North Gwinnett 27, McEachern 21

North Gwinnett’s C.J. Leggett ran wild in Powder Springs for the second consecutive week, leading the top-ranked Bulldogs to a 27-21 victory over McEachern in the Class AAAAAA semifinals on Friday.

Leggett rushed for 292 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries for the Bulldogs, who overcame four turnovers and withstood a halftime break of close to an hour because of lightning in the area. In a 35-31 victory against Hillgrove in the quarterfinals last week, Leggett ran for 159 yards and four touchdowns on 39 carries.

The victory sets up a rematch between North Gwinnett and Region 7-AAAAAA rival Norcross in the state championship game at the Georgia Dome next Saturday at 8:30 p.m. North Gwinnett won the regular-season game 36-17 on Sept. 13. The victory assures that a Gwinnett County team will win the AAAAAA title for the fourth consecutive season.

North Gwinnett became the first team in the highest classification to win four consecutive playoff games on an opponents’ home field to reach the final since 2008, when the semifinals were moved out of the Georgia Dome. The Bulldogs finished in a three-way tie for first place in the region but took the No. 3 seed after a coin flip with Norcross and Collins Hill.

McEachern trailed 14-7 at halftime but opened the third quarter with a 75-play drive in 10 plays to tie the score. Bailey Hockman capped the drive with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Trey Scott on a fourth-and-11 play.

But the Bulldogs regained the lead for good about five minutes later. After Tony Bradford intercepted a Hockman pass at the North Gwinnett 47, Leggett went 53 yards for the score on the next play at the 3:17 mark.

Michael D’Angola added two field goals in the fourth quarter to make it 27-14.

McEachern scored on a 7-yard pass from Hockman to Artise Clark with 2:33 remaining, but North Gwinnett recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out all but the final eight seconds.

North Gwinnett’s first turnover quickly put the Bulldogs in a 7-0 hole. Hayden Sphire’s pass on the first play from scrimmage was intercepted by McEachern’s Rahmoi Parsons, giving the Indians the ball at the North Gwinnett 26. On the next play, Ty Clemons threw a touchdown pass to T.J. Rahming for a 7-0 lead 19 seconds into the game.

North Gwinnett got a 3-yard run by Leggett to tie the score and took the halftime lead on a 3-yard pass from Sphire to Nate Brown with 11 seconds to play in the half.

North Gwinnett – 7-7-7-6 – 27

McEachern – 7-0-7-7 – 21

M – T.J. Rahming 26 pass from Ty Clemons (Dennis Dominguez kick)

NG – C.J. Leggett 3 run (Michael D’Angola kick)

NG – Nate Brown 2 pass from Hayden Sphire (D’Angola kick)

M – Trey Scott 38 pass from Bailey Hockman (Dominguez kick)

NG – Leggett 53 run (D’Angola kick)

NG – D’Angola 45 field goal

NG – D’Angola 25 field goal

M – Artise Clark 7 pass from Hockman (Dominguez kick)

65 comments Add your comment


December 6th, 2013
11:31 pm

And there you have it…Bulldogs and Blue Devils in a rematch…A win is a win is win….let the hating commence. REGION 7-6A was THE BOSS – this year!


December 6th, 2013
11:32 pm

The missing link took North to the next level….


December 6th, 2013
11:33 pm

Congrats NG and good luck next week.

It was a great year for the Indians. Came up just a bit short. A truly fun ride while it lasted.


December 6th, 2013
11:37 pm

Congrats NG, good game and good luck next week. MCEACHERN you had a GREAT SEASON and we’ll be back even stronger next year!!!! GO MCEACHERN INDIANS!!!!


December 6th, 2013
11:48 pm

An all Gwinnett final. Congratulations NG. Region 7-AAAAAA has proven themselves to be the class of Georgia this year and last. Can Norcross repeat? Can they get revenge for the spanking NG gave them early in the year? It was Georgia vs. 7-AAAAAA, and we have a rare outcome, finalists from the same region. Gwinnett did that last in 2002 when Brookwood played Parkview.



