Among the many key matchups this week, none may be more special, important, or historic than the game between the Central Gwinnett Black Knights and the South Gwinnett Comets.
Not only is this the oldest football rivalry in Gwinnett County, but it’s the season opener for two 8-AAAAAA teams looking to get their first win in a very competitive region.
Central Gwinnett Head Coach Todd Wofford and South Gwinnett Head Coach John Small both agree that this game is so special because the teams run very similar spread offenses, it means so much to the community, and even if you lose all the games…you have to win this one!
In last week’s win over Mundy’s Mill, WR Major Bellamy went for eight receptions for 195 yards and two touchdowns. He will be key to Central Gwinnett defeating its crosstown rival.
Coach Wofford said of Bellamy, “Major is a fun kid to coach. He has tremendous speed and instincts and a drive lots of kids don’t have. He’s versatile and can also return kicks, run, and even play Corner if he wanted to.”
And, as for the team overall- Wofford says this is, by far, the best team he’s had since he’s been at Central Gwinnett. Not only do they have more depth, he said they’re mentally faster. And, he saw this back in the spring when the squad first came together and began taking personal ownership about getting better.
South Gwinnett’s running game was dominant against Mundy’s Mill last week. Wofford understands and said his defense “will have to play fast and physical, which they’ve done a good job of this year. They have a totally different mentality than they’ve had in the last few years’. And, having leadership like that of University of Florida commit Adonis Thomas, the coach is confident the team can get rare back-to-back wins against the Comets.
And, just as Coach Wofford knows that to beat any team two years in a row in Region 8-AAAAAA is an accomplishment, Coach Small says the Comets have had this game marked for the last year and are especially looking forward to getting its first win this season against the Black Knights.
Small is going into his 10th season with South Gwinnett, and says this is one of his youngest but most talented teams. So he knows they have to not just get out to a fast start, but also have to stop “the playmaker” (Bellamy) and learn to finish games (after holding Collins Hill scoreless in the first half of last week’s game and then allowing 21 unanswered points in the second half).
Coach Small also said he knows “we have to be more consistent upfront and in the backfield. Right now, we’re rotating Backs to figure out who’s going to be the guy. We have new starters on the O-Line, and know it takes a few games to gel with a new group”.
But, Small says the team is always focused on the next play, every single play. They win the play, then go to the next one. With this philosophy, Coach Small also hopes to win the play, then ultimately win the game.
Gametime for “The Battle of Gwinnett” is set for Friday night at 7:30pm at South Gwinnett High School.