Game of the Week: Norcross at North Gwinnett
Patch's reader-decided Gwinnett Game of the Week may go down as one of the best games of the season.
- Both teams are undefeated (2-0) and state-ranked (North Gwinnett is No. 5 and Norcross No. 9 in this week's AJC/Georgia High School Football Daily rankings).
- Both already have impressive wins (North beat ranked Colquitt County and South Carolina power A.C. Flora; Norcross shut out Parkview last week).
- Both have balanced offenses led by terrific QBs (Michael Haynes of North Gwinnett and Joseph Wilber of Norcross) and solid defenses (each with one shutout).
- Both have sights set on winning Region 7-AAAAAA.
When it comes down to it, the winner will get the inside track to the region title, if preseason projections mean anything. North Gwinnett has been beaten Norcross four consecutive times, the last three times on its way to the region crown.
Expect a close game, but with North having a week to rest and game-plan, and the uncertainty of Norcross star running back Alvin Kamara's ankle injury, it's hard to pick against the Bulldogs.
PREDICTION: North Gwinnett 24, Norcross 21
Other game predictions
Last week's record: 9-5 (Overall 18-8)
- Archer (2-0) at Brookwood (1-1): Archer comes into this game with two impressive wins and the experience of playing the Broncos tough on their home turf. Last year, Tigers pushed Brookwood hard before losing 21-19 in Snellville. Brookwood is 1-1, but looks every bit the part of a solid playoff team. The winner takes a step toward challenging Grayson for the 8-AAAAAA title. Last year's game was a great one. Expect another. Brookwood 21, Archer 19
- Berkmar (1-1) at Shiloh (2-0): If either one of these teams posts a winning record — and possibly challenge for a playoff berth — a win in this game will be the springboard. We like that the Generals are attempting to go 3-0 for the first time in two decades, but we also like what the Patriots can do on offense. Call it an upset, if you'd like. Berkmar 28, Shiloh 24
- Collins Hill (1-1) at Habersham Central (0-2): Last week's exciting win over Dacula on a last-second field goal may be just the thing Collins Hill needed to get it going for a tough 7-AAAAAA schedule. It helps that Habersham Central has only scored eight points in two games. Watch out, though. Sometimes strange things happen in Mount Airy. Collins Hill 23, Habersham 8
- Franklin County (1-1) at Lanier (1-1): Lanier's first varsity season included last week's somewhat surprising win over Oconee County. We were definitely surprised; we picked an easy Oconee win. We'll try to remedy that this week. Hook 'em 'Horns. Lanier 20, Franklin County 14
- Grayson (2-0) at Parkview (1-1): One thing we know will happen in this game is that both teams are going to play — and hit — hard. These are two really good defenses. What we don't know is: 1. Can anybody stop top-ranked Grayson? 2. Can the Parkview offense (three points in two games) get into the end zone? A lot of things will have to go Parkview's way for an upset to happen. Grayson 21, Parkview 12
- Greater Atlanta Christian (3-0) at Chamblee (2-0): GAC is on a roll and there's really no reason it shouldn't continue in this one. But Chamblee will make a game of it. Sparty pulls away in the second half. GAC 28, Chamblee 17
- Hancock Central (2-0) at Buford (1-1): The Buford Wolves don't like to lose, which they did last week at Gainesville. Hancock Central, despite two victories to start the year, will find that out the hard way. Buford 40, Hancock Central 14
- Hebron Christian (0-1) at Cross Keys (0-2): Still smarting from last week's 42-0 loss to Lakeview Academy, Hebron has a chance to put a W up on the board. Hebron Christian 17, Cross Keys 9
- Mountain View (1-1) at Mill Creek (1-1): If the Hawks of Mill Creek have any aspirations for challenging North Gwinnett and Norcross at the top of the 7-AAAAAA standings, they cannot falter in games like this one. Mountain View, which plays six road games this season, has to win a road game or two if it wants 2012 success in the standings. Mill Creek 31, Mountain View 14
- Peachtree Ridge (0-2) at Duluth (1-1): Duluth is 0-8 all-time against Peachtree Ridge and hasn't come closer than 10 points in any of those games. But streaks are meant to be broken, right? Peachtree Ridge hasn't scored a point in two games, and must turn things around quickly to make something out of its season. Duluth can raise some eyebrows with a win. But the gut feeling is to go with the Lions. Peachtree Ridge 24, Duluth 20
- South Gwinnett (1-1) at Dacula (0-2): Last year, South Gwinnett beat Dacula in overtime and this looks to be another tight one. South Gwinnett brings a prolific offense up against a Dacula team that is used to playing better than it has so far. Coin flip ... wait for it ... Dacula 24, South Gwinnett 23
- Wesleyan (1-1) at Stone Mountain (1-1): Love what Wesleyan did in a 19-point win over Salem last week. Stone Mountain may be better than Salem, but Wesleyan is getting pretty good at beating larger schools. Wesleyan 27, Stone Mountain 24
Note: Some statistical information in this report was based on records on the Georgia High School Football Historians Association website.