AAAAAA blog: Who has the best feature back in the state final? And other questions worth asking

Five questions to be answered in the Georgia Dome next week in the AAAAAA final –

How many points will they score? Norcross and Lovejoy have good defenses, but they put up record numbers of points in the semifinals Friday. Lovejoy beat North Cobb 63-42 in the highest-scoring semifinal game in state history. The second-highest scoring game is now West Rome’s 61-31 win over Lakeshore in 1984. Meanwhile, Norcross beat Colquitt County 41-27. Norcross’ 41 points rank as the third-most in a semifinal in the highest classification over the last 25 years – behind Lovejoy’s 63 and North Cobb’s 42. Valdosta scored 49 in the 1986 semifinals, and no team had scored more than 40 in a high-class semifinal since.

What school and coach will win their first state championship? Norcross and Lovejoy have never won state championships in football. Neither have their coaches, both in their 18th seasons as head coaches – Keith Maloof of Norcross and Al Hughes of Lovejoy. Maloof will be coaching in his first state championship game. Hughes took Lovejoy to the Class AAAA final last year when beaten by Tucker.

Who has the better feature back? Alvin Kamara of Norcross and Travis Custis of Lovejoy are blue-chip recruits who went over 2,000 yards rushing Friday in the semis. Kamara is uncommitted. Custis has committed to Georgia Tech. Both are candidates for state player of the year.

Who will make the big plays on defense? Both teams play aggressive defense and force big plays. Lovejoy returned two interceptions for touchdowns against North Cobb, and noseguard Nathaniel Norwood has over 30 tackles for losses. Norcross has more than 50 sacks, 18 by junior defensive end Lorenzo Carter.

Will county football pedigree matter? Gwinnett teams, of which Norcross is one, have won state titles in the highest classification the past two seasons (Grayson, Brookwood) and eight of the past 16. Lovejoy is trying to become Clayton County’s first football champion since Morrow in 1987.

248 comments Add your comment

K-man

December 8th, 2012
8:43 am

I`m rooting for you Lovejoy …but I think Norcross will win. They have a little better defense Good Luck!

bravesgrl4life

December 8th, 2012
8:51 am

I work with a lady whose son plays for Norcross High School! Way to go – undefeated all season! Go LaMarcus!!!

DollarDawg43

December 8th, 2012
9:02 am

Congratulations Norcross. Let me guess, Rush (The Bygamist) Propst got cheated again. Thats why Colquitt lost you know. He’s never been beaten fairly but he’s been cheated a lot. I wish Norcross had scored 71.

Miller Grove Social Studies/Spanish Teacher

December 8th, 2012
9:10 am

RIP Monroe Area and Northside Warner Robins, my two fav GHSA teams…I no longer have a dog in the hunt…

Cat Man

December 8th, 2012
9:23 am

NC came ready to play last night, no doubt. I thought by the end of the 1st quarter we were in for a long night. But then our defense finally woke up, Custis turned on his game, and the rest is history. One thing that impressed me about NC is that they never quit even when they were down by 21 late. They really do have a great team. Luckily, Lovejoy came to win it and punched their ticket back to the Dome. I’m a little concerned about our defense right now like I’ve never been, especially the right side. But I know that will be corrected this week in practice and we’ll be ready for Norcross. We’re definitely going to have to bring our absolute best “A” game against this very good Blue Devil team. Gonna be a good one for sure. Good luck CATS!

6AAAAAA

December 8th, 2012
9:28 am

Norcross wins this thing but Lovejoy is way better than expected. Never thought they would get past North Gwinnett. Wonder if they will party at Maloof’s Tavern after the win the title next week?

Max Sizemore

December 8th, 2012
9:42 am

Lovejoy may be the most physically talented HS team I’ve ever seen.

High 5

December 8th, 2012
9:57 am

I told people all year not to sleep on Lovejoy! This should be a battle of undefeated teams but Lovejoy was cheated down in Moultrie! LOL!
This game should be one for the history books next Saturday at the Dome. I would give the running game edge to Norcross but Lovejoy’s QB is better than Norcross’s. Both defenses play lights out so I will call that a draw. In the end, Lovejoy’s passing game is slightly better than Norcross and that should put them over the top. 35-31 LOVEJOY! Good Luck to both teams you all earned it!

