Lovejoy 63, North Cobb 42

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

It’s been a somewhat dismal season for Georgia Tech. But fear not, Yellow Jacket fans. Travis Custis is on the way.

The Lovejoy senior was is in full, unrestricted, unadulterated beast mode in Friday night’s semifinal against North Cobb. Custis carried the ball 28 times for 292 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Wildcats (13-1) to a 63-42 win over the Warriors (11-3). It will be the second trip to the finals in as many years for Lovejoy, which fell to Tucker in last season’s AAAA championship game, 22-7.

At the outset, it looked like North Cobb was primed to pull an upset as the Warriors took advantage of Lovejoy turnovers, penalties, and mistakes and built a 21-7 lead early in the second quarter. North Cobb broke a 7-7 tie with two unanswered scores – a 6-yard run by sophomore quarterback Tyler Queen, and a 21-yard run by junior J’Vonte Herrod, following a short punt by Lovejoy.

But Lovejoy responded with a 28-0 run that put on display its full arsenal of talent. First, the Wildcats went on a four-play, 80-yard drive that was all Custis. After gains of 7 and 10 yards moved the ball to the Lovejoy 37-yard line, Custis bulled his way through the line of scrimmage, then trampled the safety near midfield and sprinted the rest of the way for a 63-yard touchdown that pulled the Wildcats to within 21-14.

After a 59-yard punt by Queen pinned Lovejoy at its 19-yard line to start its next possession, Wildcat quarterback Alejandro Bennefield went to work. The senior led a six-play march to the endzone, completing 3-of-3 passes on the drive, including the final one – a 24-yard dart over the middle to Jumichael Ramos for the touchdown that tied the score at 21, late in the second quarter.

Then Lovejoy’s defense gave the Wildcats the lead for good. With North Cobb trying to get into field goal range in the final seconds of the half, Queen was picked off by cornerback Brandon Davis, who dipped and dodged his way 80-yards to put Lovejoy on top 28-21, just 24 seconds before halftime.

Lovejoy’s second pick-six of the night came on North Cobb’s first drive of the second half, as Queen was flushed to his right, then back to his left before he uncorked an errant pass over the middle that was grabbed by Custis’ cousin, sophomore Montrell Custis, who sprinted down the near sideline for a 50-yard touchdown return to make the score 35-21, Lovejoy.

But North Cobb didn’t go quietly. The Warriors responded immediately as Nick Miller returned the kickoff 65 yards to the Lovejoy 25 yard line. Two plays later, he took advantage of a busted coverage and Queen found him all alone for a 26-yard touchdown to narrow the gap back to seven points, 35-28.

But Lovejoy stepped on the gas again, scoring 21 unanswered points – 14 by Travis Custis – to put the game away for good. The first score came on a 40-yard touchdown pass from Bennefield to Davis, who snuck behind the North Cobb defense to make the catch, then shook the safety before stumbling his way into the endzone.

Custis scored on a 28-yard run to push the lead to 49-28 near the end of the third quarter. Then, following the fourth interception on the night by the Wildcat defense, this one by safety Tyrell Brown, Custis scored his most artistic touchdown of the night. He barreled up the middle, broke two tackles, darted to his left, sprinted up the sideline, launched himself at the 5-yard line and soared into the end zone, sending the Lovejoy faithful into a frenzy – and probably Georgia Tech fans as well – to make the score 56-28 early in the fourth quarter.

North Cobb         14 7 7 14 42

Lovejoy                7 21 21 14 63

N – Xavier Borishade 31 pass from Tyler Queen (AJ Borduin kick)

L – Travis Custis 4 run (Jaime Nunez kick)

N – Queen 6 run (Borduin kick)

N – J’Vonte Herrod 21 run (Borduin kick)

L – Travis Custis 63 run (Nunez kick)

L – Jumichael Ramos 24 pass from Alejandro Bennefield (Nunez kick)

L – Brandon Davis 80 interception return (Nunez kick)

L – Montrell Custis 50 interception return (Nunez kick)

N – Nick Miller 26 pass from Queen (Borduin kick)

L – Davis 40 pass from Bennefield (Nunez kick)

L – Travis Custis 28 run (Nunez kick)

L – Travis Custis 24 run (Nunez kick)

N – Herrod 8 run (Borduin kick)

L – Travis Custis 23 run (Nunez)

N – Borishade 82 kickoff return (Borduin kick)

32 comments Add your comment

Clayco

December 7th, 2012
11:21 pm

Going back to the dome!!!! CONGRATULATIONS LOVEJOY WILDCATS!!!!!!!

