ATLANTA -- Alvin Kamara
scored on a 61-yard reception and a 10-yard run as part of three-touchdown fourth quarter as Norcross (Ga.)
rallied for a 21-14 victory over Lovejoy (Ga.)
in the Georgia Class AAAAAA championship game Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
The championship is the first for Norcross and the third-consecutive for Gwinnett County, following Brookwood in 2010 and Grayson last year. The last time a team from Gwinnett or the current Region 1 did not win at least a share of the title in the highest classification was in 1995, when Quincy Carter led Southwest DeKalb to the Class AAAA title. Norcross (15-0) is ranked No. 8 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and No. 24 in the Freeman Rankings.
"It just feels awesome," Norcross coach Keith Maloof said. "I can't tell you how proud I am of how our kids fought, being down 7-0 and things not going our way in the first half. Battle, battle, and we found some things. They've got a heck of a football team. We had some problems blocking them, but we found a way."
Maloof and his father, the late George Maloof of St. Pius, become the third father-son duo to coach their teams to state championships in Georgia. Sandy Creek's Chip Walker and his father Rodney were the first, and Calhoun's Hal Lamb and his father Ray joined the select group last season.
Lovejoy led 14-3 after a 6-yard touchdown pass from Alejandro Bennefield
to Brandon Davis
with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter before the Blue Devils made their comeback.Myles Autry
, the team's leader in receptions this season, played sparingly because of a knee injury he suffered in the semifinals against Colquitt County, but he contributed in a big way midway through the fourth quarter. His 11-yard touchdown reception from Joseph Wilber
with 7:17 to play cut the lead to 14-9 and gave Norcross a spark.
Lovejoy was forced to punt on its next possession, and Norcross took over at its 38-yard line with 5:28 to play. On the fourth play, Wilber found Kamara down the left sideline for the 61-yard touchdown. The Blue Devils' 2-point conversion attempt failed, but Norcross had the lead at 15-14 with 4:26 left.
Lovejoy turned it over on downs at its 31 on its next drive, and Kamara scored on the 10-yard run six plays later to make it 21-15 with 1:33 remaining. Lovejoy's last-gasp drive ended at the Norcross 20 when Bennifield was intercepted by Jaquan Frazier
The game was billed as a showdown between two of the state's top running backs – Kamara and Lovejoy's Travis Custis
, who both entered the game with more than 2,000 yards rushing – but both were held relatively in check, at least until Kamara took over in the fourth quarter.
Kamara finished with 119 yards rushing on 33 carries and had only one run of more than 10 yards. He also had three receptions for 67 yards and completed a pass for 34 yards.
Custis, who has committed to Georgia Tech, had 60 yards on 20 carries for the game and 11 carries for 4 yards in the second half.
Lovejoy – 0-7-7-0 – 14
Norcross – 0-0-3-18– 21
L – Jumichael Ramos
60 pass from Alejandro Bennifield (Jaime Nunez kick)
N – Joseph Mahfood
31 field goal
L – Brandon Davis
6 pass from Bennifield (Nunez kick)
N – Myles Autry 11 pass from Joseph Wilber
N – Alvin Kamara 61 pass from Wilber (run failed)
N – Kamara 10 run (kick failed)Class AAAA: Sandy Creek 45, Ridgeland 10Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.)
became the 14th school in Georgia history to win three state championships in four seasons when it beat Ridgeland (Rossville, Ga.)
45-10 in the Class AAAA final at the Georgia Dome.
The top-ranked Fighting Patriots (15-0) broke the game open with 17 points in the final 4:34 of the first half, but they dominated throughout and finished with a 473-272 advantage in total offense.
and Delvin Weems
ran for two touchdowns each, Cole Garvin
and Trey Walker
threw TD passes and Mitchell McMillin
kicked a 35-yard field goal for Sandy Creek, which is 56-2 during its four-year run.
Weems finished with 10 carries for 96 yards and scored on runs of 30 and 11 yards. Swinney rushed for 65 yards on 10 carries with touchdowns of 1 and 6 yards. Garvin, the starting quarterback, was 13-for-18 passing for 249 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown to Kyle Wilson
Ridgeland running back Darrell Bridges, who came into the game with 2,301 yards rushing, had 99 yards on 25 carries and threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Vonn Bell
with 2:52 remaining. Second-ranked Ridgeland finished 13-2.