Summit Dawg

December 8th, 2012
10:13 am

Happy to see the “little Bulldogs” of Emanuel County Institute, (E.C.I.) Twin City returning to the Dome in Class A. Another big win over Wilcox County 38-27 last night!

COLQUITT SUPPORTER

December 8th, 2012
10:22 am

LOL Rush Propst obsessed fan in every crowd!!!

Pecan

December 8th, 2012
10:31 am

North Gwinnett fan here. We lost to both, and only to both. Norcross game was closer than score indicated, I think 10 points. We played Lovejoy with a broken-legged QB. Still Lovejoy put only 21 on us and we got 6. Norcross QB is steady, not flashy and can get the job done. Lovejoy will not have home field which is huge for them. Norcross will win this one in a close thriller.

Pecan

December 8th, 2012
10:34 am

P.S. Who knew in week 3 of the season when NG and Norcross played,it was a matchup of 2 of the final top 3 in the rankings?

Camden74

December 8th, 2012
10:35 am

This one will come down to who has the least amount of turnovers and penalties……… :-)

WILDHAWG2012

December 8th, 2012
10:39 am

Thanks to my Packers for another fine season and for playing your with your heart on your sleeves!!! We are very proud of u guys!!! Norcross has a great team and their overall speed was impressive.People in Moultrie will question the play calling but Norcross just had more speed at almost every position so the play calling had to be perfect and plus we would have to have a little bit of luck are Norcross defenders would have to miss some tackles.And Norcross was also very physical and just did their thing.Good job Norcross and if i had to pull for anyone next week it would have to be Norcross because we have a former Packer on the staff.Two great teams should be a good one.My Packers are a good team with good speed but not great speed and Norcross has that so in this type of game u need a few breaks and hope they make some mistakes.Its hard to call plays against this type of speed but as long as we gave it our all and didn’t quit.

Mrd

December 8th, 2012
11:03 am

Great job last night Devils. We do believe we will win. Looking forward to next Saturday night.
NHS has played top teams all year ( NG, Prkv, Mlcreek) and proved their worthy of
a visit to the championship game. Congratulations to the players and coaching staff.

Justin Martyr

December 8th, 2012
11:19 am

The region Norcross plays is a survival test. If you win it you believe you can beat any HS team in the nation. Norcross has the best defense, and wins in a slugfest!

Justin Martyr

December 8th, 2012
11:23 am

Jefferson will edge Calhoun through a great coaching staff, and a team that knows it can win it.

LovejoyDad

December 8th, 2012
11:43 am

Just a point of reference for all you who have the idea that Norcross defense is somehow better that Lovejoy. The stats don’t lie Lovejoy PF 604 PA 129 Norcross PF 537 PA 188. 129 allowed all year and that includes 42 last night to a NC team that just couldn’t defend us.We haven’t given up 42 points in over 3 years so big ups to NC you guys played your hearts out. Toughest game we’ve had to date hands down.( including the cheat fest that we lost down in Jim Crowquitt County.) Congratulations to Norcross. We look forward to a great game next Saturday. I would root for you guys since yo u disposed of Region 1 2 weeks in a row., and that deserves props, but we beat some pretty great teams too in Marietta, NG and NC. Its been a tough road for both teams but I think (no surprise here) that the Lovejoy Wildcats will prevail. This is the best DLine in the state and #22 who has top 5 RB numbers. His name doesn’t even appear on Maxpreps’ list of RB’s Forget about the top 10 , his name doesn’t even appear. Well none of that matters, come Saturday. Good lucj Norcross. You’re gonna need it.

georgiabuckmaster

December 8th, 2012
11:47 am

Jefferson better bring their A team because all Calhoun does is win. Been tested by Ridgeland,Carrollton,Dalton along with other good AA teams. Should be a good game

