The first weekend of high school football in Georgia proved one thing above all others in my mind: Gwinnett really is great. Several Gwinnett programs made big statements on the season’s opening weekend and threw down the gauntlet to every other county in the state that it may be impossible to top as far as county-wide success this season.
Four Gwinnett County teams took part in the Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome, with three walking away victorious. Peachtree Ridge sweated out a last minute field goal miss but the Lions did look impressive on defense, knocking out McEachern 24-21 to go 1-0 on the year. The defense took an interception back to the house and you may want to get used to seeing the defense make big play after big play, as that is simply what the Lions from Suwanee, GA do.
Brookwood displayed a potentially-lethal ground game featuring two 100-yard rushers en route to a win over Walton. Nick Thompkins churned up the yardage in the first half while Jamaal Cole ate up the real estate in the second half of a 27-10 Bronco victory. Factor in quarterback Ben McLane this season and the Broncos could make some serious waves come playoff time.
North Gwinnett made perhaps the biggest showing though of the opening weekend. The Bulldogs dominated after an early Lassiter TD, as CJ Uzomah accounted for over 150 yards of total offense and a pair of tailbacks stole the show. Ethan Kilgore and Donnie Miles both tallied a pair of TDs as well as each rushing for over 100 yards. North Gwinnett will next face off against Bob Jones (AL) at home in a Gwinnett showcase.
Even in defeat, Gwinnett County put on a good showing as Grayson neutralized Kell’s Brian Randolph for most of the game in a 13-10 loss. And South Gwinnett traveled south to Valdosta to face nationally-ranked Lowndes, only to fall 34-26. The Comets trailed at halftime thanks mainly to missed opportunities but began a ferocious rally in the fourth quarter. Down 28-0, the Comets got the lead deficit down to just eight before another costly turnover in Vikings’ territory dashed hopes of a comeback. Troy Braswell took a handoff 69 yards and to the house to push Lowndes’ lead up to 34-20. A late Comet touchdown would be window dressing, but not too many teams can say they’ve put 26 points up on Lowndes in one quarter on the road.
With the sheer number of teams, Gwinnett County of course is going to be special, but this season it seems the number of quality players in the county is larger than normal. It will be fun for Gwinnettians to boast about the quality of their county all season long and very few counties will be able to come back with any sort of rebuttal. Success surely lives in Gwinnett County and this year is no exception.