So, what did South Gwinnett’s coach mean by that?
South Gwinnett is off to its first 2-0 start since 2009 and has beaten two teams it wasn’t supposed to – Central Gwinnett 54-21 and Lanier 17-0. South was 2-8 last season.
‘“These are the same kids [from last year] who have stuck with it and didn’t run from a challenge,” Small told David Friedlander of the Gwinnett Daily Post after the game.
It doesn’t take a genius to translate that: None of South’s major players transferred out like so many others did this off-season.
South Gwinnett is an intriguing team. The defense has three major college prospects – junior DL Robert Cooper (committed to Florida State), senior LB Malik Robinson (North Carolina) and junior DE Justin Mascoll (a five-star recruit among juniors). The team also had three 330-pound offensive linemen – Cooper, Ezekiel Williams and Troy Tappin.
South Gwinnett ended Lanier’s 24-game winning streak in regular-season games. Lanier was shut out for the first time in its history, covering 54 games.
More observations from the high class:
-Grayson and Colquitt County were 0-2 in their games against nationally ranked Florida teams. Neither team’s defeat was a surprise. Grayson, which entered ranked No. 1 in Georgia, is dripping with talent, but IMG’s roster is ridiculous. Put it this way – IMG has had a better recruiting class so far than the University of Georgia with two 5-stars, ten 4-stars and six 3-stars in the class of 2017. IMG won 26-7. ‘’They look like an SEC team, which they are because all those kids will be in the SEC or places like it,’’ Grayson coach Jeff Herron said. “It’s really a heck of a concept for them, and they’re making it work.’’ Meanwhile, Colquitt lost to American Heritage 17-14. American Heritage was projected to return to the form of its 2014 Florida state title. Colquitt is rebuilding, although certainly not written off in Georgia after an 0-2 start. Colquitt opened with a loss to Mill Creek.
-Parkview (2-0) looked good again in a 37-12 victory over Shiloh. Trailing 10-7 at halftime, Parkview crafted a 27-point third quarter, avenged a 2015 loss and ended Shiloh’s four-game winning streak. Parkview opened with a 32-7 victory over Christ Presbyterian, a strong Tennessee program. Like every team outside the top six in the rankings, Parkview is a shaky Top 10 team, but it’s a good start for a team broke through and made the playoffs last year (6-5) but really didn’t return a ton of starters.
-Brookwood (2-0) is another team that could break into the underbelly of the Top 10 this week after its second straight clear-cut win. Brookwood has suffered back-to-back losing seasons for the firsrt time ever, but has beaten North Gwinnett 37-23 and Walton 40-13. North and Walton aren’t what they have been, but Brookwood is clearly better now.
-North Cobb (2-0) is yet another team that could break into the Top 10 after a 24-20 victory over Etowah. Remember that North Cobb beat McEachern last season. C.J. Cole scored on a 40-yard run with about nine minutes left for the winning score in a back-and-forth game. North Cobb led 14-0 on two long passes, then weathered Etowah’s 20-0 run.
-Seventh-ranked Westlake lost 10-9 to Hughes on Saturday. The game was stopped in the third quarter because of a fight in the stands, and lightning and weather prevented it from resuming before 11:30 p.m. The game was called and the win awarded to Hughes.