December 6th, 2013
11:50 pm



December 6th, 2013
11:51 pm

The Indians have an awesome secondary – the best in the state by far from what I have seen. the running game was the difference…but the defense played a role as well. They made stops once again when it mattered


December 6th, 2013
11:54 pm

And maybe I shouldn’t, but I will. There has been an expert here, far smarter than the rest of us. He picked Colquitt and McEachern. I won’t embarrass him any more by pointing out who he is. Folks visiting this blog regularly already know. Maybe, just maybe, we can hope that this fellow can learn by his mistakes and be a bit more humble next year.

Suwanee 0wns

December 6th, 2013
11:55 pm

I believe McEachern will win a State Championship in the next 3 years. Mac’s freshman QB Hockman has outstanding accuracy and poise. This is a great team and they will only get better in the next few years. The drought of State Championships in Cobb County is about to be over.

McEachern DBs were VERY strong. They did a great job playing “man” coverage and took away the North passing game.

Losing the starting QB in the game against Collins Hill may have been the bes thing that happened to North in the 2013 season. It forced NG to develop a running attack from the normal formations. With the return of Hayden Sphire at QB it just gave NG a great new way to score and move the ball. Gone are the days of a flow offensive start for NG.

Having a power running attack out of the spread formation will just make NG even tougher in the future. There is almost no way to keep this team from moving the ball. Even with 4 turnovers created by an aggressive McEachern defense, NG still put 27 points on the board.


December 6th, 2013
11:58 pm

Congrats to NG on a great game, you were my preseason pick to win it all…


December 7th, 2013
12:03 am

REGION 7 RULES! SEC OF THE STATE! McEachern played awesome as did North. The difference was CJ Leggitt. 295 yard on his own! WOW! The Championship game should be a great show. Congrats to all that played tonight.


December 7th, 2013
12:06 am

Plenty of chances for McEachern to capitalize on all of the turnovers their D created, but inopportune penalties, a poor running game and their own turnovers made sure they couldn’t get any momentum.

In critical moments of the game the D just missed too many tackles, and then the punters just sealed the Indians’ fate.

Couple all these items with a gift TD in the back of the end zone on a pass where the receiver was clearly on the back line (review showed it over and over), and you have a team where it just seems to be fate.

Norcross has their revenge game. Norcross better remember what happened to them in that game…they had a nice lead and then got their doors blown off.

Go get ‘em Norcross!

Suwanee 0wns

December 7th, 2013
12:18 am

The “gift TD” made no difference in the outcome of the game.

If the ref correctly rules that as out of bounds, then NG just kicks a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown. The final score would be 23 to 21 instead of 27 to 21.

It is very difficult for a ref to make calls correctly in the back of the end zone. At least the ref was in the correct position. The ref has to rule whether it was a catch and also whether the receiver came down with a foot in bounds. They have to look in 2 places at once, and that call is made incorrectly many times without a replay.

A couple of years back North lost the bad call on a similar play in a playoff game against Grayson. The ref was looking at the foot to determine whether the receiver was in bounds. But the receiver was bobbling the ball and did not have control.

These things just happen. They are part of the game. Officials cannot make all the calls correctly – they do the best they can.

I would not want that to take away from an outstanding game by both teams. McEachern is a fantastic team, and it is hard to understand how they did not win their Region. Future McEachern teams will win many playoff games in the next few years.


December 7th, 2013
12:33 am

The “gift TD” was not a gift at all. Watch the replay again. The recievers foot came down on the gray line, not the white boundry line. The Gray line Is for soccer and is in bounds. The official was right there in perfect position. HE MADE THE RIGHT CALL. Plus this did not have a huge impact on the game. This happened right before half time. A half time that was very long due to weather. Any momentum North gained from that TD was lost due to the delay. McEachran just did not play good enough in the second half to win.

Region 7-AAAAAA runs this state!


December 7th, 2013
12:36 am

Congrats North Gwinnett on the W, good luck in the Dome! To my boys in blue and gold, you guys had an amazing run this year and I still can’t hide that Indian Pride. The class of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 will build on the momentum that was created by the class of 2014 and represent in the next season. Cobb County and Powder Springs is very proud of our boys. To Big Chief, Uncle, Westcobb5, it was awesome blogging with y’all this season for the last time this season GO BIG BLUE!


