On Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans will plop down in front of the TV to watch football (there are three Turkey Day NFL games).
On Friday, our favorite sons from nine Gwinnett County schools will add to the football smorgasboard with their own seasonings in the second round of the playoffs.
Here's a look at the spread (Games scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.):
THE MAIN COURSE
North Gwinnett at Grayson
Savor the aroma of this game between two state-ranked teams playing in what has to be considered the best matchup in Class AAAAAA this week. Grayson, the defending large-school state champion, is ranked No. 3 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; North Gwinnett is No. 4. Both teams are 10-1, and have won eight straight games.
This game will satisfy all football appetites.
Grayson favors making mincemeat out of opponents with a run-the-ball-right-at-you offense and a we-dare-you-to-do-that defense. The Rams have shut out four opponent and held three other teams under 10 points, including last week's 49-9 win over Wheeler. Wayne Gallman scored three TDs as the Rams gained 400 yards on the ground.
North Gwinnett spreads it out and isn't afraid to let it fly. The Bulldogs scored on six touchdown passes last week in a 49-19 win over Johns Creek in the first round. QB Michael Haynes completed 17 of 19 passes for 248 yards.
Next Up: The winner advances to play Marietta/Lovejoy winner.
Brookwood at Mill Creek and South Gwinnett at Norcross
Leave room on your plate for extra helpings of these two rematch games between Class AAAAAA teams that played each other during the regular season. Brookwood beat Mill Creek 31-21 at home in Week 2, and Norcross beat South Gwinnett 35-20 in its season opener at Snellville.
With some playoff zest, these games could be even tastier this time.
Brookwood (7-4) beat No. 1 Lassiter 24-21 in OT last week, while Mill Creek (8-3) used Bryson King's 25-yard field goal to beat Alpharetta 41-39. Watch out for Mill Creek running back Jacorey Lewis, who rushed for more than 300 yards and scored five TDs last week. Brookwood, the 2010 large-school champ, has a way of getting its fill in the playoffs. The Broncos have reached the playoffs the past 11 years, and have reached the semifinals or better seven times since beginning football in 1982.
Undefeated Norcross (11-0) has been at the head of the football table in Gwinnett County in 2012. The Blue Devils, who beat Chattahoochee 34-7 last week, are ranked No. 2 and offer up a cornucopia of football prowess, from their productively balanced offense (including blue-chip RB Alvin Kamara), to their big-play defense. No. 10 South Gwinnett (9-2), 27-20 winners over Milton last week, was the surprise of Region 8-AAAAAA, but the Comets are hardly newcomers to the playoff buffet. With QB Jordan Ramey often the best athlete on the field, South tests defenses with its wide-open offensive attack.
Next Up: Brookwood/Mill Creek winner plays North Cobb/Hughes winner; Norcross/South winner plays East Coweta/Camden County winner.
Parkview at West Forsyth
Here's a new dish for Thanksgiving. Parkview (8-3), which has a playoff pedigree few schools can match in Georgia, plays a West Forsyth team (10-1) that is in only fifth varsity season. The teams have never faced each other before, unless you count a scrimmage game played before the 2011 season (won by Parkview 26-17). Parkview has withstood several key injuries to reach the playoffs and win (20-17 over Walton) for the first time in the postseason since 2005. Even with starting RB Chris Carson out for the season, the Panthers have made due. Last week, the hard running of Justis Rosser and Shaq Vereen paved the way to victory.
West Forsyth beat Collins Hill 66-41 last week, the third game in which the Wolverines have score more than 60. West Forsyth averages 42 points per game; Parkview allows 13. Not hard to see where the key to this Class AAAAAA game will be.
OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS
Greater Atlanta Christian at Heard County
Greater Atlanta Christian isn't headed for "Grandmother's house," and a quick Mapquest search will get the Spartans all the way to Franklin, where this Class AA second-round game is being played. But, at around 80 miles away from Norcross, it's the longest Thanksgiving trip for any Gwinnett team. GAC is 8-3 and ranked No. 9 in Class AA; Heard County is 11-0 and ranked No. 6. The Spartans had an easy time with a 35-6 win over Model in the first round, behind QB Rafe Chapple's three TD passes and one TD run. But Heard County will play a different tune; the Braves gained more than 500 yards in last week's 56-29 win over Rabun County.
Next Up: The winner plays the Early County/Screven County winner.
A TRADITIONAL DISH
Buford at North Oconee
What's a football spread without eight-time state champion Buford? The Wolves have reached the second round or better 14 straight seasons, which means they've played a lot of Thanksgiving-weekend games. Like your favorite dish — it's there every year and always tastes great — Buford has won its last 12 second-round games, according to Georgia High School Football Historians Assocation data. Third-ranked (Class AAA) Buford enters the game 8-3 (includes two forfeits) after last week's 41-27 win over Cedar Grove. North Oconee, which beat Ringgold 37-14 last week, is 10-1 and ranked eighth.
Sources: Patch stories, the Gwinnett Daily Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia High School Football Historian Assocation, Georgia High School Association and the Georgia High School Football Daily archive.
- Second round on TV: PlayOn Sports and the Georgia High School Association has more than 30 games scheduled to be streamed online Friday, including four Gwinnett games. Grayson vs. North Gwinnett will be shown by WSB-TV. South Gwinnett vs. Norcross will be shown by GPB.
- Get brackets: GHSA brackets by classification.