With the Kell Classic and a handful of other football games kicking off last week, the 2010 high school football season has begun. However, the real action takes place this weekend, with a full slate of games scheduled for Friday and Saturday. So with the first full week of the high school football season upon us, let’s preview the upcoming season by taking a look at each county.
Gwinnett County always has talented teams and this year is no different. North Gwinnett got their season off on the right foot with a 34-14 win over Cobb County powerhouse Lassiter. Saturday will be when they face Bob Jones High School, a team from Madison, Ala., in the Progressive Football Challenge.
“I think our team and community enjoy branching out and playing a national schedule,” North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire said. “We have great respect for our Georgia opponents and feel we play in one of the toughest regions in the nation in Region 7-AAAAA, but experiencing some variety like Bob Jones and Crenshaw with our non-region schedule is exciting.”
With players on the roster such as running backs Donnie Miles, Ethan Kilgore and Score 44 player C.J. Uzomah, the Bulldogs will be a tough team to stop down the stretch.
Other teams to watch for are Peachtree Ridge, Grayson, South Gwinnett, Buford and Wesleyan. Buford is looking to win their fourth consecutive 2A title while Wesleyan has become one of the more dominant teams in 1A since dropping down in 2008.
FULTON COUNTY …
The Roswell Hornets has to be the team to watch in Fulton County. In 2009, they finished with a 10-2 record and reached the second round of the state playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons. They should have another strong year with the players they have coming back led by offensive lineman Joseph Turner, who has gotten offers from Air Force, Army and Georgia Southern.
Another team to watch for is Centennial, as they reached the playoffs last season for the first time since 2002. They lost some talent, but head coach Jeff Measor will have his team ready every Friday to give everything they have.
Down in the Atlanta area, Westlake is looking to build on their 7-4 playoff season of 2009. This year they will be led by cornerback Ronnie Harris and linebacker Chris Tavares, whom have gotten offers from various schools across the country…
Lassiter and McEachern look to be the class of the county, but they are still hurting after the disappointing losses they took in the Kell Classic. Regardless, Lassiter still should be strong as they are led by QB Eddie Printz who will look to fill the rather large shoes left by Hutson Mason. McEachern will still be dangerous on offense, led by tight end Rory Anderson and wide receiver Chris Davis.
One team to watch for but nobody is talking about is Pebblebrook, who just missed the playoffs last year. They have a huge test on Friday when they travel to Valdosta and take on Lowndes. Head coach Randall Smith wants to raise the bar higher at the South Cobb school and he thinks taking on Lowndes is that next step.
“We are trying to improve our program at Pebblebrook,” Smith said. “We feel we need to set a goal very high and this is a great opportunity for our kids.”
Other teams to watch for are Walton and Harrison, who are looking to bounce back after disappointing seasons in which they missed the playoffs.
When it comes to high school football in DeKalb County, three schools come to mind. That trio includes Tucker, SW DeKalb and Stephenson.
Tucker won the state title in 2008 and, with the talent they have coming back, they have great shot of winning the title this year. The linebackers will be strong with Score 44 players Justin Garrett and James Vaughters holding it down. Defensive back Chris Sanders also made the Score 44 list and will anchor a talented secondary.
The team that could stop Tucker from winning the title is a team that won it in 1995. The SW DeKalb Panthers are coming off a 10-2 season, but lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. However, they still have linebackers Anthony Allen and Toran Davis to anchor a stellar defense.
Stephenson from top to bottom always has the most talent in 5A, and this year it won’t change. The Jaguars are led by Score 44 players Jared Boyd (CB) and Tarik Cook (C).