Warrior Fan for life

December 7th, 2012
11:23 pm

It was a dismal game. Custis is a beast. GA Tech will be lucky to have him. Maybe it will help them win more games. We are still proud of our Warriors for still fighting through the entire game even though the defense was tired from being on the field the whole game…Good luck Lovejoy, I would like to see someone other than a S GA team or Gwinnett team win the title game

Casual_Observer

December 7th, 2012
11:48 pm

Went to this game tonight as an outside observer, not a fan of either team. Even wore my Griffin Bears hat as proof. Sat on the visitors side, and I tell ya, those North Cobb folks know how to BRING IT. I really think their fans had the Lovejoy team rattled up untill about half way thru the second quarter. North Cobb was leading this game 21-7, riding a wave of emotion that was flowing from the stands.The Lovejoy fans seemed shell-shocked by the war cry’s and tomahawk chants which emanated from the North Cobb faithful. Then – quick as a lightning bolt, the NC quarterback made an ill-advised pass deep in Lovejoy territory. The wildcats defensive back made a clean pick 6 and the spell was broken. At that point, Lovejoy started making SMOKE SIGNALS with the constant blasting of Custis, Custis, Custis, coupled with an all out air assault to those crafty Wildcat receivers That usually spells DOOM for opposing teams, or so I have witnessed in the three playoff games I have attended at twelve oaks this year. Good luck Norcross, you are going to need it against those Battle tested beasts……..the Lovejoy Wildcats.

Rush

December 8th, 2012
12:00 am

Was at the game. Lovejoy fan, but like North Cobb. Met some nice NC fans, even talked to their former coach.

One of the most entertaining games I have ever seen. There were so many big plays my mind is a blur.

And I would have never guessed that many points would have been scored. I believe it’s the most points scored I’ve ever seen live and I’ve been going to games for 3 decades.

Congratulations Lovejoy on the big win. What a monster game against an outstanding Norcross team next week.

This is going to be good.

HSFB Follower

December 8th, 2012
12:25 am

Lovejoy has been seeking respect although very quietly. Tonight they earned more of my respect by taking a few shots early and then bouncing back with force. Thew defense gave up more points that they have all season but made the plays that needed to be made to swing the momentum. This is scary football team if I’ve ever seen one before. Them and Norcross will be an action packed pound for pound heavyweight fight!

Lovejoy#1

December 8th, 2012
1:21 am

First I would like to thank the warriors for a great game. That sophomore quarter back is nice. Your fans are awsome. Thank you for not disrespecting our kids. Unlike north Gwinnett did. You are always welcome to come down. He’ll let do lunch sometimes.

Lovejoy#1

December 8th, 2012
1:23 am

North Cobb a very classy school.

Abu Dhabi

December 8th, 2012
2:34 am

Congratulations Lovejoy, it was a really good game. I will be pulling for you next week. Who the flippity flip is Cuspid? I want his autograph.

Abu Dhabi

December 8th, 2012
2:35 am

Sorry, CUSTIS is his name. Number 22. Much respect.

Dr. Boykins

December 8th, 2012
6:40 am

To Coach Hughes, we have been there with you through the thick and thin and we have enjoyed the ride. I couldn’t be at the game, but watched it on TV in New York. Your team of coaches is equally as exciting as the players that you put on the field. You have been the model for Clayton County and we hope that they will one day realize how valuable you are. The team has added a lot of honor to Clayton when the academics are crying for help. I will be watching as you lead this State Championship Team onto the field. I am so happy for you. G.A.T.A

BrunoBars

December 8th, 2012
8:11 am

Congrats to the Warriors and Warrior Nation for repping North Cobb with pride and class. Wasn’t at game but I appreciate the words from the Lovejoy fans. Lovejoy has a heck of a team with a grown man at running back and a jitterbug defensive back. Very good team. I am rooting for Lovejoy to finish the drill. Great game. Keep your head up TQ 2 more years to go.

