As the high school football scrimmages pick up, Lowndes and Norcross got in on the action Saturday night in Norcross, GA.
Norcross, the two-time defending state champs in the highest classification, lost 60-odd seniors from last season’s state title team. For the first time were able to see who would be stepping in the massive shoes left by the seniors.
Lowndes, a second-round playoff team last season, is looking to return to its championship glory behind it’s vaunted wing-t, ball control offense which features a pair of juniors battling for the No. 1 quarterback spot.
When the dust settled after the three-quarter varsity scrimmage it was the Lowndes Vikings coming out on top 24-20.
After each team punted on their first two possessions, Norcross scored on their third possession for a 7-0 lead with 2:07 remaining in the opening quarter. Griffin Barker hit Jared Simpkins for an 11-yard touchdown capping the 9-play 78-yard drive.
The Blue Devils struck again in the second quarter when Jarrett Cole recovered a Joc Alexander fumble on a 52-yard punt by Norcross’ Blake Bingham in the end zone for a touchdown. Bingham added the extra point for a 14-0 Norcross lead with 10:02 left in the second quarter.
After another Lowndes punt, Norcross fumbled two plays later at their own 41. On the next play Austin Dixon hooked up with Xavier Jenkins for a 41-yard touchdown making it 14-7 with 6:21 left. Jenkins caught the pass despite drawing a pass interference penalty. That play shot life into the Vikings offense the remainder of the half.
Following a Norcross punt, quarterback LaXavier Patterson raced 50 yards off read option for a touchdown to even the score at 14 with 4:56 left in the half.
Norcross’ offense would continue to struggle going three-and-out. Lowndes promptly went back to work. Dezmon Copeland broke off a 33-yard rush to start the drive. Ahmad Sneed finished off the 6-play 57-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to give Lowndes its first lead of the game with 1:17 remaining in the second quarter. The Vikings would never trail again.
Norcross would force Lowndes to punt on its first possession of the third quarter. On the next play Jared Pinkney caught a 50 yard a touchdown pass however the extra point was no good and Lowndes led 21-20. Nick Hart added a 26-yard field goal with five minutes remaining for the 24-20 lead. Norcross would have two more opportunities but were unable to score after a punt and a turnover on downs.
Lowndes racked up 347 yards of total offense to Norcross’ 231. Copeland led all rushers with 11 carries 87 yards. Dixon and Patterson rotated possessions the entire scrimmage and combined to pass for 104 yards on 6-of-7 and a touchdown. Patterson was 3-of-3 51 yards passing and rushed seven times for 43 yards and a touchdown. Dixon was 3-of-4 for 53 yards. Brian Bell, Herschel Brookins and Alex Brown each finished with 5 tackles.
Barker and Gassert also rotated possessions for Norcross. Barker finished 10-of-21 151 yards and a touchdown. Simpkins was the leading receiver in the game with 8 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. Chris Allen registered 10 total tackles for the Blue Devils.
In the JV portion of the scrimmage, a 12 minute quarter, Lowndes defeated Norcross 20-0.
Lowndes will open the regular season August 22nd when they host Roswell. Norcross will open against Tucker on August 23rd in the Corky Kell Classic at McEachern high school.