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Early thoughts on football - Doug Gorman

With the high school football season heading into its third week, I feel a little bit like I'm in mid-season form.

Still, it's way too early to project which teams are going to be among the area powerhouses.

Right now, I have been very impressed with the Riverdale Raiders and the Mundy's Mill Tigers.

Both squads are undefeated.

Riverdale faces its biggest challenge this week when it takes on the Lovejoy Wildcats. Mundy's Mill, which plays county foe Morrow, has used a tough ground attack from running back Erroll Wynn to beat both Jonesboro and Mt. Zion.

Lovejoy and Riverdale share one thing in common. They both have played North Clayton, with Riverdale winning the game against the Eagles two weeks ago, and Lovejoy falling last week in a fourth-quarter shoot-out.

That doesn't mean Lovejoy is about to roll over against Riverdale. Lovejoy has too much talent on both sides of the football, so Friday night's crowd at Twelve Oaks Stadium may well witness another nail-biter.

North Clayton also looks to be among the area's best teams. Although the Eagles struggled to get their offense on track during the first week of the season, junior quarterback Morgan Burnett showed with his performance last week why college recruiters are already knocking on his door.

Across the county line in Henry County, Eagle's Landing comes home for just its second game of the season. In last Saturday's opener at Spencer, the Golden Eagles rolled up more than 300 yards of total offense.

Union Grove is off to a 2-0 start after beating Stockbridge. The Wolverines' offense is thriving so far this season with the return of quarterback Dustin Alley, who missed most of last season with an injury. This week, the Wolverines hit the road for a game against Newton County in Covington.

College football also heats up this weekend, and there is plenty of local talent to keep an eye on at both Georgia and Georgia Tech.

After serving as a backup to David Greene for the last four years, former North Clayton quarterback D.J. Shockley finally gets his time to start for the Bulldogs.

It's been a long wait for the former Southern Crescent Player of the Year, and it's good to see him being rewarded for his patience.

Most young men would have transferred to another program. On top of it all, Shockley is also about to earn his degree.

Down on the Flats at Georgia Tech, there are four other players to keep an eye on.

Former Jonesboro standouts Darrell Robertson and Jamal Lewis contributed to the Yellow Jackets' special teams as freshman in 2004 and should be ready to play even bigger roles for the squad this season.

Lovejoy graduate Tashard Choice, who began his college career at Oklahoma, has come home and will play a major role in the Georgia Tech backfield after being declared eligible to play right away.

Walk-on Alec Paquett, a former standout at Eagle's Landing, has been moved to the defensive side of the football at Tech. After turning down several scholarship offers, Paquett elected to walk-on with the Yellow Jackets. Before its all said and done, I expect Paquett to contribute.

It's a great time of year to be a local football fan, but after the devastation brought about by Hurricane Katrina, let's keep everything in perspective. Football is a great sport, and this is a great time of year, but when all is said and done, it's still just a game.

Doug Gorman is the sports editor of the Daily. His column runs on Thursdays. He can be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com