Buzzfan®

December 8th, 2012
8:45 am

VERY much looking forward to seeing both Custis and Ramos next year on The Flats! Lovejoy-Norcross is going to be a good one!

Impressed

December 8th, 2012
8:56 am

OL’ Mo switched to Lovejoy on the pick 6 in the 2nd and it he stayed with LJ the rest of the way.

Stadium was nice and great football weather.

Im guessing North Gwinnett must have provoked bad sportsmanship from LJ as they showed good sportsmanship the entire game. Their fans mocked the NC fans towards the end but thats how it should be, the NC fans were incredible and the LJ fans gave a little back, good for the game. Looked like #3 ran his mouth but what teams doesnt have a little instigator, again its good for the team as long as it doesnt carry over to the disrespect side and it seemd that he did fine.

The Norcross back better be as good as advertised because I have not seen a better back all year than 22. Better than Tyron Jones and the Mill Creek RB IMO.

reggaeman

December 8th, 2012
9:08 am

This Valdosta fan is in the Lovejoy bandwagon! Take home that hardware next Saturday.

Vince Doodley

December 8th, 2012
9:16 am

That curtis kid can play. Great Season NCHS.

57Cat

December 8th, 2012
9:25 am

The game in the Dome will be a good one. I switched back and forth between Lovejoy and Norcross games and am very impressed with both teams. Lovejoy offense is awesome, but I think I will give the Norcross defense a slight edge. But Lovejoy offense is scary good.

High 5

December 8th, 2012
9:43 am

North Cobb has nothing to be ashamed of, they brought the fight to Lovejoy. You all should win a state title in the next few years if you all keep doing what you do.
Now on to Lovejoy: I told people all year to stop sleeping on those Wildcats! This is a special team with talent across the board and great coaching. I had no doubt that they would be at the DOME at the end of the year. CONGRATULATIONS! Now on THE CROSS!

Warrior Nation

December 8th, 2012
9:55 am

Was very surprised, after all the blog talk, at the class of the Lovejoy Program. Good game, good sportsmanship. Pulling for Lovejoy in the Dome next week. Take it to Norcross!

I am soooo proud of my North Cobb Warriors! You never gave up the fight! Semi-finals of 6A and the Cobb County season scoring record! Way to go, boys!

ClayCo

December 8th, 2012
10:16 am

I was at the game and that was one of the BEST games I’ve seen. Much respect to North Cobb. Ya’ll brought it (fans too)! Trash talking was there on both sides, but overall great sportsmanship on both sides. By the way, I’m putting NC’s QB on my fantasy team.

Lovejoy#1

December 8th, 2012
11:13 am

What can I say about Travis Custis # 22 and Brandon Davis # 3 aka (Batman and Robin) that have not been said all season long ? These two kids are incredible leaders on and off the field. Very proud of you. Just know next week will be grown man football. We were undersized against Tucker last year. But this year the babies ate all there green beans. So they are a little bigger.

New Kids on the Block

December 8th, 2012
1:17 pm

What a game!!! To the North Cobb players, coaches, and fans you have no reason to hang your head. You fought to the end. You just lost to a better team. To the Lovejoy players, coaches, and fans congratulations on a well deserved victory. Maybe, just maybe, you will now start getting the respect that you deserve.

If you have not seen Lovejoy play, they are more than just the running back Custis, those big receivers, and those 5 pit bulls that they have on the offensive line, they have playmakers all over the field on both sides of the ball. IMO the kid #40 (the one that all the NG fans were calling a dirty player) may be the most talented kid that they suit up. This kid was everywhere. He made big hit after big hit. If he is a dirty player, then I’ll take 11 just like him and take my chances against anyone in the state.

sportsnut

December 8th, 2012
1:26 pm

Lovejoy did what they had to do. They played Lovejoy football. It truely was a great game and NC has nothing to hang their heads about. Many now see what I have been trying to tell people all year. There are still many haters. That is part of the game, though. You can bet that they will not give up that many points to Norcross. A very fine season, so far. I have no words to explain how this one feels. The kids played their hearts out. Some may have folded and gave up but this squad is hungry. Down 21-7, we felt the rush of anxiety. Not all season had they been in that situation. They showed they could take a punch and fight back. I just want them to know that they have our love and respect. I would also like to thank them for their kind words I recieved in the locker room. It was wonderful to see the smiles from the victory and for them to see the face of the person that has had their back all season and for their(seniors) high school football career. A great bunch of guy’s. I will return during the week and talk football. Right now, I am busy fielding calls from fellow fans that are not in the area. Lovejoy has earned everything they get in terms of praise for being who they are. 2012 AAAAAA finalist. Again, Congratulations !

