Dion Dubose didn’t want to take his helmet off and D.J. Adams couldn’t stop smiling.
Young fans were asking for photos and friends and family couldn’t give enough hugs.
That is what Norcross’ 24-14 win over North Gwinnett meant to the Blue Devil players and fans. The win was more than a second straight Region 7-AAAAA championship. More than a No. 1 seed entering the playoffs. More than ending Norths undefeated season again. It meant momentum. It meant redemption.
"For two years in a row, I am proud of our program and I am proud of our football team," said Norcross coach Keith Maloof. "People didn’t think we could do it."
The Bulldogs (9-1, 7-1 region) came into the game in the driver’s seat in the region. They were unbeaten and coming off a bye. And Norcross (9-1, 7-1 region) had labored for a 31-21 win over a mediocre Collins Hill team the week before.
None of that mattered Friday.
The high-flying Norcross offense took the ball on the opening drive and instead of exploding for yards through the air, all but 2 of the 80 yards came on the ground.
Adams opened the game with two 16-yard carries. Then on a second-and-10 from the 46 the junior exploded up the middle and into the open field and bolted into the end zone. Adams rushed for 204 yards.
"The holes were beautiful," Adams said. "We just got it done. We got it done."
North answered on its first drive, scoring on a slant to Cordero Dixon who sprinted 55 yards for the tying score. But, Norcross hit back, this time on a 20-yard pass from Nick Sorel to Brice Butler for his first of two touchdowns on the night.
Butler caught 5 passes for 140 yards.
Kenny Miles ran for 227 yards and a touchdown as the Brookwood rusher put himself amongst Georgia’s all-time elite runners in a 28-3 win over Parkview.
Miles’ 200-plus game put him into the top 10 of single-season rushers in county history, rushing for 2,178 yards this season.
The senior now ranks eighth on the list behind Duluth’s George Rogers.
Greater Atlanta Christian running back Micah Andrews holds the top spot with 2,871 yards rushing.
Besides Miles’ accomplishment, Brookwood got three scores from Terence Davis.
He had a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, a 9-yard TD run in the third and a 14-yard score in the fourth.
Jag’s go down
Michael Patrick scored two touchdowns and the Douglass defense came up late with an interception to beat Stephenson 13-12.
Douglass safety Rodney Wright intercepted a pass with 1:28 remaining as the Jaguars were driving for a potential game-winning score. It was redemption for Wright, who two plays earlier dropped an interception.
Bobby Petrino ran for 110 yards, had two interceptions and a fumble recovery to help Greater Atlanta Christian to a 10-6 win over Holy Innocents.
The son of the Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino was a starting safety last year as a sophomore on a tradition-rich Louisville Trinity team that won a Kentucky state title.
Greater Atlanta Christian took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter when Christian Robinson caught a 6-yard pass from Colton Chapp.
Andrew McGonnigle returned a kickoff 96 yards in the same quarter for a touchdown, but the extra point was missed.
The Spartans went ahead for good in the third on a 37-yard field goal by Robert Boccolucci.