On Friday, Sept. 13, Norcross High School, ranked No. 6 in the pre-season, faced the No. 1 N. Gwinnett High team on what turned out to be an unlucky night for the Blue Devils who saw their 17-10 half time lead quickly disappear in the second half.
The Blue Devils had home field advantage in this regional match up, but it was the Bulldogs that dominated the second half winning with a final score of 36-17.
"I thought our guys showed a lot of grit," said N. Gwinnett's head coach Bob Sphire after the game. His Bulldogs got off to a shaky start racking up three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and a personal foul in the first half of the game.
It was all Norcross in the first half. With 3:39 left on the clock in the first quarter the Blue Devils scored their first touch down and extra point of the night to lead 7-0. Then early in the second quarter Norcross scored a second touch down and extra point when quarterback A.J. Bush's long pass put the Blue Devils within easy scoring range for another TD.
With 9:19 left in the second quarter, the Bulldogs finally got on the board with a long pass from quarterback Hayden Sphire to set up the team's first touchdown and extra point.
Before the first half was over North Gwinnett capitalized on a Norcross turnover intercepting a pass on the Blue Devils' 6 yard line. But the Blue Devils strong defense held the Bulldogs to a field goal.
Then Norcross had an opportunity to score again when a N. Gwinnett turnover set up a Blue Devil field goal ending the first half with Norcross leading 17-10.
The Bulldogs, down during much of the game, lead for the first time with 3:11 left in the third quarter and scored their final touchdown with 6:40 left in the game.
They kept the pressure on, adding 16 points in the second half to the scoreboard before the game clock ran out.
Next week Norcross plays an away game against Duluth and North Gwinnett hosts Meadowcreek.