LovejoyDad

December 8th, 2012
12:04 pm

@ Justin Martyr Besides North Gwinnett, Mill Creek and Parkview i wouldn’t exactly call Region 7 a survival test. Lets take a look.
Duluth 3-5
Habersham Central 1-9
Collins Hill 6-5
Mountainview 3-8
Peachtree Ridge 4-6
Meadowcreek 0-10
Would’nt exactly call that a survival test for a good team. Just like Lovejoy you guys tried to play tougher teams outside of your region. Lets just see what happens next Saturday night. Truth is both teams can play. Lovejoy, just like I’ve said every week about every game and against every team IS JUST BETTER.

phil

December 8th, 2012
12:45 pm

Max I agree They are very big and very fast Maybe that Lowndes team from a few years ago

itsonlywrite

December 8th, 2012
12:47 pm

well if this game has ties to “Waycross” and “St. Pius” then we can avenge all that next Friday by winning the championship… LETS GO BIG RED!!!

#ELEPHANTNATION

packfan

December 8th, 2012
5:36 pm

congrats to norcross and lovejoy for making it to finals should be a great game way to go pack on another great run just loss to a better team fri nite

Colquitt Fan

December 8th, 2012
5:56 pm

Congrats again to Norcross, they have a fine team.

Dollardawg; quit acting like a dbag, you know absolutely nothing about Propst. He gave credit where credit was due.

Longhorn nation

December 8th, 2012
6:04 pm

love joy dad you can take your stats chunk them out the window both teams were it totally different regions and I have to say Northcross was in a much harder one as far as the running backs both are the best at what they do both nasty in there on way good luck to both teams

Cat Man

December 8th, 2012
6:43 pm

Much good luck to Jefferson and Coach T McFerrin. I played for T. at Forest Park in his only year there back in the 70’s! We went to N. Ga. championship and lost to Avondale then they got blistered by Valdosta in the state championship the next week. Good luck Coach, I’ll be pulling for you!

Avis

December 8th, 2012
7:01 pm

Way to go Wildcats!!!!!!!! You deserve to be where you are What a great team !!Let’s take it home this year. The south side is just as talented as the north end. How about you reporters give this team some justice for a long job well done. It is what it is, when you play well each game, the best team comes away as the winner. Good luck wildcats!!!!!

roy hobbs

December 8th, 2012
8:54 pm

lovejoy dad at 12:04 pm, did any clayton county 6A team defeat 5 2012 play off teams during the regular season this year?

DollarDawg43

December 8th, 2012
8:55 pm

Whats wrong there Colquitt (lotta ‘quit’ in that word-says a lot) Fan, does the truth strike a tender nerve there?

region4fan

December 8th, 2012
9:04 pm

Congratulations to Norcross and Lovejoy. Lovejoy seemed talented at every position and would give any high school team in the nation a tough challenge.

Cat Man

December 8th, 2012
9:09 pm

@avis totally agree about the southside team. AJC has given very little coverage to Lovejoy all year til now when they’re forced to. They’ve barely mentioned Travis Custis til now and all of a sudden he’s the main man, which is what he’s been to us all season. That sells newspapers you understand! Todd Holcomb has pretty much dodged Lovejoy all season in his write ups. He loves the northside. Don’t know where he lives but I’ll bet it’s north of I-20!

FridayNightLightsFan

December 8th, 2012
9:41 pm

Camden74 – I agree. Without turnovers North Cobb wins that game last night.

missylou

December 8th, 2012
10:01 pm

@fridaynightlightsfan…without turnovers, Mill Creek would have beaten North Cobb in the quarterfinals. That is the whole point…the team that can minimize turnovers when it counts the most in the playoffs will win. That said, I think Lovejoy dominated North Cobb from the end of the 1st qtr, to the end of the game, turnovers or not. The championship game will be a good one for sure.

Packerfan2000

December 8th, 2012
10:05 pm

@DollarDawg43

Truth?! The truth is you are the only one to bring up Propst in the conversation, and that’s why Colquitt Fan said what he did. If you don’t like Propst, then that’s your problem. Maybe you should not be so self-righteous. He’s an excellent head coach, and his record proves it. By the way, he said before the game if Colquitt lost it would be because they played a better team.

