Talk about a nail biter!
Blue Devil fans who attended the state championship game Saturday night between Norcross and Lovejoy were sitting on the edges of their seats most of the night waiting. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that team showed it knew how to dig deep to win.
Two big touchdowns in the fourth quarter sealed the deal and Norcross fans supported them with cheering and ringing cowbells from the stands.
Coach Keith Maloof's team can, at long last, claim the title of No. 1 in the state.
The Blue Devils met Lovejoy for the finals with a 14-0 record, but the first three quarters it looked as though they may had met their match.
Norcross trailed in the third quarter 14-3 and it seemed Lovejoy had all the momentum.
Then the team scored two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take the championship winning with a final score of 21-14.
"They showed a lot of character coming back," said Jae Early whose children have graduated Norcross several years ago but works in the press box announcing the home games along with Jeff Holcombe and Bobby Lynch.
At the end of the half Norcross trailed 7-0, at the end of the third it was 14-9. It didn't look good for the Blue Devils.
"It's kind of sad," said Leigh Waldis, who had walked away to take a break from the game after seeing the Blue Devils trailing. "But it's an honor to be here and we're excited and proud of the team," said Waldis whose daughter Kate is a 9th grader on the cheerleading squad.
But Blue Devil fans didn't have to be be sad too long. The Blue Devils got on a scoring roll with two touchdown passes to take the lead which they never relinquished.
That would be all that was needed to claim the championship. Lovejoy got the ball back several times but a late turnover with just 1:33 left to play sealed the deal for the Blue Devils.
"We can finally say we're No. 1," said Steve Kennedy who lives in Norcross as he hugged his wife Deborah in celebration.
There was celebrations in the stands - and on the field - when time ran out making the Norcross Blue Devils the 2012 state champions.
"I'm proud of these guys, they eared it," said an emotional Maloof during an awards ceremony.
But Jeff Holcomb, who is the voice of the Blue Devils, had never doubted Norcross would win. "God's a Norcross fan," he said with a smile.
He must be right.
Note: Read Rob Northrup's comments below for more details on the game.