The Norcross Blue Devils are back in the state finals. In what was mostly a defensive battle against the Colquitt County Packers, it was the Blue Devils who made just enough plays on offense, pulling out a 14-9 win in the AAAAAA state semifinals.
The Blue Devils (12-2) will play the winner of the North Gwinnett-McEachern game for the state title on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 8:30 p.m.
Myles Autry brought the game to its final margin with a 19-yard reception off a screen pass from A.J. Bush with 6:15 remaining. The Blue Devils’ defense did the rest, with Jordan Noil intercepting the Packers and returning the ball 45 yards with 17 seconds left in the game.
The game was delayed an hour thanks to lightning, resuming with 10:18 remaining in the fourth and Colquitt County leading 9-7.
The Packers led 9-7 at half thanks to three Jose Vega field goals of 45, 32 and 22 yards. One of the field goals was set up by a Norcross muffed punt, which gave Colquitt County the ball on the Blue Devils’ 23 yard line.
The Blue Devils’ first score came on James Keeling’s 1-yard touchdown run with 3:19 left in the half, which was set up by Bush’s 51-yard scramble that put the ball on the Packers’ 1. That gave Norcross a 7-6 lead.
For the Packers (11-3), it was the fifth consecutive season in the semifinals under coach Rush Propst, who took over the program following a 2007 season that saw Colquitt County go 2-8. The Packers also reached the state finals in 2011.
The Blue Devils beat Colquitt County last year in the semifinals, 41-27 on the way to their first state title in school history. Their 2013 season started roughly, as they were 1-2 through three games, including a 55-0 season-opening loss to Miami’s Booker T. Washington televised by ESPN. But Norcross turned its season around, going on what is now an 11-game win streak with a defense surrendering just 7.6 points a game.
Colquitt County – 3 6 0 0 – 9
Norcross 0 7 0 7 – 14
C – Jose Vega 45 FG
C – Vega 32 FG
N – James Keeling 1 run (Blake Bingham kick)
C – Vega 22 FG
N – Myles Autry 19 pass from A.J. Bush (Bingham kick)
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