November 27, 2011
Editor’s Note: Brandon Brigman, a sports writer for the Daily Post, writes a blog every Monday called “The Blitz.” It is available online at www.gwinnettdailypost.com.>
If you've followed Gwinnett County football in recent years, then it's no shocker to find Grayson and Buford left in the state playoffs. The two programs have been the county's most consistent in deep postseason runs.
Grayson is back in the Class AAAAA semis for the third time in four years. Buford is making its fifth straight trip in Class AA.
The two programs began the year as Gwinnett's best hopes at a state championship. Now with just two weeks left in the year, they remain Gwinnett's only chance.
They each get familiar opponents, which make for even more exciting matchups. Grayson hosts Colquitt County, the team that beat the Rams in last year's semis and finished state runner-up.
I think the winner of this game will win the state championship. The other side of the bracket features Lassiter at Walton. That assures Cobb County of having a team in the finals, but Cobb hasn't had a football state champion in more than 45 years.
Colquitt might be the best road playoff team the state has ever seen. The Packers have beat North Gwinnett and No. 1 ranked Camden County on the road in back-to-back weeks. They did it again in dramatic fashion on Friday.
The Packers scored on fourth-and-goal from the 23 with 33 seconds left and then added a two-point conversion for a 32-31 victory over Camden.
This is the same Colquitt program that has won six road playoff games the previous two years combined, including a 31-24 victory over Grayson last year.
A win at Grayson is very rare, considering the Rams are 32-2 at home since the 2007 season.
In Gwinnett's other semifinal game, Buford travels to Columbus to face Carver. That's the site of the last loss by Buford.
The Wolves went to Carver in Game 2 of last season and lost 14-0. Carver had a running back by the name of Isiah Crowell, who is now a freshman at Georgia.
Buford rebounded nicely from the loss, winning its next 13 games to capture its fourth straight state title. The Wolves have won 26 straight games, including a 35-7 win over Carver in Game 3 of this year.
I thought Buford would get a bit of challenge in Friday's quarterfinal game against Elbert. That never happened as Buford rolled to a 49-13 win. The only thing that stopped Buford was itself. The Wolves racked up 30 yards of penalties on their first drive. Once they got that corrected it was another dominant performance.
I'd like to think Buford will get a tough game against Carver this week, but I don't see it happening. Buford will be in the state finals next week. You can bet the mortgage on that.
You can run the parlay with Calhoun beating Appling County in the other semifinal. We'll get Buford vs. Calhoun in the state finals again and the Yellow Jackets are on the verge of being the Buffalo Bills of Georgia high school football.
Player of the year candidates
The season is almost to a close, which means its time to start handing out superlatives. Who should be the Daily Post's offensive and defensive players of the year?
Grayson's Robert Nkemdiche seems like the frontrunner for defensive player of the year. But who else is in the running? Maybe Buford's Rick LeGrant or Dillon Lee, or Brookwood's Conner Hennessey or North Gwinnett's Justin Alabi?
What about offensive player of the year? North Gwinnett quarterback Scotty Hosch, Brookwood running back Nick Tompkins, Dacula running back/quarterback Rocky Capobianco all had great seasons. Should it go to one of them or someone else?
What about all-county players? Who are some guys to be considering for the Daily Post's all-county team?
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