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Prep Zone

Atlanta high school sports news from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia high school football: No. 1 Buford, No. 2 Sandy Creek face tough openers

Buford opens its first season in AAAA by hosting Florida power Trinity Christian on Saturday at Tom Riden Stadium. The game will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. Ranked No. 1 preseason, Buford has won state championships in six of the last seven seasons and is once again loaded with next-level prospects. The Wolves have nine junior and senior Division I recruits, including six who are expected to start on defense. Trinity Christian is the defending AAA state champion in Florida and features safety Deontai Williams, a Georgia commitment, and corner Kevin Toliver II, who’s committed to LSU.

Buford coach Jess Simpson says Trinity Christian was very multiple on offense on the film he reviewed.

"I think they're going to be more spread," said Simpson. "But their head coach (Todd Lanter) is an offensive line guy. He's going to have some tight end, two-back sets in there. But I think it'll be a majority spread-type offense."

The Wolves' offense will be under the controls of a new quarterback, senior Luke Humphrey. Simpson was excited about Humphrey performed in a scrimmage last week against South Gwinnett.

"I was really excited, watching him play, watching him execute our offense," said Simpson of Humphrey. "He really did a great job. I've watched Luke since he was in middle school. He's a winner. He's a tough kid, very competitive. He was very workmanlike and poised. He had a great start."

Simpson is somewhat concerned about his team's inexperience and overall conditioning, though.

"My varsity team has played basically one half of football (in the scrimmage)," said Simpson. "All the special teams were live for one rep, and then the rest of it wasn't. I want to hope that we're in decent condition, but last Friday night at halftime, we had a realistic view of that, and I'm a little nervous."

Tough opener: No. 2 Sandy Creek opens against last year’s AAAAAA surprise in Archer at 8:30 p.m., Friday in the Corky Kell Classic at McEachern. The Patriots, who have won three state championships in the last five seasons, lost to eventual champion Griffin in the playoffs last season and finished 11-1-1. Star tailback Eric Swinney bolsters the Sandy Creek offense that will be under the controls of new quarterback Trey Walker, son of coach Chip Walker. The Patriots have not lost a regular-season game since the opener of the 2009 season. Archer went undefeated during the regular season last year, before losing to North Gwinnett in the playoffs.

Debut: New coach Ed Dudley begins his tenure at Carrollton against Kell at 9 a.m., Saturday in the Corky Kell Classic. A longtime coach at Walton, Dudley arrives at Carrollton after an extremely successful five-year tenure at Ware County. The Trojans reached the AAAA state championship game last season, losing to Griffin.

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