Playoff preview: Lambert vs Central Gwinnett

Lambert fought hard but fell 24-6.

Colin Masterson

Lambert fought hard but fell 24-6.

After a run of region success previously unprecedented for Lambert football, the Longhorns clinched their first ever region title, and will host a playoff game for the fifth straight season when the Central Gwinnett Knights come to the Horn. Lambert enters the game with a record of 6-4 (4-1) as the top-seed from Region 5-AAAAAAA, and the Knights enter with a record of 4-6 (3-3) as the fourth-seeded team from Region 7-AAAAAAA.

This playoff game will be the first meeting between the two schools, and a victory is huge for both programs as part of their histories, but for different reasons. Central Gwinnett is trying to extend its streak of winning a playoff game to three seasons, and they are also looking to advance past the Sweet 16, which is something they have not done since 2005 when they fell in the Elite Eight against Lowndes. Lambert, on the other hand, is 0-5 in playoff games in its history; the closest the Horns have come to winning a playoff game was in 2011 when they were narrowly defeated by Clarke Central 35-32.

Heading into the game, the Longhorns have a good deal of momentum; they won their first ever region title after walloping Forsyth Central last week to the tune of 59-0. Central Gwinnett, however, is coming off a 67-43 loss to Parkview. The Longhorns and the Knights have one common opponent: Collins Hill. Lambert defeated the Eagles 26-16 on September 2nd, while Central Gwinnett edged out the Eagles 43-35 in overtime the very next Friday.

The two teams have very different identities. Throughout the season, Central Gwinnett has scored many points often through a high-powered passing attack, however the Knights have also allowed many points, resulting in their losing record that they have now. Lambert, however, has been inconsistent on a season-long basis. In the beginning of the campaign, the Longhorns scored a lot of points and gave up even more, but their defense was able to settle in during the middle of the season. Expect the two teams to score their fair share of points, but likely not a shootout.