265 yards 6 TD in the Lions victory over Lassiter and is over 1,500 yards rushing this season. Peachtree Ridge is averaging 36.4ppg while allowing only 19.5. Dacula continued their turnaround season under first-year head coach Tommy Jones with a first round victory over West Forsyth. The Falcons will face a tall order in slowing Ellis and they allowed West Forsyth to rush for over 190 yards last week. Quarterback Adam Grove is the leading rusher while C.J. Mayes, Jacqque Evangelister, Bijan Sirleaf and Kelan Fraise are also heavily involved in Dacula’s rushing attack.
Collins Hill (10-1) at Alpharetta (9-2): Both of these teams can score. Collins Hill is averaging 39.2ppg while Alpharetta averages 32.6ppg. Collins Hill is on a five game winning streak and Alpharetta has won eight consecutive games. A pair of Tyler’s lead Collins Hill. Running back Tyler Henderson has rushed for over 1,400 yards this season while quarterback Tyler Herman has passed for 2,500 yards this season. Henderson rushed for four touchdowns in the Eagles 41-7 first round victory over Walton. Alpharetta quarterback Austin King has passed for over 2,220 yards this season and his favorite target is Aaron Harton who leads the team with 10 touchdown catches. Alpharetta defeated South Gwinnett last week. The Comets were the only Gwinnett team in AAAAAA not to advance to the second round.
Class AAA: Woodward Academy (9-2) at Buford (11-0): Buford is in the second round of the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season. The Wolves average 52.9ppg and have scored 38 or more points in every game, including three games over 60 points and one game over 70 points. Buford is the defending AAA champion and favored to repeat. Woodward Academy is led by dual threat quarterback Terry Googer. Googer is Woodward’s leading rusher with 1,060 yards and leading passer with 854 yards. Elijah Holyfield – son of boxing legend Evander Holyfield – has rushed for 512 yards this season.
Class AA: GAC (10-1) at Calhoun (10-1): Athlete Micah Abernathy has rushed for over 1,400 yards while quarterback Rafe Chapple is closing in on 1,900 yards passing for Greater Atlanta Christian. The explosive Spartan offense is averaging 45.8ppg with the defense allowing 10.8ppg. Calhoun was the class AA runner up last season.
GPB TV Colquitt Co. @ North Cobb
CSS-sports.com Archer @ North Gwinnett
WSBTV.com Collins Hill @ Alpharetta
To be determined