Sandy Creek – 7-24-7-7 – 45
Ridgeland – 0-0-0-10 – 10
S – Eric Swinney 6 run (Mitchell McMillin kick)
S – Delvin Weems 30 run (McMillin kick)
S – McMillin 35 field goal
S – Weems 11 run (McMillin kick)
S – Swinney 1 run (McMillin kick)
S – Kyle Wilson 37 pass from Cole Garvin (McMillin kick)
R – Evan Courtney 29 field goal
S – Justin Sumpter 21 pass from Trey Walker (McMillin)
R – Vonn Bell 38 pass from Darrell Bridges (Courtney kick)
Class AA: Jefferson 31, Calhoun 14
Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs
ran for three touchdowns and had 310 yards of total offense as Jefferson (Ga.)
won the first state title in school history with a 31-14 victory over Calhoun in the Georgia Class AA championship game Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
Shirreffs completed 12 of 18 passes for 171 yards and rushed 24 times for 139 yards. His touchdown runs of 1 and 2 yards in the second quarter gave the Dragons the lead for good at 21-7. Second-ranked Jefferson (14-1) also got a 1-yard touchdown run and 85 yards rushing from Tristen Jackson
and a 35-yard field goal from Chandler Schlutow
It was the second state title for Jefferson coach Tom "T" McFerrin, who also led Elbert County to a title in 1995. McFerrin ranks fourth among Georgia coaches in victories with 340 in a career that began in 1968.
, who has committed to South Alabama, was 26 of 37 passing for 279 yards for top-ranked Calhoun (14-1), which had its 29-game winning streak snapped. Lamb threw touchdown passes of 17 yards to Logan Walraven
and 75 yards to Tydus Curtis
Calhoun was making its fifth-consecutive appearance in a state championship game but won just one title during that stretch, beating Buford 27-24 in overtime last year.
Jefferson – 7-14-7-3 – 31
Calhoun – 7-0-7-0 – 14
J – Tristen Jackson 1 run (Chandler Schlutow kick)
C – Logan Walraven 17 pass from Taylor Lamb (Jonah Gallman kick)
J – Bryant Shirreffs 2 run (Schlutow kick)
J – Shirreffs 1 run (Schlutow kick)
C – Tydus Curtis 75 pass from Taylor Lamb (Gallman kick)
J – Schlutow 35 field goalClass A (public schools): Emanuel County Institute 47, Dooly County 7
Senior running backs Greg Percell
and James Brown
combined for 330 yards of offense and five touchdowns to lead Emanuel County Institute (Twin City, Ga.)
to a 47-7 victory over Dooly County in the Georgia Class A public school championship Saturday in the Georgia Dome.
The victory gave top-ranked ECI (13-1) its second state title in six years.
Purcell rushed for 142 yards on 25 carries and scored on runs of 1, 50 and 6 yards. Purcell scored on a 26-yard run and finished with 135 yards on 14 carries. He also scored on a 53-yard reception, on which he made a one-handed catch just beyond the line of scrimmage and ran the final 46 yards, and set up ECI's first touchdown with a 48-yard interception return.
Sophomore Chanin Hamilton
scored the only touchdown for No. 7 Dooly County (Vienna, Ga.)
(11-3) on a 19-yard run early in the second quarter. He finished with 85 yards rushing on 21 carries. Dooly's Montravius Adams
, considered one of the nation's top defensive line prospects, played sparingly after injuring his knee late in the second quarter.
Dooly County – 0-7-0-0 – 7
Emanuel County Institute – 14-6-20-7 – 47
E – Greg Purcell 1 run (Caleb Pressey kick)
E – Purcell 50 run (Pressey kick)
D – Chanin Hamilton 19 run (Diego Cruz kick)
E – James Brown 26 run (pass failed)
E – Pressey 3 run (Renaldo Williams run)
E – Brown 53 pass from Pressey (run failed)
E – Purcell 6 run (kick failed)
E – Williams 2 run (Pressey kick)