December 7th, 2013
12:45 am

Good job Dawgs!!!

Nice game Indians!!

Gwinnett County – Again!!!

We Run this State!!


December 7th, 2013
12:46 am

Likewise IndianPride. Its been a lot of fun. A lot of fun! The loss is disappointing, naturally, but the sun will come up tomorrow and the day after and the day after that. Already looking forward to the next season.

I’ll sign off same as last year . . . Football’s a game. Life is real.

Keep 5 Alive.


December 7th, 2013
12:46 am

@SomeoneslookingoutforNG – Todd clarified it for me but the whole rematch being harder isn’t true.
He said — @Fred: Team that wins the first one is 21-6 in the rematch, 8-2 in the playoffs. That includes the two Class A public rematches tonight, which went 1-1.


December 7th, 2013
1:00 am

Suwanee 0wns and HAWK…the TD was out of bounds…they replayed it no less than six times, and the announcers even commented more than once that it was incomplete.

Now quit being so defensive and READ what I wrote: McEacherns inopportune penalties, lack of a running game, missed tackles in the second half and punting cost them this game…not that play. However, getting that 7 certainly didn’t hurt!

I am a Gwinnett football fan, and I am happy to know that Gwinnett will claim another State Championship. I think it just gets to me to see these refs miss/make big calls year after year in the playoffs with the only repercussion being that some poor team is going to pay for it, not them.


December 7th, 2013
1:06 am


Not saying rematch would be tougher.

My point was that Norcross jumped all over NG early in that game and then just seemed to relax and before you knew it NG was destroying them in every facet of the game.

In order to be a champion you have to put your foot on the gas and not let off until the final whistle blows. I hope Norcross learned that in that game.


December 7th, 2013
1:11 am

@SomeoneslookingoutforNG…Years ago I wrote a letter to Ralph Sweringen about a game the was officiated so badly that the State Patrol had to escort the refs off the field. (Tift vs NG) It was bad for both teams. Both sides were in an uproar and hostel. Since then it hasn’t improved. Bad calls, no calls etc. I’ve never been one to complain about officiating. These guys don’t get paid much and it’s a thankless job. However, the GHSA has to something to improve the talent. Especially during the playoffs. I don’t have a solution. But, if fans start writing letters and emails, maybe a new training system can be put into play. GO NORTH!


December 7th, 2013
1:25 am



December 7th, 2013
1:39 am

Congratulations to both Gwinnett teams, a superb result last night. Good luck to all of you for next week but sorry Norcross but this will be The Bulldogs year. I can feel it right across the water. Can’t wait!


December 7th, 2013
2:06 am


“Suwanee 0wns and HAWK…the TD was out of bounds…they replayed it no less than six times, and the announcers even commented more than once that it was incomplete.”

The refs arrive earlier to the field they will be officiating on and are briefed on the fields parameters of play. They do this in every single GHSA sport. They know the rules and last time I checked, Scott Fletcher and K. Johnson were not licensed referees. I get what you are saying, but if the line that Nate Brown stepped on was indeed for soccer games, then the TD was legit.

Regardless of the call, Nate Brown made an amazing catch.


December 7th, 2013
2:22 am

@ Lamar…


Ok let’s get a few things straight. I knew that people like you would look at this one play and think your Indians lost right there on that very play. You are blind sir and your team’s players deserve A LOT more respect, as due NG’s players.

1. The call went in NG’s favor = fact
2. The line that Nate Brown stepped on = in bounds or out? The real rule, not your opinion.
3. Even if the TD was ruled no catch, NG was directly in the middle of the hashes and D’Angola has never missed that kick….like literally ever.
4. It appears obvious that you are completely unaware that during the hour-long halftime, McEachern was in there locker room watching film of the first half that they had just played. That sounds like the ultimate home field advantage to me….so McEachern’s players and coaches had an hour to fix their mistakes and make adjustments.
5. McEachern had TONS of opportunities to score in the second half…but they only scored 14 points. I guess you think that NG’s defense had nothing to do with MAC’s struggles on offense LOL.
6. NG had FOUR freaking turnovers and still won the game, and you are still whining about SEVEN freaking points!!
7. Lastly, Michael D’Angola missed a FG in the second half, but if made, the score would have been 30-21 in the end. take away the “Gift” seven points and NG still wins 23-21 (as stated above by SuwaneeOwns).

