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Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 1:05pm

Camden County and North Gwinnett see national rankings improve

Because of the big wins North Gwinnett and Camden County have produced over the last two weeks, the national media is starting to take notice. In the MaxPreps rankings, North Gwinnett is ranked No. 12 in America while Camden Co. is ranked No. 23. The Wildcats got a big win Friday beating Miami Central (Fla.), while North Gwinnett took care of Crenshaw (Calif.), a nationally-ranked team from the Los Angeles area.
The 2010 high school football season is now in its fourth week and there are a few teams that have proven they are ready for the postseason ─ such as North Gwinnett and Tucker ─ and there are a few teams that are making noise with big wins over the last few weeks, such as Brookwood and McEachern.
But there are some teams in the area that are not having the start they would like to have in the season and need to get a win on Friday to get back on the right track. One team that needs to get a win is Roswell, who suffered two disappointing losses to start their season.
Friday night, the Hornets will face Norcross in the battle for Holcomb Bridge Road. This is a non-region contest, but Roswell, who was ranked No. 8 in Class AAAAA before the season started, could turn their season around with a win against a team that is on a hot start with a 2-0 record.
Another team that is looking to bounce back is Buford, as they suffered a 14-0 loss to Carver-Columbus who was the No. 2 – ranked team in Class 2A.
“They say before you can win, you have to keep from beating yourself,” Buford head coach Jess Simpson told reporters after the game. “We beat ourselves with stupid mistakes. We had our chances all night long. It just wasn’t our night.”
They will look to correct the mistakes Friday when they face No. 7 Westminster. Led by running back Ralph David Abernathy IV, Westminster will look to rebound after a disappointing 35-7 loss to Carrollton who is the No. 5 team in Class AAA (ranking according to AJC/GHSF Daily).
McEachern bounced back after a tough season-opening loss by upsetting powerhouse Lowndes 23-22. Quarterback Dondre Purnell scored the game-winning touchdown with three seconds left. He ended night 8-for-13 with 213 yards and two total touchdowns. The Indians face Marietta Friday at Cantrell Stadium.
The Walton volleyball team is the top team in Class 5A and have been on a roll as of late with wins over Columbus and Woodward Academy this week. They played No. 1 Pope on Thursday, but results were not available at press time. Friday, Walton will travel to Brentwood, Tenn. to take part in the Brentwood Invitational. The Lady Raiders will be facing some of the best teams in Tennessee, such as host Brentwood.
One team that could take the top spot from Walton down the road is Northview who won the state title in 2008. Led by 10 seniors, Northview will take part in the Active Ankle Invitational at Assumption High School in Louisville, Ky. Like Walton will do in Brentwood, the Lady Titans will take on some of the best teams in the country including the host school who have won 14 of the last 18 state titles in Kentucky.
The cross country season is in full-swing which means the new rankings are out. According to, North Gwinnett is the top girls team in the state regardless of classification. The Lady Bulldogs are coming into the season as the defending Class 5A state champions and got off to a good start by winning the UGA XC Invitational last Saturday. They are led by Jordan Humphrey ─ who won the invitational on Saturday ─ Rose Howell and Lauren Recchia. Rounding out the top five for the best teams in the state are Lakeside-Evans, Marist, Walton and Brookwood.
In boys’ action, Parkview won the Berry Invitational Saturday and are the top team in the all-class rankings. The Panthers are followed by defending Class 5A champs Brookwood, Peacthree Ridge, St. Pius X and Collins Hill. At the Berry Invitational Saturday, both Parkview and Brookwood dominated the competition. Alec Kalssen from Parkview came in first place while Steven Spevacek came in seventh for the Panthers. Brookwood’s top runner was Jackson Wearn who came in fifth. Other top runners for the Broncos were Sean Brennan and Michael Giulinao who finished 12th and 16th respectively.

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