Norcross knocks off Colquitt County to advance to 7A state semifinals
Photo Credit: gwinnettprepsports.com
NORCROSS, GEORGIA— While both Colquitt County and Norcross were two of the best high school football teams in the state of Georgia, there was a lot to lose in this 7A state quarterfinal matchup. Both teams came in undefeated, and whoever were to lose would see their season come to an end. Colquitt County, led by wide receiver and Minnesota commit, Lemeke Brockington, were used to make deep runs in the playoffs, and wanted to continue their run this season. However, Norcross had a chip on their shoulder. Coming into this season unranked, the Blue Devils wanted to prove everyone wrong, shock the state of Georgia, and knock off a powerhouse when it mattered most.
The game started slow, as both defenses were taking initiative, and were forcing the offense to punt. Kaleb Jackson picked up the 1st first down of the game for Norcross late in the first quarter with a run to their own 35-yard line. After both teams punted the ball yet again, Norcross quarterback, Mason Kaplan, started a rhythm for the Blue Devils offense with a 1st down run to the Colquitt County 39-yard line. This brought the end of the first quarter, and neither team had put points on the board.
But Norcross continued their rhythm into the second quarter, as the offense converted on 4th and 6 for a first down to the Colquitt County 29-yard line. Kaplan then completed two passes to bring the Blue Devils to the Colquitt County 2-yard line. Kaplan then capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Lawson Luckie to put Norcross up 7-0 (PAT good).
But the Colquitt County defense stayed sharp, as Norcross fumbled the football on their next possession, and Ontavius Carolina recovered for Colquitt County at the Norcross 45-yard line. However, the Packers couldn’t get in the end zone before halftime, and the second quarter ended with Norcross up 7-0.
After a Colquitt County punt to start the second half, the Norcross offense found some momentum. With a first down run by Michael Porter to the Colquitt County 48-yard line, Mason Kaplan completed the biggest pass of the game to Zion Alexander for a 40-yard gain to the Colquitt County 7-yard line. However, Norcross couldn’t get in the end zone, and were forced to settle for a 20-yard field goal to go up 10-0.
The Norcross defense then made an impact, as the Blue Devils recovered a fumble at the Colquitt County 28-yard line. The Blue Devil offense took advantage, as Mason Kaplan ran 5-yards in the end zone on 1st and goal for a 5-yard touchdown (PAT good).
Colquitt County wouldn’t go away, however, as Charlie Pace ran for a 1st down on 4th and 1 to the Colquitt County 40-yard line. Colquitt County Quarterback, Dijmon Wheeler then found room to run all the way to the Norcross 18-yard line. The third quarter ended with Norcross up 17-0.
The Packers kept their momentum going into the final quarter, as Wheeler found TJ Spradley for an 17-yard catch and run for a touchdown (PAT good). After both teams punted on their next possessions, Michael Porter came up big for Norcross, as he escape tackles and ran 47 yards to the Colquitt County 23-yard line. However, Norcross couldn’t take advantage, and were forced to turn the ball over on 4th down.
Colquitt County had one last chance to shorten the lead and get back in the game. The Packers were brought to 4th and 3, three and incomplete pass, and turned the ball over to Norcross. Jahni Clark ran for two first downs for the Blue Devils, and brought Norcross to the Colquitt County 11-yard line. The Blue Devils ran the clock out, and secured the win and a trip to the state semifinals.
Norcross continues their perfect season, as they advance to 13-0 on the year. The Blue Devils will face perennial powerhouse, Grayson, in the 7A State Semifinals next week at home with a date and time to be determined. Colquitt County ends their season at 9-1, and will likely remain one of the top teams in the state of Georgia.