The only play in the game that I felt that either team was cheated was the personal foul penalty on McEachern’s #15 after he and NG’s #70 wrestled to the ground after the play was blown dead. Replay clearly showed that NG’s #70 shoved last and cause the two players to fall down. That was a really bad call.

The sad part about this game is that most people are going to completely overlook how good NG’s defense played against an outstanding offense. They just keep bending and bending, but never breaking, and bow their necks when the game is on the line.

It was a hard-faught battle until the final whistle. It sucks that one team had to lose.


December 7th, 2013
2:31 am

NGHS09..the TD was legit…it put 7 points on the board…period! Good call/bad call/nice catch, whatever it put a 7 on the board…it can never be changed so it was legit.

The only point I was trying to make in referencing the call was that big calls are made/not made every year in games where losing sends the teams home and the only ones that really suffer are the players and coaches that have to swallow that bad taste for the entire next season while they fight to get back to the playoffs and do it all over again.

I would just like to see the playoffs treated differently than the regular season…maybe it is…extra side judges/back judges, etc…or maybe even review scoring plays only during the playoffs…Suwanee 0wns is still talking about a play that he claims knocked NG from the playoffs years ago..So clearly it still hurts…it would be nice to not have to have any team go through that and it seems like there is at least one every season.


December 7th, 2013
2:39 am

@ SomeoneslookingoutforNG….I couldn’t agree more with your disgust of bad officiating during very big playoffs games. NG has been the victim of a number of questionable calls and “no-calls”. A lot of people don’t recall the NG vs Colquitt game in 2011’s second round of the playoffs. NG got screwed on some personal foul calls…but karma caught up with ole Propst when Grayson beat them. It’s sucks when it happens to your team, but it’s even sweeter when a Gwinnett school beats that team the following weeks!

“the TD was legit…it put 7 points on the board…period! Good call/bad call/nice catch, whatever it put a 7 on the board…it can never be changed so it was legit.”

Now you see I tried explaining this to dear ole Sportsnut on the Friday Night Chat that he was trolling on earlier. He seemed indifferent even though I admitted that I thought the catch was out of bounds LOL, and then told me that I shouldn’t take my “frustrations” out on him. I really hope that this season will prove to be his final step in being humble :) .


December 7th, 2013
4:37 am

His foot hit the gray line which is inbounds. The gray line is there for soccer, his foot was not on the white which is the out of bounds.Looking for blame when the call was correct.


December 7th, 2013
7:02 am

We’ve seen folks blame refs for ever. I didn’t see the play, I couldn’t watch the game. But what has been characteristic of folks who blame refs for losing a game? Most of the time, they are simply sour pusses.


December 7th, 2013
7:29 am

Puddin I come from a family of GHSA officials, and while I agree, I shake my head at some of the boneheaded calls I see, not only at the HS level but also at the college and even professional levels. And they get the benefit of instant replay reviews. There is no solution. There is already a huge shortage of young people wanting to become officials to train up and acquire the necessary skills to becoming competent officials. Maybe increase the compensation and start recruiting young people. Finally GHSA must emphasize training these new hirees


December 7th, 2013
7:38 am

Bottom line is TD play was blown call, tv replays show it clear as day!!! But when you get as many turnovers as we did, we have to capitalize on them and we did not!!! We CANNOT leave the outcome to the refs, we’ll lose everytime! Bad punts also doomed us and bad tackling.
@ NGHS 09 its been nice chatting with you and good luck next Sat!!

and for the last time this season…………


Big Blue Dude

December 7th, 2013
8:40 am

Caught the game on GPB. They need to get rid of the guy doing the color commentary. He talks too much & his use of the English language is horrible. Not sure what a “mishmatch” or “adversatile” mean but this guy used them to describe play. This is shameful for someone doing TV work. Otherwise, a good game.


December 7th, 2013
9:20 am

Gwinnett County would have even more teams in the final games each year if the brackets weren’t designed to knock out each other in round 2…. But WAY TO GO Gwinnett!!!