Quinn of the RIdge

December 8th, 2012
10:05 pm

@LovejoyDad, believe me, Region 7 is as tough as any region. Peachtree Ridge would likely be a playoff team in any region, and Mill Creek and North Gwinnett would probably challenge for a region championship in other regions, and Collins Hill would do better than fourth seed in most regions. Heck, Duluth might be able to squeak into a fourth seed spot in a few very week regions. Gwinnett football is for real, and I would not be underestimating the power of both region 7 and 8. Finally, of course the records aren’t going to be that great when the region 7 teams all play each other. Good luck to both Lovejoy and Norcross.

squirrell

December 8th, 2012
10:08 pm

December 8th, 2012
9:59 pm

I was wrong!

Norcross and Kamara were just as good as proclaimed!

Great game!

Proud of the Pack this year!

Enjoyed every game!

Colquitt Supporter

December 8th, 2012
11:37 pm

Lovejoydad, Give it a rest. You lost to us for the same reason we lost to Norcross, Lowndes, Valdosta,and NG this year as well as Grayson last year. Had nothing to do with cheating, refs, injured players or whatever excuse. It is because you scored less points than we did.

Fred

December 8th, 2012
11:56 pm

@LovejoyDad – I wouldn’t read too much into those stats you are fond of. Unless you play the same teams, all they will do is maybe give you a feel for the general strength of a team. Using them as a head to head comparison is an exercise in futility.

Grayram

December 9th, 2012
2:30 am

I’ve seen a few post from fans saying there team was “cheated” in Moultrie. I think some of you actually believe that the home team provides the officials and would actually call a game unfairly.
There are plenty of times high school officials make mistakes. Most of the time there are fans screaming about calls the call was correct. The officials don’t care who wins and they are not out to get any particular team.

Coach D

December 9th, 2012
6:34 am

Clay Co. fans need to represent or Norcross will win b/c of the “home field” advantage. It’s tough not having enough support at a state championship game!

lhsalum33

December 9th, 2012
8:08 am

Excited about the game and it seems that the two best teams are playing. I have no clue if this game will be 17-14 or 45-42. With that being said, I think Lovejoy, will make the necessary defensive adjustments after that mediocre performance last week. Although they made plays when they needed to, they still have up 42. Coach Jones is a great DC and Chatman is a great OC and understands this offense since he ran it as well. I think Jones will do everything to limit Norcross’ RB and make someone else best them. I think Norcross will do everything to limit Custis, the difference I think is Lovejoy has others that can beat Norcross. 35-21 Lovejoy in a thriller

Cat Man

December 9th, 2012
8:37 am

Like it or not, Colquitt beat us, Did they dominate us, no. I was so wanting to see them again in the Dome. Revenge at this level would have been sweet! But our focus is obviously on winning the state championship and showing our critics that southside boys can play too! Gwinnett Co. has a great tradition of winning the big games and you’re supposed to do that when you’re the largest school system in the state. To do otherwise would be an embaressment. After next Sat. you Colquitt fans can say “Hey we were the only team to beat the state champs.”

foreal

December 9th, 2012
9:21 am

Norcross has to many weapons. Autry will play saturday. Lovejoy wins if they can stop the run and play lights out on offense. But no one all year has stopped kamara yet. I don’t see why it would happen now against lovejoy. we have played against better run defenses. Norcross on defense can stop you no doubt. can’t afford mistakes on defense though.

Cat Man

December 9th, 2012
9:58 am

I agree, Kamara is a great player and will be difficult to control. But so is Custis! Norcross hasn’t seen a back of his caliber this year. Either way, it’s going to be fun to watch those 2. Our guys will definitely need to make some adjustments on D after this past Fri. night and I’m confident they will. You don’t become the no.1 D in the state without making the right adjustments for each team and a great coach to make it happen. On offense, we’ve got a few weapons as well. Benefield is a great passer and can scramble as good as anybody. The line is big and strong and quick. His receivers are awesome. They can catch in a crowd and have great breakaway speed. It’s going to be a great game for sure!

