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Newnan and North Gwinnett to clash under the lights at Tara

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

Area high school football fans might have just thought the lights had been turned out for the year at Tara Stadium.

Not so.

At least one more high school football game will be played at the Clayton County venue Friday night when Newnan and North Gwinnett meet in the third round of the Class AAAAA playoffs.

The Georgia High School Association moved the game to Tara after it was ruled that host Newnan's on-campus stadium is not large enough to accommodate the required 6,000 spectators for the Class AAAAA game.

Both Newnan and North Gwinnett come into the quarterfinals with 11-1 records.

North Gwinnett has been one of the state's top-ranked teams all season, winning its' first nine games, before falling to Norcross earlier this year. The Bulldogs are ranked second in the most recent Class AAAAA poll.

Local football fans should be familiar with the Newnan Cougars. Newnan plays in Region 4-AAAAA and defeated both Morrow and Mundy's Mill in games earlier this year.

The Cougars have won their last 10 in a row.

North Gwinnett enters the contest with playoff victories over Marrietta and Brookwood.

Newnan has defeated Redan and Coffee County during the first two rounds of the playoffs.

North Gwinnett is coached by Bob Sphire. Sphire is in his second year as head coach of the Bulldogs. He has a record of 22-3 since taking over the reigns of the school located in Suwanee.

Norcross is coached by Robert Herring. Herring is in his ninth season as coach of the Cougars. He is 58-42 at Newnan.

This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 and a $10 admission per person will be charged, per the GHSA to get in the game.The winner of the game advances to meet the winner of the Walton-M.L. King game in the Georgia Dome.