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.