South Forsyth War Eagles (6-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Jeff Arnette
Last week: Had a bye
Norcross Blue Devils (7-AAAAAAA)
Coach: Keith Maloof
Last week: Beat Archer 31-14
The 2020 Norcross already has carved out a spot in school history with an unbeaten regular season, making it one of only five Blue Devil teams to accomplish that feat. Four of those have been coached by Maloof — 2020, 2016, 2012 and 2006.
The perfect season and the Region 7-AAAAAAA championship are exciting feats, but not the ultimate goal.
“I’m happy for the kids and happy for the program, but that’s behind us now,” Maloof said. “We’ve got to look ahead now.”
Up next is a Friday home game against South Forsyth, Norcross’ first-round opponent in the state playoffs for a second straight season. The Blue Devils shut out South Forsyth 21-0 last year to open the playoffs.
The War Eagles got off to a 4-0 start this year, then went 1-4 in region play. However, they did put a serious scare into region champion West Forsyth in a 41-34 overtime loss.
“They’re good, the same as last year,” Maloof said.
Norcross won its region championship showdown with Archer last Friday thanks to an energetic defense and a ground game led by the physical Jahni Clarke, who had 28 carries for 137 yards and a touchdown. Kaleb Jackson added seven carries for 63 yards and a TD, and both benefited from a good night from Micah Green (87 percent blocking grade, seven pancake blocks) and the offensive line. Zion Alexander had a big 72-yard TD run along with a pair of pass breakups on defense.
Linebackers Jalen Garner (17 tackles, three for losses, one sack) and Zakye Barker (nine tackles, two for losses, two sacks) continue to be playmakers for the Norcross defense, which also got six tackles (two for losses) from Kamren Lark.
With a win, Norcross is back at home for the second round against the winner of Mill Creek and Roswell.
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Last meeting: Norcross won 21-0 last year
Location: Norcross High School