December 7th, 2013
9:21 am

NG fans I hope you had a wonderful visit to Cantrell Stadium! Sorry about the rain but congrats on the win! Y’all can argue about the TD call all you want but the play that gave the Indians a blow was when NG intercepted the pass the very next play after the Indians did because NG scored a touchdown the very next play! Good Season Indians and remember Matthew 17:20-21! This is one proud alumni!


December 7th, 2013
9:32 am

@UncleIndian…..Bad punts & bad tackling sounds like how Mac got by CH last week.


December 7th, 2013
10:16 am

Great game between two very good teams. NG’s #7 just ran all all over the Mc D, breaking just about every first contact tackle attempt all night. He ran like Gurley. Mc abandoned the pass early in the fourth, which had been very effective all night. NG could not cover those tall fast receivers and that lefty delivers a great ball. North’s defense vs. the run was one of the keys to victory. Have not seen the stats, but the running yards were not there….credit the North D. 292 yds on the ground by #7 enabled North to sustain long drives and overcome 4 turnovers. If North had protected the ball, this one could have been ugly.


December 7th, 2013
10:29 am

Congrats to both teams for making it to the final. On the issue of the bad call, 12 Oaks is lined for soccer and there is no different back line for soccer. Any fan whose field is lined for soccer knows this. Although it was a bad call, there were other situations that could have made a difference. Regardless of what many might say, with the final score being 27-21, that play was indeed important. Without it, the score is tied.

It does not matter now as we have the games participants. Good luck to both.


December 7th, 2013
11:34 am

CONGRATS to NG on a hard fought victory and good luck next week.

BE PROUD, VERY PROUD of what you’ve ACCOMPLISHED this season. For goodness sake, at the beginning of the playoffs nobody even thought we’d beat Newton(REALLY?). If not for a few miscues(our own and some by the refs) maybe things would have turned out differently, BUT SUCH IS LIFE. “There is no shame in defeat, for so long as the spirit is unconquered”.
GREAT JOB INDIANS, looking forward to next season.


NG dog fan

December 7th, 2013
11:46 am

To all who complain about the referees in any game: I have family members who ref high school football all over the state and it’s a thankless job and one which they take VERY seriously. They work and train and learn all year long to do what they do. Here is my suggestion; if you don’t like the way games are called or think the refs are doing a bad job, step up, become a ref and DO IT YOURSELF! I think you would quickly change your tune!!


December 7th, 2013
11:58 am

@ Sportsnut: “Although it was a bad call, there were other situations that could have made a difference. Regardless of what many might say, with the final score being 27-21, that play was indeed important. Without it, the score is tied.”

7 or 3 points, North still wins. That call was not the turning point. The inability to stop the run by MC was the difference. Give credit where credit is due and quit whining about the refs. Take advantage of the 4 turnovers, go to the pass more, stop the run, muster a rushing attack…… not doing these things is “indeed what is important.” Your lame excuses are a veiled attempt to besmirch the North victory.


December 7th, 2013
12:01 pm

I didn’t see the game, but how did T Griffin do at RB for the Indians? No mention of him in this recap.

Orange and White

December 7th, 2013
12:23 pm

Great run, Indians. The North Cobb fans are very proud of you. You played your hearts out, and represented our region very well. You could just as easily be playing this Saturday if the ball bounced a different way. Even though you weren’t region champions, you are champions in my book.

See you next year,

-Orange and White


December 7th, 2013
12:48 pm

It was a great game. Both teams fought hard. NG is down right a tough bunch and play until the whistle blows. I was very impressed with McEachern’s Stadium. It has to be the nicest HS facility in the state and rank top in the country! West Cobb people were pleasant and great host. I didn’t want to make the drive and sit in the rain, but the overall experience was worth it. Great Job McEachern!

