Think of it as Christmas in August. What could be any better?
Class AAAA No. 1-state ranked Griffin tees its up 5:30 p.m., at North DeKalb Stadium against Class AAA No. 8-ranked Dunwoody. Closer to the house, the head coach Clint Ashmore era begins when Spalding launches its new high-flying offensive attack beginning 7:30 p.m., at Memorial Stadium against Lamar County. Across town, in GISA action, Griffin Christian hosts Fullington Academy in the season opener for both schools.
It just doesn’t get any better.
Without further delay, this week’s picks:
n Griffin (9-2 in 2007) at Dunwoody (8-2): The Last time these two teams played, the Wildcats beat Griffin 16-14. Of course that was 1995. Think of this as payback - 13 years later
The Bears, coming off a 25-21 preseason win at Class AAA No. 7-ranked Marist last week, gained a No. 1-state ranking in a preseason poll earlier this week for the first time since 2006. What better way to celebrate than with a sound victory tonight- Griffin 35-14.
n Lamar County (1-9) at Spalding (5-5): The last time this two teams met was in the 2003 season opener. An injured SHS fullback, by the name of Mario Gilbert, ran for a school-record six touchdowns as Spalding avenged a 21-17 loss the year before with a 47-15 win on the way to an appearance in the Class AAA state semifinals and a school-record 12 wins.
A lot has changed since then.
Spalding’s best seasons since were a pair of 5-5 finishes the past two years, while Lamar - which finished 5-5 that season in 2003 - has had one winning season since when it finished 6-4 in 2006.
Both teams have new head coaches this season - Ashmore, via Jackson High, at Spalding High and Jason Strickland, via Charlton County, at Lamar County. Both teams have also installed new and exciting offenses, a spread attack led by freshman quarterback Casey Moody in the case of Spalding and a spread-option attack led by junior Michael Bloodser in the case of Lamar County.
However, both teams are still trying to find themselves on defense. Expect a high-scoring affair. Spalding will prevail tonight because it has a few more weapons on offense- Jags 35-24.
n Fullington Academy (1-9) at Griffin Christian (1-10): Both teams are coached by head coaches in their third season at the held in their respective school, Kerry Phillips in the case of Griffin Christian and Ken Fowler in the case of Fullington.
Both teams also salvaged their only win a year ago in the regular season finale, 14-0 against winless Crisp County in the case of Fullington and 49-0 against winless Young Americans Christian in the case of Griffin Christian.
All things being equal, you have to like the home team in this one- Crusaders 24-21.
Faith Christian, which opened the season last week with a 52-40 loss at Grace Baptist Christian Academy, had its home opener Thursday cancelled when Dawson Street Christian backed out of a game 48 hours before kickoff.
The FCA Lions go after win No. 1 in school history Sept. 5 at Praise Academy.
Sullivan is the sports editor at the Griffin Daily News.