Championship games in review


Norcross 21, Lovejoy 14

Recap: Alvin Kamara scored on a 61-yard reception and a 10-yard run as Norcross (15-0) rallied from a 14-3 fourth-quarter deficit. Myles Autry caught an 11-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 14-9 with 7:17 to play, and Kamara scored his touchdowns in the final five minutes. Kamara finished with 119 yards rushing on 33 carries. Lovejoy’s Travis Custis had 60 yards rushing on 20 carries for the game and 11 carries for 4 yards in the second half.

History: Norcross won its first state title in its 56th season of varsity football. Coach Keith Maloof joined father George Maloof to become the third father and son to win state titles. The others are Hal and Ray Lamb and Chip and Rodney Walker. Norcross became the fourth Gwinnett County school in seven seasons to win the highest classification after Peachtree Ridge (2006), Brookwood (2010) and Grayson (2011) and the sixth overall from Gwinnett in that time on a list that includes Wesleyan (2008) and Buford (2007-10, 2012).


Gainesville 49, Ware County 13

Recap: QB Deshaun Watson passed for 317 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 85 yards and two scores for Gainesville (12-3). Watson broke the state record for career passing yardage, became the third player to pass for 4,000 yards in a season and became the second to throw 50 TD passes in a season. Xavier Tobler scored both touchdowns for Ware County on 2-yard runs.

History: Gainesville won its first state title after six losses in championship games. Coach Bruce Miller won his first state title in his 26th season as a Georgia coach, the longest wait of its kind in state history. Gainesville became the first team since 1967 Marietta to win a state title after losing its final two regular-season games. Gainesville is the first Hall County school to win a GHSA title but the third to win a state championship. Riverside Military Academy won a state title in 2005 in the Georgia Independent School Association. Fair Street of Gainesville won state titles in 1956 and 1957 in the Georgia Interscholastic Association, the governing body for black schools during segregation.


Sandy Creek 45, Ridgeland 10

Recap: Sandy Creek (15-0) broke the game open with 17 points in the final 4:34 of the first half but dominated throughout and finished with a 473-272 advantage in total offense. Eric Swinney and Delvin Weems ran for two touchdowns each, Cole Garvin and Trey Walker threw TD passes and Mitchell McMillin kicked a 35-yard field goal. Weems finished with 10 carries for 96 yards and scored on runs of 30 and 11 yards. Swinney rushed for 65 yards on 10 carries with touchdowns of 1 and 6 yards. Garvin was 13-of-18 passing for 249 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown to Kyle Wilson.

History: Sandy Creek became the 14th school to win three state titles in four seasons. Coach Chip Walker became the 29th coach to win three GHSA titles and the eighth to do it in his first eight seasons as a head coach. Sandy Creek is the only team to be ranked No. 1 from wire to wire this season.


Buford 10, St. Pius 3

Recap: Dontravious Wilson scored on a 39-yard run on a fourth-and-2 play with 9:10 remaining to lead Buford (12-3). Wilson finished with 69 yards rushing. St. Pius had the ball inside Buford territory twice in the final five minutes but got no closer than the 33-yard line. Buford’s Matthew Bonadies kicked a 43-yard field goal with four seconds to play in the first half, and St. Pius’ Thomas O’Leary kicked a 47-yarder with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter.

History: Buford became the second school in Georgia history to win eight state titles in 12 years. The other is Valdosta, which won nine in 12 years twice (1951-62 and 1960-71). Coach Jess Simpson became the sixth Georgia coach to win five GHSA state championships, joining Valdosta’s Wright Bazemore (14), Lincoln County’s Larry Campbell (11), Valdosta’s Nick Hyder (7), Thomas County Central’s Ed Pilcher (5) and Carrollton’s Charlie Grisham (5).


Jefferson 31, Calhoun 14

Recap: Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs rushed for 139 yards, passed for 171 yards and had three short touchdown runs. Jefferson (14-1) also got a 1-yard touchdown run and 85 yards rushing from Tristen Jackson and a 35-yard field goal from Chandler Schlutow. Calhoun QB Taylor Lamb was 26-of-37 passing for 279 yards and had touchdown passes of 17 yards to Logan Walraven and 75 yards to Tydus Curtis.

History: Jefferson won its first state title in its 66th season of varsity football. Coach T. McFerrin became the 14th coach in history to win state titles at two schools and the first since Jeff Herron (1999 Oconee County, 2003 Camden County). McFerrin won with Elbert County in 1995. Jefferson won a day after Gainesville, giving northeast Georgia two state champions for the first time in history (or three depending on how Buford is defined on the map).

A (public)

ECI 47, Dooly County 7

Recap: Running backs Greg Purcell and James Brown combined for 330 yards of offense and five touchdowns for Emanuel County Institute (13-1). Purcell rushed for 142 yards on 25 carries and scored on runs of 1, 50 and 6 yards. Purcell scored on a 26-yard run and finished with 135 yards on 14 carries. He also scored on a 53-yard reception. Dooly County’s Chanin Hamilton rushed for 85 yards on 21 carries and scored the Bobcats’ touchdown on a 19-yard run.

History: ECI won the first public division of Class A. It is ECI’s second state title in six seasons and first under second-year coach Chris Kearson. The game was the 10th in finals history (out of 291 games) with a margin of victory of 40 points or more.

A (private)

ELCA 33, Prince Avenue Christian 0

Recap: Keyante Green rushed for 84 yards and had touchdowns of 23 and 12 yards for Eagle’s Landing Christian (13-1), which led 7-0 at halftime but pulled away in the third quarter with touchdowns on all three of its possessions. D.J. Curl scored on a 23-yard run on the second play of the second half, and Brad Moore and Green added third-quarter TD runs. QB Dalton Etheridge was 7-of-8 passing for 107 yards and had a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

History: ELCA won the first private division of Class A. It is ELCA’s second state title, first in the GHSA, as it won a championship in 1996 in the Georgia Independent School Association.

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7 comments Add your comment


December 17th, 2012
10:14 am

i still don’t get dividing the A classification into 2 champions.

Old War Eagle

December 17th, 2012
5:39 pm

Most of the private schools in A class are small Christian schools……usually the level of play is inferior to the public schools.


December 17th, 2012
8:23 pm

Who had the biggest crowd at the Dome? It looked to me like St Pius, but that can’t be right, can it?

Patriot Power

December 17th, 2012
10:58 pm

The Christian schools actually have been dominating single A for some time now.


December 18th, 2012
8:16 am

Hoopscoop, I’d be surprised if anyone brought more fans than we did. We had the sidelines filled in from end zone to end zone. You have to remember that St. Pius has a 50 year tradition, and very loyal alumni. It’s a special place and our children are blessed to attend there.


December 18th, 2012
9:26 am

Norcross had the biggest crowd. The entire lower level from end zone to end zone was full and a portion of the second level was full too.


December 18th, 2012
9:41 am

www, Old War Eagle, and Patriot Power: Although I’m a Lovejoy Alum, I work at a Single A public school and the reason that they separated the classes is because the private school enrollment was larger than many single A schools and they didn’t want to move up in classification so they separated into two 16 teams playoffs that start a week after the regular playoffs. I would like to see them start at the same time and take the champion from the Public side and play against the private side!