lhsalum33

December 9th, 2012
10:03 am

Foreal: you think you’ve played against better defenses. One thing that Marietta, NG, and NC all said was”they’re much bigger and faster than we thought”. Honestly, what defense do you think you’ve played that is better than Lovejoy’s there is no one in the state that had the athletes to play an affective man coverage across the board and be tops in the state in turnovers along with scoring defense and besides last week I wouldn’t be surprised if Lovejoy’s defense hadn’t outscored its opponents on the season!

sportsnut

December 9th, 2012
10:13 am

Lovejoy will do what Lovejoy does. I does not matter who the opponent is. They have a plan and it is working. This game will solidify a place for the Cat’s in history, win or lose. They have defied all odds pertaining to them on the season. There was so much skepticism. So many questions. What was that computer generated stat, 2.03% chance of winning the title. I know, it is not done yet but the odds certainly have changed, just as I said they would.

There has been a decrease in the blogging and that is understandable given more teams are now out. However, those that call themselves football fans and had so much criticizing to do and never giving credit, should now be here to face the music. Lovejoy has proved all the ney-sayers wrong to this point. That includes the writers at this publication. You have and will continue to have your favorites and there is nothing wrong with that but you need to stop with the step child mentality you have exibited concerning Clayton County Sports. Being born and raised in Metro Atlanta, I have watched the AJC go from “Covering the South like the Dew” to not adequately covering the Metro. Political news and crime are not the only things going on in Clayco. Our kid’s deserve as much coverage as the other Metro area’s. A lack of coverage has resulted this season in much talent being missed on the national level because you choose not to publicize it. No coverage of the kid’s, no knowledge of the kid’s. No athletic scholarships for the kid’s. Many people were surprised by the amount of talent on display, why ? It has been on the field for 3 years in a row. Go figure !

Lovejoy#1

December 9th, 2012
10:27 am

@colquitt supporter actually we scored more points then you did. We just had 12 of our points erased of the score board. One on a holding call 53 yards from the Travis Custis run for a touch down. The other on a 20 yard pass to Brandon Davis. Colquitt got there second touch down on a 30 yard double personal foul which was called on LJ after your receiver closed fist punched our DB in the head. Which he has been doing the hold game. But I guess that’s the way they teach them to get open. So stop bragging on your home cooking questionable win.

Colquitt Supporter

December 9th, 2012
11:08 am

Lovejoy#1 – not bragging just stating the facts. Not sure what rulebook you follow but points scored and brought back because of a penalty do not count. If your team had not held, you may not have scored. There are rules to follow and penalties to suffer if you break the rules. If you can not accept that, find another sport.

First I have heard of the closed fist for the entire game – I watched the game on the internet and just do not remember that. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

However, I am still puzzled on the double penalty. I tried to watch the replay on the local TV but missed it. I was hoping to hear the coaches take on it.

But when all is said and done, you guys are to be congratulated for making the finals. It will be a good game, and I look forward to watching it. Good luck.

The Cross

December 9th, 2012
12:41 pm

Norcross is looking forward to another week of football. This game should be a great match up of the best athletes in the state. I believe this game will boil down to the line of scrimmage. Norcross has a tremendous O-line and Lovejoy has a phenomenal D-line. Maybe the best D-line that we have faced all year. If Norcross wins the battle in the trenches…Norcross wins the game by two scores. If Lovejoy’s D-front is able to move the line of scrimmage back 1-2 yards then I believe Lovejoy has a chance to upset Norcross.

It is going to be a great game and I congratulate the Norcross program and Lovejoy for a fantastic season.

The Cross

The Cross

December 9th, 2012
12:49 pm

Ihsalum33-You can’t really claim that Lovejoy’s D is the best in the state given the soft region schedule they play. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the D is very good but best in the state may be stretching it given the Grayson D was dominating better competition this year.

Lovejoy will need to hold Norcross to less than 24 points to have a chance and I feel that is a pretty tall order given the way Norcross has been executing in this season. Norcross is so much more than Kamara just as Lovejoy is so much more than Custis. Their our great athletes in all 22 positions.

It is going to be a great Championship. I look forward to the debates leading up to Saturday.

The Cross