The Norcross Blue Devils opened their defense of the 2012 Georgia 6A title with a disgraceful 55-0 loss on national TV at the hands of the nations No.1 team Booker T. Washington (FL). Booker T. Washington is still ranked No.1 and are undefeated through a nationally laden schedule with Florida powers included. The Tornadoes are playing in the 4A Flordia state Finals (Florida has 8 Classes) and are in the driver’s seat for the “National Title”.
Norcross suffered their second loss in three games to the North Gwinnett Bulldogs 36-17 after leading at halftime. Since the 1-2 start Norcross has ripped off 11 consecutive wins. The Blue Devils get their shot at North Gwinnett and redeeming their national respect again in the Georgia 6A state finals. Georgia has 15 teams that have seen the national ranked at some point this season and will have at least ten finish nationally ranked due to the overall strength of Georgia. Norcross is adding to that strength despite taking one of the worst losses in Georgia vs Out-Of-State games in recent years (since 2007) and are making their second consecutive trip to the finals in the Georgia finals. Previously Norcross has never advanced beyond the quarterfinals prior to last year in the schools history.
Norcross defeated Colquitt County 14-9 in the semifinals to advance. Colquitt County is the first team to reach the semifinals five consecutive years Georgia history in the highest classification yet are 1-4 in those games. Norcross’ Myles Autry had been quiet most of the season coming off a knee injury sustained in the playoffs last season. Trailing 9-7 Autry took a screen pass, darted then juked free to the end zone for what would wind up being the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was Autry’s second touchdown of the season. Norcross led 14-9 after Autry’s heroics and held on for the win. Jordan “Speedy” Noil intercepted a pass and returned it 44 yards to seal Norcross’ victory in the final moments.
Colquitt County led 6-0 after a pair of Jose Vega field goals. Colquitt would lead at the half after Vega hit another field goal answering a James Keeling one-yard touchdown for Norcross. Norcross’ quarterback A.J. Bush set up the score with a 52-yard run. Colquitt held their 9-7 lead into the fourth quarter with 10:18 remaining when play was suspend due to lightning.
Other games west of Norcross had been suspended earlier as storm cells entered Georgia from the northwest and moved east. After the delay Autry entered his own form of lightning to carry Norcross to the state finals.
North Gwinnett turned the ball over three times in the first half yet took a 14-7 lead to the locker room at halftime. The Bulldogs and the Indians would experience an almost 90-minute halftime as the game was suspended during halftime due to lightning.
McEachern turned an early turnover from North Gwinnett into points when senior starting quarterback Ty Clemons hit T.J. Rahming on a 26-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead 19 seconds into the game. North Gwinnett answered right back with a C.J. Leggett 3-yard touchdown run to even the score at 7. Leggett rushed for nearly 300 yards in the game and has nearly 800 yards rushing with nine touchdowns in the postseason.
After the lengthy halftime, McEachern knotted the score at 14 on a Bailey Hockman touchdown pass to Trey Scott from 38 yards out. C.J. Leggett raced in from 50+ yards for another touchdown giving the road-weary but road-warrior Bulldogs a 21-14 lead. Michael D’Angola would add two more field goals, he missed early in the fourth quarter, for a 27-14 with under four minutes remaining. McEachern quickly put together a 4-play 60-odd yard drive to pull within six at 27-21. McEachern capped the drive on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hockman to Artise Clark for the final margin as the point off D’Angola’s leg proved to be enough. It was the second game D’Angila has won with his leg as North Gwinnett skated by Archer 34-32 on an A’Angola field goal in the closing moments.
More information to come.
North Gwinnett became the first team to win four road playoff games to advance to the state finals nd are in the finals for the first time since 2007 (all under Head Coach Bob Sphire). Charlton County is in 1A Public won three road games to advance to the state finals. 1A Public plays one less round that 6A in Georgia.