By J.S. Scredon
DULUTH - Here's the first half game plan for Norcross: throw the ball long and high near the end zone and 6-foot-3 wide receiver Brice Butler will haul it in for the score.
Norcross struck early with two Nick Sorel to Butler touchdown passes, and Butler added a third score in the second half from quarterback Charles King as Norcross blasted host Duluth 47-12 Friday night at Duluth's Cecil Morris Field.
Before and after the three TD strikes to Butler, which covered 36, 38 and 28 yards, the Blue Devils utilized powerful running back D.J. Adams to pound away at the Wildcats. Adams rushed for 144 yards on 18 carries and scored one TD on a 15-yard scamper near the end of the first half.
"We want to move the ball around the offense with all of the skill people we have," said Norcross head coach Keith Maloof. "The passing game worked well, and now we have a big back that can pound the football when we need it."
Sorel's first TD pass to Butler opened the scoring just before played was stopped for more than one hour due to lightning. "It was supposed to be a post pattern," said Butler, a USC commit. "But the safety was deep, so I cut off the pattern and blocked the defender with my body." The score covered 38 yards. But Duluth answered the Blue Devils' with a touchdown late in the first period on a 19 yard run from Quinton Cobb. The PAT was blocked and Norcross led 7-6.
Duluth forced Norcross to punt on its next possession, but the Wildcats caught a bad break when the bouncing punt nicked a Duluth player attempting to block for the ensuing return and Norcross recovered. On the next play, Sorel hit Butler on a "go" route down the left sideline on the next play and Chris Tanner's extra point made it 14-6.
The Norcross defense didn't allow Duluth to mount another drive in the first half, holding quarterback Michael Box to two completions for nine yards in the half. Adams' 15 yard run made the score 20-6 at halftime.
Norcross added two touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game away. After Sorel hit wide receiver Devonta Bolton with a 9-yard strike, second team quarterback Charles King tossed a 28-yard score to Butler. Maloof clearly likes his 1-2 punch at quarterback.
"Nick (Sorel) did a great job handling the offense, and Charles played well, too, after he settled down in the second half," Maloof said.
Sorel completed 8 of 10 passes for three TDs and 145 yards. Duluth's Box finished 12 of 19 for 106 yards and one TD.
12 FIRST QUARTER
Norcross: Brice Butler 38 yard pass from Nick Sorel (Chris Tanner kick) 7:53
Duluth: Quinton Cobb 19 yard run (kick blocked) 2:00
Norcross: Butler 36 yard pass from Sorel (Tanner kick) 0:00
Norcross: D.J. Adams 15 yard run (kick failed) 1:32
Norcross: Devonta Bolton 9 yard pass from Sorel (Tanner kick) 9:35
Norcross: Butler 28 yard pass from Charles King (Tanner kick) 6:36
Duluth - Nic Wilson 28 yard pass from Michael Box (pass failed) 11:40
Norcross - Prince Kent 28 yard pass from King (kick failed) 7:35
Norcross - Trey Wallace 14 yard run (Tanner kick) 3:40