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Fourth-quarter surge sparks Norcross to 24-7 win

NORCROSS - With nearly no offense to speak of through the first three quarters, big-play threat Tyrece Gaines and pounding fullback Fred Munzenmaier made sure that Norcross ended the evening with a victory 24-7 win over Northview.

Norcross improves to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in Region 7-AAAAA. Northview drops to 2-4, 1-4.

"Early in the game, every time we'd get something going, we'd have a penalty or make a mistake," said Norcross head coach Keith Maloof. "Finally, in the second half, we found something that worked."

That thing that worked was a senior fullback who accounted for 38 yards of a 43-yard, 2:30 drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter. On third-and-seven, Bryce Dykes found Munzenmaier, who converted a short screen into a 24-yard completion. The Georgia commitment then got the call again on the next play, this time running 11 yards to bring Norcross to first-and-goal at the 5.

Two plays later, the fullback pushed through the middle of the line for a 3-yard TD run. After the Trent Hawk kick, the Blue Devils had their first lead of the game, 10-7, with 9:18 to go in the fourth quarter.

"We were trying some different things out there and finally got some field position," Munzenmaier said.

"The offensive line dug in and were out there blocking hard. I was carrying the ball, but it really was everyone out there stepping up that made it happen."

On the next two series, junior defensive back and receiver Tyrece Gaines displayed his athleticism.

Northview caught Norcross offguard on the first play of the following drive. Titan running back Stephen Hancock found Robby Dewling on a halfback pass which would have resulted in six points had it not been for Gaines catching Dewling from behind at the Blue Devil 13-yard line.

Four plays later, Gaines blocked a Northview field goal attempt to prevent the Titans from capitalizing on their big play.

On the following drive, Gaines struck from the other side of the ball when Dykes connected with him for a 53-yard TD to give Norcross a 17-7 lead. Gaines also had an interception in the third quarter to round out his evening of big plays.

Norcross sophomore Dion Dubose sacked Titan quarterback Justin Tuggle for a 17-yard loss late in the fourth quarter, prompting a fourth-and-long play that resulted in giving the ball back to Norcross with 3:04 left in the game.

Six plays later, Norcross sophomore running back Chris Jordan scored from five yards out to complete the 24-7 victory.

On the first series of the game, the Blue Devil defense held Northview to only five yards on three plays. Senior linebacker Darrell Nevels blocked the Titan punt to give the Blue Devils excellent field position at the Northview 21-yard line. Nevels later would intercept a Titan pass and recover a fumble.

Norcross' offense sputtered and settled for a 38-yard field goal by Hawk with 9:45 left in the first quarter.

Northview's only score came with 1:17 left in the second quarter off a Dykes' interception. Titan defensive back Ben Kaplan caught the pass ricocheting off of a Blue Devil receiver and returned it 36 yards for the score, sending Norcross into the half trailing 7-3.

Munzenmaier led the Blue Devils with 83 yards on 16 carries. Dykes completed 11 of 24 for 193 and one touchdown. Gaines had 3 catches for 87 yards and a score.