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EXTRA POINTS: What did Pinecrest Academy's win against a Class AAAAA team mean?
PA GVarghese 090215 web
Pinecrest Academy running back Greg Varghese rumbles through the line of scrimmage for a short gain. The Paladins defeated Class AAAAAs North Springs for the second straight season. - photo by Bill Brown

Litmus test games consistent with past

In Week 1, Lambert took a shot at Lanier for the second year in a row and fell, sluggishly, in a 17-7 defeat. This past Friday, West Forsyth took Mill Creek into the locker room at a respectable score of 20-13 before giving out in the second half, eventually falling 51-13.

If one is to argue that Lambert and West are the flagship football programs in the county—as we projected in the preseason—there’s still no avoiding the fact that Forsyth County schools just haven’t been able to keep pace with their Gwinnett counterparts.

Since 2010, Lambert and West are a combined 1-9 against Gwinnett schools, with many of those losses coming in the playoffs for the Wolverines. In West’s last three playoff appearances, a Gwinnett school took them out: Grayson won 33-7 in the 2011 quarterfinals, Parkview chipped them out 26-23 in the second round of 2012 and Dacula squeaked out a winner, 36-31, in the opening round of 2013.

West also fell 65-27 to Mill Creek last season, while Lambert has been outscored 79-37 in games against Gwinnett schools in its history, which began in 2009. Lanier defeated Lambert 27-14 last season, while Brookwood edged the Longhorns 36-16 the year prior.

The lone Gwinnett win between the two schools was a 66-41 win by West Forsyth in the first round of the 2012 playoffs against Collins Hill.

Lanier and Mill Creek are comparable to West and Lambert in terms of youth: Lanier opened in 2010, while Mill Creek opened in 2004.

The Forsyth schools had their chance to grab signature victories over the football county of the state, but it looks like they’ll just have to wait until next year. For now, both teams have nine-consecutive region games to close out the season, and continuing to take down Fulton schools isn’t a bad stepping stone.

Was Pinecrest’s win impressive? It’s hard to tell

If somebody poked your shoulder in the checkout line on Saturday and said, “Hey, did you hear that Class A private school with less than 50 players went on the road and beat a Class AAAAA school from Fulton County 42-15,” wouldn’t your jaw drop?

For the Pinecrest community and for anyone who’s actually seen a North Springs team play, the Paladins’ season-opening victory Friday night wasn’t shocking. There are football programs out there that just can’t seem to build, even at high enrollment schools. North Springs hasn’t had a winning season since 1998, and has won just eight games in the last 10 years.

Still, you would think playing a Class A team would be a ripe opportunity for them to find some footing. That wasn’t the case. To give credit where credit is due, you’ll see Pinecrest still earned one top-10 vote in the Georgia Sports Writers Association poll, released Tuesday.

North could be a region darkhorse

A year healthier, a year more experienced and a few new wrinkles on offense turned North into the talk of the town Friday night even though the Raiders lost their season opener at home against Cherokee. Why? Well, Cherokee is measurably good—the Warriors won seven games last season under head coach Josh Shaw, returned violent-runner Brittain Brown at tailback and seemingly have the system to make any quarterback wildly successful. Still, after losing 42-14 to Cherokee last season, the Raiders held their own this time around in a 33-24 loss.

When walking through the team tunnel to grab postgame interviews, a player in the crowd exclaimed, “We can actually throw the ball!” Senior quarterback Jacob Bailey completed 8 of 10 passes in the game, including two touchdown strikes to Simon Holcomb, and Cody Dwyer threw a few passes of his own on some trick plays. Dwyer looks like a real weapon, along with Holcomb, on offense, and there’s still no denying that North has plenty of big bodies on the offensive and defensive lines.

According to coach speak, a loss is a loss, but after going 1-9 a year ago, you could see it in the faces of North’s players when the game ended Friday night. They had an ah-hah moment. They believe they’re a good football team. If the rest of the region doesn’t, they could sneak their way up the county ranks.