AAAAAA blog: Norcross takes national spotlight in opener

It’s been 21 years since a Georgia team won one of those mythical national championships. That was Valdosta in 1992, winners of that title from the National Sports News Service and the National Prep Poll.

This season, a couple of Georgia teams have a pretty good opportunity – Norcross and Sandy Creek. Both have top-five national rankings.

Since this is the Class AAAAAA blog, let’s talk about Norcross today.

The Blue Devils are playing at home Saturday at 7 p.m. against Booker T. Washington of Miami in what is easily the national game of the week. It will be televised by ESPN, which also will broadcast the South Gwinnett-Lincoln (Fla.) game that precedes it at Norcross.

Washington is ranked No. 1 by USA Today. Norcross is ranked in the top six of several national rankings.

I talked with Norcross coach Keith Maloof on Monday. Here is what he had to say.

The Washington game: ‘’This game, as big as it is, it’s really no indication of whether we’ll repeat of not. It’s a game for fans and national exposure, things that a lot of people thrive on, but for us, it’s a barometer of where we are. Can we compete at a high level like we think we can? Can we handle the media, the pressure? Last year’s team did a great job of managing success, but we’ve got to create our own identity with this group. This is a great way to start.’’

Washington: ‘’They’re fast at every position on offense. They’ve got people who are 4.4, 4.3 (in the 40) at every position (excluding linemen). Most teams you line up against have one or two. This group has four or five that are that fast. On defense, they’re really big. They have a 6-5 defensive end like we do. They’ve got another one that is 6-4. The linebackers are very active. They have three or four who are committed to Miami. The challenge for us is we’ve got to have people we can match up with them. The key is making tackles in open space. We have to create pressure (on the QB) and give ourselves a chance.’’

On a national title run: ‘’It would be fun for the community and for the school, but in reality, we don’t have control over that. We don’t have a playoff system. We could go 15-0 and end up No. 16 in a national poll like last year. What we do have control over is what we do in our region and the state of Georgia. It so happens that if we play really good this weekend and do it the rest of year, we have a chance. But right now, it’s one game at a time.’’

On having a marquee opening game: “It’s definitely a motivator in the summer. It’s like opening up in the Georgia Dome. It’s ESPN, a national event, not a local event. They work and prepare hard because they don’t want to get on national TV and not be in condition and not be ready.’’

Other notes — Norcross has 11 seniors who are rated two stars or better by Rivals.com. DE Lorenzo Carter, LB Kevin Mouhon and ATH Myles Autry are rated four stars or better. Miami has seven two stars or better and three four stars. Committed to Miami are DE Chad Thomas, DE Demetrius Jackson and DB Nigel Bethel. … Maloof said that Autry, who is one of the state’s top receivers  and returners, will play. He missed Norcross’ scrimmage as a precaution because of off-season knee surgery.

In other news, Loren Maxwell of Maxwell Ratings fame has sent me his projected margins of victory for the week. It doesn’t include games vs. out-of-state opponents because he doesn’t have historical scores nationally.

But here they are for other AAAAAA games this week -

23 Aug
Campbell (-28) Morrow
Coffee (-1) Whitewater
Hillgrove (-26) Westlake
Newnan (-1) Marietta

24 Aug
Brunswick (-9) Wayne County
Grayson (-5) Colquitt County
McEachern (-2) Brookwood
North Gwinnett (-3) Camden County
Walton (-5) Peachtree Ridge

That’s a lot of close games. They projections are based on historical scores. Not computed are Grayson’s 21 starters that graduated.

50 comments Add your comment

Sportsnut

August 20th, 2013
10:10 am

I think Norcross will wear them down. They are to small to play with Norcross. They may have speed but the lines are too small to stay in this game for 4 quarters. They also only list 41 players. They had better bring more if they wish to stay on the field with the Devils.

Todd Holcomb

August 20th, 2013
10:37 am

I think home-field advantage, especially early season, is very significant in these inter-state battles. Miami is well south of Camden County if not mistaken.

Jusfellofftheturniptruck

August 20th, 2013
10:39 am

Remember what Grayson did to the last Miami team that came up here? Hopefully Norcross can do the same and probably get a #1 national ranking in the process.

Anyone else going do nothing but watch high school football all day on Saturday? DVR set to start at 0900. The Norcross/Booker game will be the cherry on top of a dome full of football. Almost better than Christmas!!

CoffeeC100

August 20th, 2013
11:13 am

Todd – Can’t say I understand. You say these win-lose projections are based on historical scores yet you pick Whitewater by 1 point over Coffee. I understand Whitewater went deep into the playoffs last year and Coffee did not make the playoffs. I’m not saying your pick is wrong. But…

Coffee beat Whitewater 41-3 last year
Maxwell has Coffee 2 points higher on strength than Whitewater.
Whitewater makes the 5 hour trip to Jardine Stadium this year.