NCW

December 8th, 2012
1:29 pm

Down 21-7, Lovejoy seemed rattled. However, you cannot turn the ball over once much less five times and expect to beat a team like that. Great team, stadium and fans. Very proud of the Warriors- players and coaching staff. Great season. You make NCHS, Kennesaw and Acworth very proud. You all know how to keep fighting so graduating Seniors, keep fighting at whatever you do next and underclassmen- bring it back next year!

sportsnut

December 8th, 2012
5:55 pm

To the Lovejoy Players == You are an inspiration to us all. You have shown that you have the will to accomplish your goals. You have fought the good fight . From # 1 on the roster to # 99, you all deserve credit. These are special times in your lives and the memories you make now will last a lifetime. Let’s not forget that the job is not done yet. There is much to be done. If you continue to play as you have and show the talent that you have along with the sportsmanship that you have exibited, nothing can stand in your way. My moment with you must be understood. No matter what people say about you in this world, there is always a respectable way to deal with it. On the field is the best way. When you step between those white lines, everything else goes out the window. On the battle field, do battle. Off it, present your self as a man and never let doubt creep into the minds of those you come into contact with. Continue to be true to yourselves and all will be O.K. Trust in your brothers in the Cat family. Be your brothers keeper. You guy’s, are something special. Being special comes with a set of prerequisites. Be truthful, be honest, be trust-worthy, be accountable and most of all be good at what you do. If all these things are present, there is another stage that comes almost simultaniously, humbleness. Know that you are good but accept that you can lose. I have seen you lose with grace, and I have seen you win and not gloat. A fine group of young men you are. Congratulations and good luck next week. I will be there as usual, on the 50, cheering for you to bring it home.

region4fan

December 8th, 2012
9:14 pm

Two really good teams slugging it out with great fan support, what high school sports is all about. Good luck to Lovejoy and I cannot wait for next year’s North Cobb team.

JB

December 8th, 2012
10:10 pm

Custis is a beast. He doesn’t need to waist his time at Tech. He needs to go to a school with a spread or pro style offense. This guy plays like Mark Ingram.

NCBigCountry

December 9th, 2012
10:33 am

Being a NC fan, I’m disappointed that Lovejoy beat us, but I know they beat us at out best. Great team, Lovejoy.

Clayco teams rep

December 9th, 2012
5:04 pm

North Cobb has the the crunkest fans I saw thus far great season to you all let’s go cats 8:30 Saturday vs blue devils

BREAL

December 11th, 2012
3:25 am

Take away the North Cobb turnovers and what you have is a North Cobb win. Even with #22 five touchdowns,Lovejoy wouldve lost 42-35. The last Lovejoy rushing touchdown was classless and in bad taste. I knew every single play Lovejoy ran,however not remembering the fundamentals of tackling can make the average running back look like a superstar. North Cobb put up more points in the first quarter than Lovejoy had surrendered on a game by game average all season. I say Lovejoy was shook but capitalized on some really horrible throwing decisions by North Cobb. Lovejoy will fall short of the glory again,they have been exposed……Norcross 38 Lovejoy 21 peace.

Flyer

December 11th, 2012
9:08 am

@BREAL– Didn’t Mill Creek have 6 turnovers in the Qtr Final Game that NC won 42-35. I’d bet that if you take away those turnovers Mill Creek wins. Turnovers are a part of the game and the team with the most in any particular game usually loses.

sportsnut

December 11th, 2012
1:36 pm

@ BReal == Classless ? We had the ball inside the 10 with over a minute left and could have scored again. You run your offense. It is up to the other team to stop you. It is not like Lovejoy was throwing. Thats football. If you can’t stand this, don’t watch. As I said before, Little league plays football and if that is too intense for you, try flag.

sportsnut

December 12th, 2012
11:17 am

Norcross looks a lot like Lovejoy. The big difference is that Lovejoy has a PLAYER at every position.