Loganville defense

Loganville’s defense, led by Boston College commit Neto Okpala (8), will face its toughest test yet against No. 7 ranked Parkview Friday night.

It all began at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes coaching retreat last winter.

Loganville athletics director Brad Boleman was in the midst of compiling a football schedule for the 2020 season. Everything was set except that he needed one more home game 

As he often did, he ran into former Red Devils head coach and current Parkview lead man Eric Godfree. Turns out, the Panthers were looking for a road game.

“He asked me about us playing and I just told him I didn’t think it was a good idea at the time,” said Boleman, who served as Godfree’s offensive coordinator when he was in Loganville. 

But Godfree persisted and Boleman eventually relented. As a result, the two will square off at Red Devil Field this Friday night. And if it didn’t seem like a good idea at the time, it seems even less so nearly 10 months later.

The Red Devils (1-1) are breaking in a new coaching staff while Parkview (1-1), ranked seventh in the state in Class AAAAAAA, fields one of its strongest teams in Godfree’s seven years at the Gwinnett County powerhouse. They were ranked No. 3 until losing to fourth-ranked North Gwinnett last Friday.

Leading the Panthers attack is arguably the most potent pair of running backs in the state in seniors Cody Brown and Tyler Curtis. In Parkview’s season opening win over Mountain View, the duo combined for 411 rushing yards and five touchdowns.

“I know a lot of those guys for Parkview are going to be playing on Saturdays, and years from now I think it’ll be special for our guys to be able to see them on TV and say ‘I hit that guy in the mouth one Friday night.’”

Check out the rest of this week’s high school football action.

Putnam County (2-0 overall) at Social Circle (1-2 overall)

The Redskins will face an old region rival at home Friday night 

For the past six seasons, these two have squared off with a playoff spot on the line. But during the GHSA’s reclassification, Social Circle dropped into Class A while the War Eagles remained in Class AA. As a result, the showdown is now just a tune-up before league play begins in a few weeks.

The Redskins enjoyed more success against Putnam than any other opponent during their time in 8-AA, having split the past four meetings with the War Eagles. 

Putnam appears to be on an upward trajectory under the director in third-year head coach Shaun Pope. It reached the playoffs for the first time in five years last fall and opened this season with a shocking upset of AAA Morgan County, holding the Bulldogs to a safety and won 5-2 on a field goal in overtime, followed by a 49-0 rout of Monticello last Friday.

Wesleyan (3-0 overall) at Loganville Christian (1-1 overall)

As if making the move to the Georgia High School Association weren’t tough enough, the Lions have one of the toughest schedules in the state. 

Four of their next six games will be against teams ranked among the top six in the state in the Class A private school division. The gauntlet begins Friday against fourth-ranked Wesleyan.

Heading into their 23rd season, the Wolves have suffered through just three losing seasons and have reached the playoffs 17 times, winning the Class AA state title in 2008 and reaching the Class A private school final last year.

Wesleyan fields a stingy defense led by preseason All-State players Tanner Bivins on the line and Cooper Blauser at a corner. The Panthers are allowing just 7 points a game.

David Johnson is a correspondent for The Walton Tribune.

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