What is your logic? Obviously not historical scores as you say. And obviously not Maxwell.

Sportsnut

August 20th, 2013
11:20 am

@ JFOTTT == You can make that 2 Saturday’s for me as I will be watching Stephenson vs Norland of Miami and MLK vs. Blanche Ely of Pompano Beach on the 31st. They will play at Halford Stadium.

Sportsnut

August 20th, 2013
11:42 am

Does Coach Maloof consider tall big? They have only 12 players that weigh 200 or more, with the largest at 280. There are 2 of those. One is an offensive lineman and the other is a D-lineman. They have 3 at 200. They are a LB and 2 DE’s. There are 3 at 230 and they are 2 D-linemen and 1 DE. The rest are all O/L and there are 4 of them and they come in at 225, 205, 220 and 250. This to me, is not that big. That is why I say they are too small and will not last.

fred

August 20th, 2013
11:58 am

go northgwinnett

Reeze

August 20th, 2013
2:29 pm

Norcross wins by 3 plus TD’s . Another over hyped Miami Squad. Northside Eagles played this squad a few years back……Granted this years edition of the Tornado’s are much better than the squad the Eagles played , if the sheme of play is still the same of what we saw, Norcross will eat them up……You cant always win with speed and Big plays…Speed kills sometimes… Also conditioning will be a big factor…..These sport writers will soon realize that GA football is #1

Max Sizemore

August 20th, 2013
3:43 pm

I live in Florida, and Miami teams do, in fact, have superior talent. That’s why there are always a high number of college recruits. But the coaching is mediocre at best, the discipline is even less, and the community support is, compared to Georgia, non-existent. The Norcross game will be over by halftime.

Todd Holcomb

August 20th, 2013
4:54 pm

Coffee – I don’t understand that one either. I wonder if Maxwell had the wrong home team. I know that on the original GHSA schedule, it had both teams home (in error). I’ll check w/ Loren and get back with you.

Todd Holcomb

August 20th, 2013
4:55 pm

Also, it’s Coffee that is favored by one point, not Whitewater. And these are computer predictions, not mine.

Camden74

August 20th, 2013
5:04 pm

Norcross should win this match up with no problem. But, I can guarantee they have not seen overall team speed like they will see on the Miami squad. Last year’s Grayson-Central Miami game was in no way indicative of a typical top Miami team. Being on National TV should have everyone pumped! Norcross’ defense should save the day…….RELEASE the CATS, FEAR the PAW!!!! :-D

Camden74

August 20th, 2013
5:08 pm

I’ve been hearing mixed stories about Coffee. Some say they’re looking great! Others say they’ve lost a few very good players to transfer. Which is it? I really expected Coffee to compete for the R1, 6A Title this season…… :-)

bksmith14

August 20th, 2013
8:07 pm

cook county gave coffee trouble in the scrimmage…and cook county is young and in the region brooks county is in. coffee beat them 21-6..they should have blowed them out 40-0 at least. We will see…i say coffee will compete for the 4th seed in our region…lowndes..camden..colquitt will have the top 3. Valdosta has a very young o line and shaky qb play now that they lost their starting qb. I dont think they will make playoffs to be honest.

CoffeeC100

August 20th, 2013
9:16 pm

Camden 74 – Brandon Roe, a D1 prospect in basketball and football, transferred to Tift after football season last year to play basketball this year Tift. He and his mom moved back to Coffee this spring. He is eligible for football this year. That’s about all the moving around gossip. Coffee did lose their senior quarterback to an ACL in the spring game. He has already committed to The Georgia Bulldogs as a pitcher and is sitting out football to insure he heals.

BK – I’m sure you were not at the Coffee/Cook game last Friday. I read the vent too, (Though I refuse to get involved in that circus), and that’s obviously where you got your information. Through three quarters the score was 21-0. It could have been much higher had that been the intent of the Coffee coaches. Coffee sat out several starters with little nagging injuries. Coffee also did not run the same play twice all three quarters.

Coffee only played their starting quarterback a about fifteen minutes. A freshman played the remainder of the first three quarters. Coffee’s defense is much deeper than last year. The O-line is bigger and The Trojans have a very, very special tight end and fullback that line up all over the field.

Coffee is running a no-huddle, spread based on D1 Clemson’s offense. I fell Coffee should contend for 4th seed and, just maybe, 3rd. At the very least they are going to be a lot of fun to watch. There is going to be very little time for defenses to substitute against them.

We still gotta play ball though. And Coffee’s pre-region schedule is tough. Whitewater, Ware and Burke County, (All top ten teams), the first three weeks. If Coffee can make it through their pre-region schedule 4-0 the young kids will be seasoned veterans ready for the 1-6A gauntlet.