MC 12

December 7th, 2013
1:42 pm

I was truly disappointed with the play on the field from both teams. With all the D1 players on the firld I was expecting a better played game. The missed call was a difference in the game , because a 3 point difference changes how you play call versus a 7 point difference. Don’t worry McEachern North will do what they always do in big games (NOT SHOW UP) PLAYERS AND COACHES. NO CHAMPIONSHIPS proves that.
As for the Officials, it is a thankless job because no matter what call or don’t call someone will be unhappy. Like it was previosly stated if you can do better give it a shot or just watch the game and enjoy it. To all Official bashers, I wonder if someone watched what you do at work whether they would see you make mistakes!

Just Listen

December 7th, 2013
1:43 pm

What a great game by both teams and what a class stadium – best I’ve ever been to. What a class team McEachern was to handle the loss. They hung their heads proud and unlike Archer was non hesitant to stand on the field to shake hands. Hats off McEachern you will be a beast to beat for the next few years. NG I’ve been following for a while and what a season you have all had. You have won as a team and took a loss as a team and I couldn’t be more impressed at what you all exhibit on and off the field. When your back was against the wall several times in several late games you went to battle and your years of team comradery paid off. Your offense and defense is amazing and never do we talk kicking, but WOW it’s nice to have a kicker on a team such as your #31 Dangola who exhilarates nothing but confidence and who has made several clutch plays under pressure. We rarely get to see game ending wins by a field goal kicker. Unbelievable season and good luck next week under the Dome lights in the State Championship. You got this and Suwanee BELIEVES! The stage is definitely setup for a great performance.

Suwanee 0wns

December 7th, 2013
2:33 pm

Thinking back on a couple of plays in this game that stand out as omens for the future.

North Gwinnett did NOT want to punt the ball to Mac with any time left on the clock. Sphire called a trick play where the QB runs to the sidelines for additional instructions while the team executes a direct snap to the RB. McEachern players stayed home, paid attention, did their job, and stopped the play. Good job making sure your players were ready, Coach Hockman.

With only 1 play left in the game, Coach Hockman calls a hook and ladder. It didn’t work but that was another good job of coaching by Hockman to give his kids a chance to win the game. No wonder Mac beat CH in the final seconds, the McEachern coaches put the team in a position to win.

Not only does McEachern have some outstanding players who are coming back. They also have a first class creative coaching staff who give their kids the tools to win big games.

I really do think McEachern has a chance to bring home a Championship for Cobb County in the next few years.

Great team. Good kids. Great coaching staff. Good community. And most importantly – good school. Well done McEachern! I wish you nothing but success in the future.


December 7th, 2013
2:38 pm

To many homers. I acknowledge the final score. I also am able to distinguish between reality and perception. The reality is that North won. The perception is that without the non-call, they still would have won. Since we will never know, I just subscribe to the facts. North won.


December 7th, 2013
2:43 pm

@GwinnettDad == It is O.K., you can call me out, I don’t mind. I am happy for you as you got what you wished. I also got something I wanted. Three (3) teams from my part of town in the Dome. Separate classes. AA, AAAA and AAAAA. Good luck.


December 7th, 2013
2:48 pm

@NGHS09 == If you go back and read my post, you will find I never did what you said. It is so easy to lie here. For what purpose? I only made two (2) comments about the play. If there was more, it was in closing. That site is still available. Go read it again and come back and tell me I am lying. I will be waiting.


December 7th, 2013
3:25 pm

Just for the record, folks- on that late first half touchdown, as long as the receiver’s foot was not on the white in the back of the end zone, it was a TOUCHDOWN. The gold line adjacent to it is the soccer boundary. It is correct that the ref was right on top of the call and he indeed made the right one. Just have to tip our hats to NG…coverage by our DB was there (as it was most of the night) but the QB made a perfect throw and the WR made a great catch.

Great football game on one of the strangest December nights I’ve ever seen…North brought a good crowd and both sides stayed jacked throughout the 2nd half, despite the weather situation. Both teams kept focused on the goal out there, getting right back to playing the game despite things becoming a bit chippy at times. Both coaches held nothing back…not a bit of pucker factor by either staff with such a big prize on the line…just a great chess match between two superb staffs.

Proud of this team, both coaches and players- tough that the ride ended but what a great one it has been. Just an excellent job by this staff keeping these young men focused, when late in the season, many were saying things were spiraling out of control within the Indian team. 2014 is finally the class that took it up another notch for the future.