FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - The Hillgrove Hawks hit the road Friday night to battle West Forsyth. Both teams are traditional power houses and both teams 1-1 heading into this big matchup.
This is the second meeting of these two GHSA Class AAAAAA teams, with their first meeting in the second round in 2011.
The Hawks lost on the road last week the North Gwinnett and are working to break a trend this season. Meanwhile, the Wolverines are looking to win their first home game this season.
Hawks Coach Phillip Ironside hasn't had a losing season in the last nine seasons and he's looking to continue to have a decade of success. Meanwhile Coach Adam Clack is in his third year of his winning Wolverines dynasty and plans to keep it that way.
Coach Clack said he is eager to take to the gridiron with his team as they haven’t seen as much action this year.
“Rain shortened game two weeks ago. Guys are itching to get back out there for sure,” said Clack.
Clack said he has a unique way to keep his guys’ heads in the game.
“It's called mindfulness. Something we started last year. Just listening to the college and pro guys with their sports psychology and things like that, I got into and we got a guy on staff who kind of is an expert in that field and it's something we do throughout the week,” said Coach Clack. “It’s not so much about meditation, but about teaching the guys how to find their focus and kind of quiet their mind a little bit so they can go out and perform without all of the clutter ever date.”
It’s the Wolverine’s Homecoming game and several previous classes were out to support them. HIGH 5 Sports spotted banners from the Class of ’08 and ’09 while previewing the game.
HIGH 5’s Bill Hartman talked with aptly named Hillgrove Head Coach Phillip Ironside about getting something going Friday night.
“You know last week we got off to a slow start and it kinda snowballed early and wide eyed kids on defense and playing a lot of sophomores and just didn't produce offensively and I think it added to it, so we like to get off to a better start,” said Coach Ironside.
The coach said he believes his quarterback has what it takes to take the team far.
“Hunter Arters is playing really well. [He] had to come in last year and Matt Wilson, who was concussed, and was a two-year starter for us. Hunter got four games under his belt, which helped a solid spring, and so we expect big things. Good leader, loves balls, and kind of a gym rat,” said Ironside.
The Game of the Week is just as much about what happens off the field as it does on the field and the Gulo Gang may just embody that. They claim to be the best student section ever, but that title was self-proclaimed. HIGH 5 camera were there as the gang took the Wolverine Walk, which is when the gang accompanies the players to the dressing rooms to get ready for the big game.
“This is the Gulo Gang. We are the best,” said Brad, a member of the student section. “We are obviously the best student section in the state. You obviously can tell at all of our games we are here at every game and you can obviously tell we were the best student section in the state.”
The students at West Forsyth do something akin to ESPN’S GameDay. It’s call the Gulo GameDay.
“Gulo is the Latin word for Wolverine,” said Brad.
One of the Gulo’s told HIGH 5’s Bill Hartman he predicts a 28-17 win for West Forsyth.
Many on Twitter thought a Wolverines win is in the future. The highly unscientific poll of hundreds had the big W in the West Forsyth column by a 3-1 margin.
Who's gonna win our Game of the Week?— High5Sports (@High5Sports) September 9, 2016
But American football isn’t the sports in which these two teams excel. HIGH 5’s Bill Hartman said that one of the things he likes about the Game of the Week is the teams vote for to have the HIGH 5 Sports team come out each week. And that is where the team learns something about the school that may not be common knowledge. Take for instance Jason Bayush, who is the soccer coach of the Wolverines team which finished second in the state championship.
“Well, we had a great year last year and we ran some tough teams and ran into some great opponents and we had great group of girls and you can see them over there in a minute, but we pulled it all together toward the end of the season and made a good run at it,” said Bayush about being runner up. “We have everybody coming back and we are excited for this year.”
“It's awesome. The school here has amazing school spirit. All of the seniors love each other and we are a big family and I'm excited this year,” said senior Brooke Pirkle, who will be heading to Arkansas to play soccer next year. “I have one of my teammates coming with me. We are so excited.”
Make sure to tune into FOX 5 News at 5 and 6 for a preview of this week's Game of the Week. Then check out Facebook.com/HIGH5Sports at 10 p.m. for live coverage and don't forget the Big Show at 11 p.m. on FOX 5 Atlanta.