Good luck to all, (Except when you play Coffee).

CoffeeC100

August 20th, 2013
9:19 pm

Todd. Than you for responding.

Drock13

August 20th, 2013
9:44 pm

Newman 34 Matietta 17 too much size and speed for the blue devils. This is the biggest Newnan team in 4 years

Drock13

August 20th, 2013
9:45 pm

Newnan 34 Marietta 17

Sportsnut

August 20th, 2013
10:01 pm

@ Max == If they have superior talent, why can’t they beat Georgia teams?

Sportsnut

August 20th, 2013
10:08 pm

Did not finish, sorry. You talk about inferior coaching, lack of discipline, and community support. Does this somehow diminish the ability of all that talent to perform? The coach’s don’t play. The community does not play. If the discipline is at such a level, why are they considered or held in such high regard?

Camden74

August 20th, 2013
10:45 pm

I believe this is going to be a very interesting season in GHSF………..Where will the surprises come from in Class 6A? :-)

bksmith14

August 20th, 2013
11:15 pm

i want coffee to do well…and i think they will make the 4th seed . We shall see. losing that starting qb was a big loss but coach pruitt will get em ready .

CoffeeC100

August 21st, 2013
8:03 am

BK – Thanks for the encouragement.You’re right about the impact of losing our QB. He was one reason the spread was installed at Coffee this year. The young guns that are going to be starting, (Freshman and Junior), throw the ball exceptionally well though. And if they can learn to not pull the ball back quite so much from our big FB on the read/options we will contend for a playoff slot.

Man I can’t wait until we get on the field with these big 5A and 4A contenders in the pre-region schedule. We fans at Coffee have stood patiently behind the team for a long time now. The TD club has contributed a lot of $$ to help provide the Trojans with the off-field facilities they need for the strength and conditioning programs. Like last year. We again have 100+ kids dressing out in each of the 7th, 8th and 9th grade programs. And we FINALLY have the basketball team contributing to our receiver and defensive back programs.

Just two more days dudes.

GoldenIslesFan

August 21st, 2013
9:40 am

Go camden county wildcats

Sportsnut

August 21st, 2013
9:07 pm

Are you there Max?

CoffeeC100

August 21st, 2013
11:11 pm

My name’s not Max!

DOSTA DAWG

August 22nd, 2013
5:57 am

@ bksmith14 – I don’t think you know anything about the Valdosta team this year. Our O-line was missing 2 starters at the Ware scrimmage. The kid who was originally slated to start at QB is bACK AT

DOSTA DAWG

August 22nd, 2013
6:05 am

@ bksmith14- QB is the position I think Lowndes will have to worry about this year. No non-running, non-throwing sophomore is going to be that successful in this region. With the the new play clock rule, Lowndes wont be able to hold the ball and just run.

57Cat

August 22nd, 2013
7:28 am

Welcome back, Todd, for another outstanding year of GHSA Class 6A football. You moderate the best blog around and folks like bksmith14, Sportsnut, and those guys down Camden way keep it interesting.

Darcey

August 22nd, 2013
8:30 am

Go COMETS!!! Let’s hope our Georgia Teams can show Florida how it’s done!!

bksmith14

August 22nd, 2013
8:54 am

So tell me Dosta Dawg…what is the new rules on the game clock since you know so much? This is the first i have heard of it. You will be in for quite a suprise…we beat the puss cats last year with alext stephenson…and he was not a running qb. Dixon is a better passer/thrower than alex and if we need mobility we will just put tai hatcher in the game. The cats lost their starting and best qb on the team to a torn acl..which is unfortunate. I dont wish that on any kid as i have tore mine as well. Young o line is going to be a problem all year long when you face stout defenses.

grayram

August 22nd, 2013
12:38 pm

You always read about the “superior talent” on Florida teams. I know every year high school teams are completely different but the team from Miami that Grayson played was also ranked #1 by USA today or some other service. The two teams from Florida that came here and played, Miami and i believe Edgewater were not competitive.

Todd Holcomb

August 22nd, 2013
1:28 pm

”Welcome back, Todd, for another outstanding year of GHSA Class 6A football. You moderate the best blog around and folks like bksmith14, Sportsnut, and those guys down Camden way keep it interesting.”

There are certain guys such as Sportsnut, bksmith14 and Camden74 that we should consider offering a stipend for their contributions. Max Sizemore is a 5-star poster as well.

Sportsnut

August 22nd, 2013
4:49 pm

Thanks Todd. I am glad to a part of such a forum with diverse opinions on the game of high school football. Without you, it would not be possible.

