Battle for Gwinnett and State Championship Game Friday on GPB
Sometimes when you talk to the folks involved it’s hard to tell which is bigger…Gwinnett County football supremacy or a spot in the AAAAAAA State Championship Game? The winner will get both Friday night when the top-ranked Grayson Rams play host to the second-ranked Mill Creek Hawks in the state semi-finals on GPB.
It’ll be just the second meeting ever between the two Gwinnett County programs with the first coming in 2014 when Grayson beat Mill Creek in the first round of the state playoffs. The Hawks have won 26 of their last 27 games since that defeat with Mill Creek’s only loss during that run coming to eventual state champion Colquitt County in last year’s semi-finals. The Rams have won 25 of 28 games since that meeting vs. the Hawks two years ago including a Hail Mary loss to Roswell in last year’s semi-finals.
It’s hard to call it a rivalry, seeing how the two programs have met only once, but because of the deep roots of the youth Gwinnett Football League and its tremendous success the players on these two teams are very familiar with each other. Mill Creek’s senior class has been together since the seventh grade and Coach Shannon Jarvis got emotional talking about their commitment to the program.
Grayson’s story is a little different and while the Rams have plenty of kids who have been together for a long time, it’s hard to miss the fact they’ve had at least eight transfers into the program this season including some of the best players in the nation in Deangleo Gibbs, Jamyest Williams, Breon Dixon and Tony Gray.
Long-time Coach Mickey Conn (who built the program for scratch and the only coach Grayson had ever had) left for a job at Clemson in the spring and one of the state’s best and most-respected coaches Jeff Herron was brought in to take over. He stepped into a mess with the transfer controversy raging but he has navigated the troubles, the early-chemistry issues and has the Rams playing like the seemingly-unbeatable team many predicted they could become. Any doubts? Ask two-time defending state champion Colquitt County. Grayson stuck a fourth-quarter, running-clock 49-21 quarter-final win on the Packers last week in Moultrie. Enough said.
When we talked to both coaches this week, they had just finishing ushering a slew of college coaches out of their offices. This week being the first week of recruiting contact for college coaches just makes life that much more difficult for the coaches as they prepare for this huge semi-final match-up.
The Mill Creek defense has surrendered just 301 yards rushing for the ENTIRE season. That number is helped a bit by the 47 quarterback sacks that subtract from the overall ground game total but you get the picture. To put that in perspective, the Rams rushed for 375 yards LAST WEEK at Colquitt and threw the ball only nine times.
But Grayson has so many weapons and can beat you in so many ways. The week before, four-star quarterback and Clemson commit Chase Brice threw four touchdown passes in the Rams second round win vs. Woodstock. They have become masters at taking what the defense gives.
So Friday night on GPB we bring you the best of what Gwinnett County football has to offer. It might also be the best in the state. But we won’t know that for sure for another week. Stay tuned!
Here’s a look at all the major prospects to keep your eyes on Friday night. (It’s a very long list!)
-Deangelo Gibbs - ESPN 5-Star - #2 Athlete in the nation - #10 Player overall in the country - #1 ranked player in Georgia - 33 Offers – Top 3 are reportedly Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee with Bulldogs considered leaders
-Jamyest Williams - ESPN 4-Star - #4 CB in the nation- #3 player in Georgia - Committed to South Carolina over 48 other offers
-Tony Gray - ESPN 4-Star - #12 OT in the nation and #10 player in Georgia - 32 offers - Georgia and Kentucky considered his leaders
-Breon Dixon - ESPN 4-Star - #8 OLB - 25 offers – Top contenders are TCU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Miami, USC and Ohio State with the Horned Frogs considered the leader
-Chase Brice - ESPN 4-Star - #13 Pocket Passer QB in the nation - Committed to Clemson over 17 other offers
-Will Taylor - ESPN 3-Star - #11 ranked Center in the nation - Committed to Duke over 10 other offers
-Kurt Taylor - ESPN 3-star RB - Committed to Michigan over 16 other offers
-Ellison Hubbard - ESPN 3-Star DT - 17 Offers - Wake Forest, Boston College, Iowa State, Minnesota and Rutgers are reportedly his leaders
-Jalen Jackson - ESPN 3-Star OG - 17 Offers including West Virginia, Wake Forest and Illinois
-Aaron Brawley - OLB - Offered by Georgia State and Eastern Kentucky
-Elijah Shah - WR - Offered by Clemson
-Demetrius Murray – ESPN 3-star CB - Decommitted recently from Fresno State and entertaining other offers
-Eugene Mafah - ILB - Offered by Jacksonville State
-Jaquavius Lane - Junior Athlete (plays WR for Grayson) - Offered by Syracuse
-Owen Pappoe - Sophomore OLB - 33 offers - Georgia, Bama, Tennessee, and Auburn are considered his leaders
-Kenyatta Watson - Sophomore Safety - 8 offers - Tennessee and Nebraska are reportedly his leaders
-Tru Thompson - Sophomore DT - 3 offers - Florida State is considered his leader over Florida and Miami
-Wanya Morris – Sophomore OT – Offered by Boston College and Syracuse
-Cameron Turley – QB – Committed to play baseball at Georgia Tech (catcher)
-Tyler Fannin – ESPN 3-star and #9 center in the country – Committed to Virginia over 25 other offers
-John Harris – Junior OG – Offered by Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Rutgers with Hokies considered his leader
-Jack Franklin – OG – Committed to Coastal Carolina over 10 other offers
-Edmond Graham – Athlete (plays WR for Mill Creek) – Committed to Mercer over 6 other offers
-Jamar Hall – Safety – Committed to Furman over 7 other offers
-Preston Norwood – WR – Committed to Penn
-Victor Heyward – OLB – Committed to Georgia State over 4 other offers
-Nick Campbell – OG – Committed to Western Carolina over Charleston Southern
-Jonathan Gipson – Junior CB – 7 offers including Auburn, Maryland and West Virginia
-Joe Thomas – RB – Committed to Air Force
-Dylan Artman – OL Injured - Offered by Kentucky Christian University
-Collin Janowski – OL - Offered by Robert Morris and Kentucky Christian
-Ayoola Ogun-Semore – DE – 10 offers including Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina