Making adjustments is a key to victory throughout any point of the high school football season.
But like a lot of other elements of football, those adjustments are magnified during the postseason, a situation that was on full display during last week’s first round of the Georgia High School’s state football playoffs.
And it will surely be on display for Gwinnett County’s 12 remaining teams, and others throughout the state, when the second round of the playoffs commence this Friday night.
“They’re magnified in the playoffs because any person out of position, … the other team has playmakers that will take advantage of that,” said Parkview head coach Eric Godfree, whose No. 7 state-ranked Panthers (10-1) will welcome fifth-ranked Colquitt County (9-2) to the Big Orange Jungle for Class AAAAAAA second-round game Friday. “Everything’s kind of amped up a good bit over the regular season because at this point of the year, it’s the Sweet 16 and everybody (left has) good players and good coaches.”
One of the things Parkview will specifically have to adjust to is facing a major powerhouse in the second round, a fate they Panthers had to deal with a year ago, when they were ousted by Archer in the second round.
Mll Creek is another team facing a particularly tough foe in the second round when the eighth-ranked Hawks (9-2) travel to Roswell (8-2) for a AAAAAAA second-round game Friday.
“I know they’re a good team,” Mill Creek coach Josh Lovelady said of the Hornets. “Year in and year out, they’re in the playoffs. We know they’re a hard-nosed group. We’re excited. We don’t get to see as much film of them during the course of the season. We’re just excited to go on to the next round.”
But there are other ways in which playoff teams must adjust on the fly that are magnified in the playoffs as each round progresses.
Dacula was adept at adapting to situations that could’ve been an issue, but weren’t in a 49-18 rout of Dalton in a AAAAAA first-round game last Friday.
The top-ranked Falcons (11-0) will have be able to adjust on the fly again when Glynn Academy (6-4) comes to Barron Field for a second-round game this Friday.
Though it’s doubtful they will have quite as many potential distractions to deal with this time around as they did last Friday, when they played without head coach Clint Jenkins, who was suspended a game after being ejected from the previous week’s regular season finale, and quarterback Jarrett Jenkins, who left with a mild ankle injury just before halftime.
And the Falcons didn’t miss a beat, thanks to the cohesiveness of assistant coaches Ken Burnette and Daniel Garrett being able to help execute the game plan, and the ability of Kaleb Edwards to move over from his natural receiver position to keep the offense running efficiently.
“We stayed poised even with Coach Jenkins gone,” said Edwards, who amassed 281 yards of total offense, scored two TDs each on the ground and receiving and intercepted a pass on defense in last Friday’s win. (Coaches Burnette and) Garrett took over, and we were fine.
“When Jarrett goes down, I go in and my job is to manage. That’s what a quarterback’s job is. I played quarterback all through GFL and through ninth grade. So it’s not new to me. I just manage.”
The other big adjustment all teams had to make last week was with the cold and rainy weather that moved through most of Georgia last Friday.
The good news for this week is that forecasts call for a smaller chance of rain and warmer temperatures.