Class AAAAA - Region 7 Football Preview

Gwinnett teams took the top five spots of the 10 teams in this region last year, relegating the Fulton schools to the lower half of the region. While the Fulton squads have moved on, it's the Forsyth teams that now hope to have success against proven Gwinnett foes.

2006 Football Preview
Class AAAAA - Region 7
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Gwinnett teams took the top five spots of the 10 teams in this region last year, relegating the Fulton schools to the lower half of the region. While the Fulton squads have moved on, it's the Forsyth teams that now hope to have success against proven Gwinnett foes.

Last year's clear-cut region champion Dacula has dropped down to Class AAAA, so the Region 7-AAAAA crown could be decided between Norcross, Collins Hill, North Gwinnett and Peachtree Ridge, four teams that tied for second-place in the region last year behind Dacula.

Norcross, coming off a 7-4 season, is loaded with athletes on both sides of the ball. Brooks Cunningham (87 tackles, 11 sacks) leads the defense while quarterback Bryce Dykes is back on offense. Running back Chris Jordan is a rising star for the Blue Devils.

Collins Hill must replace prolific rusher Rock Robinson, but the Eagles should benefit from playing a mostly young lineup last fall. The defense will be good behind safety Michael Young (Gwinnett-best 12 interceptions) and defensive lineman T.J. Greenstone (105 tackles).

North Gwinnett has a new coach in Bob Sphire, who built a successful program at Lexington Catholic (Ky.), with the same pass-happy offense. Quarterback Bradd Schlosser, who put up the biggest numbers in school history the previous two years, must be replaced.

Peachtree Ridge was the odd team out in last year's playoff tiebreaker, but the 6-4 season was a major improvement after it had back-to-back one-win seasons in 2003 and 2004, its first two seasons of existence. The Lions are loaded with top Division I recruits in the senior class, including lineman Cameron Heyward (son of Craig "Ironhead" Heyward), Sidney Haynes, Phillip Davis and Zach Graham.

South Forsyth was 4-6 last year but features a big and physical team led by tight end Adam Nissley and linebacker Elliot Campbell.

North Forsyth, 8-4 last year in Class AAAA, also could make noise in the playoff chase.

Duluth, 2-8 a year ago, should be much improved with quarterback Corey Stevens and running back Alex Hunt leading the offense.

Mill Creek, after two non-region years, makes the big jump to region play this year while Forsyth Central, which limped to a 2-8 mark in AAAA in 2005, also may find the going tough in 7-AAAAA.


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