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Blue Devils Win State Championship 21-14

It's the first for Norcross High School which has been playing football since 1957.

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 earned 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.

Nancy Minor December 16, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Congratulations to our Norcross Blue Devils ! So proud of the fantastic win, and the determination and character these guys showed on the field. They never quit believing they could win, and they were right. Thanks for being another great reason for our community to be proud.
Rob Northrup December 16, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Great story! minor correction score at end of third quarter was 14-3. Norcross scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to win the game, starting with an 11 yard pass Wilber to Autry at the 7:17 mark, then a 61 yard pass Wilber to Kamara on a 3rd and 19 play with about 4 minutes to play. The last TD was an 11 yard Kamara run with about 2 minutes to play... A real nail-biter until the end. NORCROSS played and won EIGHT games (and one Live scrimmage) against the final season TOP 10 teams in AAAAAA. We were challenged by the best in Georgia and we met the challenge! Here are the Top 10 teams we played: 2. Lovejoy (13-2) – BEAT BY NORCROSS 3. North Gwinnett (11-2) – BEAT BY NORCROSS (on the road) 4. Colquitt County (10-4) – BEAT BY NORCROSS (and NORCROSS won the AUG scrimmage too) 5. Camden County (11-2) – BEAT BY NOCROSS (on the road) 8. South Gwinnett (9-3) – BEAT BY NORCROSS TWICE (home and away) 9. Parkview (9-4) – BEAT BY NORCROSS in SHUTOUT 10. Mill Creek (9-4) – BEAT BY NORCROSS (on the road) Great season Norcross Blue Devils!
Neva Spell December 16, 2012 at 09:44 PM
WHOO-RAA! CONGRATS TO NHS FOOTBALL AND COACH MALOOF. WELL DESERVED.
Judy Putnam (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Rob, thanks for the correction - and for providing the additional info on how the fourth quarter unfolded. It was an amazing night for the Blue Devils!
Colleen Walsh Fong December 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM
This was one of the most enjoyable NHS football games I've ever attended and a great kick off to the holiday season. Congratulations Blue Devils!
Lorri Christopher December 17, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Congratulations Norcross Blue Devils!! What an amazing game, and what an amazing team, band, coaches, faculty, and principal. How proud you make us all with your academic and athletic achievements! A team and game for the ages....and the #1 in the state. We do believe!

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