North practice runs smoothly with uptempo pace

The backfield duo of Josh Bettistea and Kawon Bryant had the North coaches thrilled with the speed and running ability that will be at their disposal for Saturday. Head coach Rocky Hidalgo compared Bryant’s running style to his former player Tyren Jones, who is now suiting up for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Jones was named Georgia offensive player of the year his junior year at Walton.

“Bryant has some of that same shiftiness and quickness that Tyren had in tight spaces,” said Hidalgo. “He [Bryant] is going to be lot of fun to watch on Saturday.”

As for Bettistea, the Allatoona junior forced the coaching staff to move him a yard back in the backfield because he was hitting the hole so quickly. North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire was one of the North coaches that commented on how impressive Bettistea’s speed was.

“Who was that?” Sphire asked loudly after Bettistea found a crease and burst upfield at the start of practice. “That kid can fly.” From the start, Bettistea was the guy that set the pace for the rest of practice.

In the trenches, there was continuity on offense line even though it the first day these guys have lined up together. Milton’s Nick Wilson was comfortable wherever the coaches put him and won a snap-off at the end of practice for the backup center job if need-be. Mitch Hyatt was dominant on the outside and will be the key to getting the prolific runners outside and into open space.

On defense, linebacker Chris Calhoun had a great first day. Calhoun is a versatile player known more for his pass rush, but looked great in coverage. On a quarterback rollout, Calhoun leapt up and intercepted a bullet pass heading for an open crossing route. This was the best defensive play I saw all day. On the defensive line, Andrew Butcher made his presence known and was immovable during the governed action.

Mays head coach Corey Jarvis is coaching the North secondary and is confident in his group of guys. “We can run a lot of cover 1 with this group,” said Jarvis. “I’ve got some lockdown playmakers on this team.” The receivers and defensive backs participated in one-on-one drills and the defensive backs held their own and often won.


Takes from Day 1

-The North team has a distinct size advantage over the South team,

-There are a lot of teammates (players from the same school) on the North team and that could help with the little things.

-With Hampton McConnell and Daniel David at quarterback the South defensive ends will have to respect the run,

-Kawon Bryant works best when he can get outside, but has the ability to find cutback lanes,

-Josh Bettistea and South running back Taj Griffin could be the fastest players on the field on Saturday,

-Wide receiver Almonzo Brown has an extremely high Football IQ,

-Tucker receiver Nekyle Lundie is not just a deep threat. He is effective on reverses and screens,

-Special teams will be fun to watch between these two athletic and hard-hitting teams.




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