Norcross storms past Packers in preseason clash

Kandi Forte

Colquitt County and Norcross met in the 2012 semifinals and the Blue Devils claimed a 41-27 victory before grabbing the 6A state title over Lovejoy. Norcross and Colquitt County return to 2013 with the majority of its starters and are two favorites for the Class 6A state crown.  In order for these programs to adequately prepare for their grueling schedules, the North and South Georgia powers agreed to square off in exhibition.

Colquitt County head coach Rush Propst went 0-2 against Gwinnett County’s Region 7-AAAAAA in 2012. The season opened with a last-minute 16-14 loss to North Gwinnett in the Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic, and then Norcross ended the Packers’ season 13 games later.

The Packers do not shy down from road trips or a challenging opponent and have slated what has been argued as the toughest 2013 schedule in the country. The Packers will open the season with Grayson in the 2013 Metro PCS Corky Kell Classic on Aug. 24. Scrimmaging a Gwinnett power in Norcross this past Saturday was a dress rehearsal for when the Packers tee off two Saturday’s from now in the Dome with the Rams.

The varsity squads played the entire first half of the scrimmage, and it was a thrilling one. Norcross received the ball first but Colquitt County’s defense had the edge early. Bull Barge is one of nine returning starters on the Packers’ defense and forced a Blue Devil punt on the opening drive. Colquitt County quarterback Daniel Mobley hit Sihiem King on a short dump-off pass and the 5-foot-8 junior raced 50 yards for the touchdown past the stout Norcross defense.

The Norcross offense took to the field again, but Colquitt County’s defense forced another punt. This time the Blue Devils botched the snap and the Packers were able to down the ball deep in Norcross territory. Mobley threw his second touchdown pass of the opening quarter on a 10-yard toss to Marquan Greene and Colquitt County led 14-0.

South Gwinnett transfer Josh Boyd is stepping into the Norcross backfield for Alabama signee Alvin Kamara, who sparked the Blue Devils offense to a state title last season. Boyd brought the Norcross deficit to 14-7 on a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

The second quarter was all Blue Devils and they added their final three touchdowns to secure a comfortable lead. Milton transfer AJ Bush threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Clinton Lynch to tie it at 14-14. Later, KaDarius Davis scored a 20-yard rushing touchdown, and finally Bush found Christopher Herdon for his second touchdown pass of the quarter to make it 28-14. The defense yielded Colquitt County success early through the air, but suffocated the Packers for the remainder of the game. On the ground, Colquitt County finished minus-15 yards rushing and allowed four Norcross sacks.

Norcross head coach Keith Maloof did not use the elusive Myles Autry in the scrimmage for precautionary reasons and the senior will return to the field healthy for the season opener against Washington, Fla. on ESPN on Aug. 24. Both teams face some of the toughest schedules in the state, and the programs will start the season with an extra dose of big game experience that resulted in this preseason test.

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