@57Cat == Glad you enjoy the banter. Are you a VHS Cat, Camden Cat or LHS Cat?

bksmith14

August 22nd, 2013
4:58 pm

i am still wanting to hear the new game clock rules for 2013 dosta dawg or anyone else for that matter.

bksmith14

August 22nd, 2013
4:59 pm

Todd..i would be glad to go on salary for contributions to this blog…me sportsnut..cam74, we can do our own weekly ajc blog radio show.

[...] AAAAAA blog: Norcross takes national spotlight in openerAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)The Blue Devils are playing at home Saturday at 7 p.m. againstBooker T.Washingtonof Miami in what is easily the national game of the week. It will be televised by ESPN, which also will broadcast the South Gwinnett-Lincoln (Fla.) game that precedes… [...]

Fred

August 23rd, 2013
11:19 pm

@bksmith14 – The new rule is the refs should be blowing the whistle to start the play clock with the ball spotted and ready to play in 12-14 seconds. This is being done in an effort to move the games forward in a timely manner.

Fred

August 23rd, 2013
11:23 pm

On the issues of FL/Miami teams, if the BTW team plays like the Central team last year, they are in trouble! They have a lot of really good athletics but they don’t seem to play as a team. They didn’t have team discipline and it really showed. I am of the opinion that a good cohesive team will almost always run off a team loaded with athletes but no team dynamics. I’m looking forward to seeing the game!

Category5ive

August 24th, 2013
11:30 am

Tonight Georgia Fans see how strong Florida Football really is. Don’t let the Miami Central vs Grayson game last year fool you. Everyone down here knew that Miami Central would struggle early last year after losing 13 D1 Seniors.

Booker T Washington is #1 in the Nation for a reason. The team is discipline and training in Florida weather prepares them for 5 quarters. Tonight Georgia fans will be enlightened!

Category5ive

August 24th, 2013
11:52 am

Hey Georgia Fans?

Remember Camden County (one of GA best) came to Florida in 2010 and St. Thomas (FL) sent them home packing! Booker T Washington is the REAL DEAL!

battleaxekid

August 24th, 2013
8:41 pm

Well Norcross didn’t measure up… Grayson did well last year to make ga. proud but Ncross,,, well….34-0 BTW the last i saw.. I would have liked ncross to win … and the excuses will began to pour in right??? No surprises for me in the corky Kell either… NG looks like a contender this year. Grayson’s glory YEAR is history…and Camden has a long road to travel… I know Lowndes has had a struggle the last few years, but Grayson went from winning it all year before last to a ranking of 69 in the state!!!! tells me that they are on the bottom of the heap, You mean that one player Nic.. had to be their entire team… Ncross may come back and contend for the state but it is doubtful….

Dr.EB

August 24th, 2013
8:57 pm

After running some errands, I saw the score of the Norcross game. I have to be honest. The numbers do not lie. It is 55-0 BTW. I will not try to spin this. BTW I, like more than a few relatives, played high school football in Georgia.

Category5ive

August 24th, 2013
10:47 pm

Hate to tell you, I told you so. Unfortunately for opponents, Football in Florida is being played at a D1 Level this year. And it doesn’t matter whom the opponent, (TX, CA, GA, LA). By the way, that same Miami Central Team is ranked #1 in South Florida in front of Booker T Washington who is #2 in South Florida defeated a pretty darn good Palm Beach Dwyer team 44-7 tonight.

Boy! Miami Central vs BTW in two-weeks!

Dee

August 24th, 2013
11:24 pm

[...] AAAAAA blog: Norcross takes national spotlight in openerAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)The Blue Devils are playing at home Saturday at 7 p.m. againstBooker T.Washingtonof Miami in what is easily the national game of the week. It will be televised by ESPN, which also will broadcast the South Gwinnett-Lincoln (Fla.) game that precedes…Norcross High Football Team Ranks No. 1 in Class 6APatch.com [...]

Miami Chuck

August 25th, 2013
7:30 am

Yeah, Booker T was too small. Maybe if they were bigger, they would have put 100 points on you all. lol. Took you to the wood shed boys. Live with it!

John Charles

August 25th, 2013
7:35 am

Our boys foght hard. Yes they lost, 55 to zip, but they were professionals. They looked good on TV. They didn’t let their emotions get out of control. And their uniforms looked awesome on tv! http://sportsauthoritycoupons.com/

BTW fan

August 25th, 2013
12:51 pm

That team did not fight hard last nite…they were out of shape, outplayed and outcoached

Trick

August 25th, 2013
5:58 pm

Embarrassing.
BTW only brought 35 kids to play…no cheerleaders, no band and still kicked buttand took names.
Make it even worse Tallahassee Lincoln took it to a bigger S.Gwinnett team in the same damn stadium.

Unless these top GA teams catch these FL teams in full rebuild mode, it’s normally a loss for GA.