Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Norcross defenders Kevin Mouhon (48) and Lorenzo Carter (25) stop Lovejoy's Travis Custis (22) during the first half of Saturday's game in the Class AAAAAA state championship game at the Georgia Dome.
ATLANTA -- Norcross' defense did everything it could to slow down Lovejoy's high-powered offense.
The Wildcats went into Saturday's Class AAAAAA state championship game at the Georgia Dome averaging 43 points a game. Norcross' 21-14 victory was the second-fewest points scored by the Wildcats all year.
Lovejoy running back Travis Custis, a Georgia Tech commitment, came into the game having rushed for 2,058 yards and 35 touchdowns. He was held way below his season average of 147 yards a game. Custis had just 59 yards on 20 carries with no touchdowns, including two yards on 11 carries in the second half. He was stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Lovejoy 43 with 3:16 left in the game when Cole Kinser made the initial stop and Jamarcus Connally and Lorenzo Carter tackled him.
Lovejoy had just five plays of 15 yards or more. The biggest blemish on the Norcross defense was a 60-yard touchdown catch by Jumichael Ramos, a Tech commitment, from Alejandro Bennifield in the first quarter.
The Norcross defense, led by Jaquan Frazier's nine tackles, gave the Blue Devils a chance to score early in the third quarter. Jordan Noil intercepted his team-leading sixth pass of the year and returned it 30 yards to the 14. Tommy Tate made seven stops and Lorenzo Carter made six, including three tackles for loss.
Lovejoy's other touchdown was on a six-yard TD pass in the third quarter after a Norcross fumble on its own 33.
The defense sealed its stellar performance with Frazier's interception with 45 seconds left in the game.
Kamara finishes prolific season
Alvin Kamara had the greatest single season for a Norcross running back this year. He put an exclamation mark on his career in Saturday's title game, rushing for 119 yards on 30 carries and one touchdown.
He's the first Norcross running back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season and will rank among the county's all-time best single-season rushers.
His 2,239 yards are No. 11 all-time in a single season, trailing Duluth's Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers' 2,286. Greater Atlanta Christian's Micah Andrews holds the record with 2,871 yards in 2002.
Autry, Jones limited
Two of Norcross' best players this season -- Myles Autry and Jahmal Jones -- saw limited action in Saturday's game against Lovejoy.
Autry, who was injured last week against Colquitt County, played only 15 snaps. The Blue Devils didn't throw the ball his direction until the fourth quarter. Autry caught a pass at the five and stuttered stepped into the end zone for an 11-yard score.
The junior was one of Norcross' most dynamic players this season, leading the team in receiving with 43 catches for 611 with nine touchdowns. He was also the team's second-leading rusher with 560 yards and six TDs and had four punt returns for scores.
Jones was injured in the Blue Devils' quarterfinal win over Camden County. He didn't play in last week's game or Saturday's contest despite being dressed out. The defensive end was third on the team in sacks with nine.
Gwinnett's title run continues
Gwinnett County's championship run in the highest classification continued when Norcross defeated Lovejoy on Saturday.
The county won the last two state championships in the highest classification with Brookwood victorious in 2010 and Grayson in 2011 and now Norcross continuing the streak.
Clayton County's Lovejoy has not won a state title since defeating Morrow in 1987.
Norcross had to go on the road to win some of its biggest games of the year and they did it again on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
The Blue Devils beat Region 7-AAAAAA rivals North Gwinnett, Mill Creek, Collins Hill and Peachtree Ridge on the road.
They then had to travel to South Georgia to knock off state-favorite Camden County.
The road success continued with a victory over Lovejoy in the Class AAAAAA state finals.
Maloof saves St. Pius grads
DeKalb County's St. Pius had a trio of alumni head coaches in the state finals and only one came away a winner.
St. Pius' Paul Standard lost to Buford in the Class AAA finals and Ware County's Ed Dudley fell to Gainesville in the Class AAAAA championship on Friday. Norcross' Keith Maloof was the only St. Pius grad to get a win with a victory over Lovejoy in the Class AAAAAA title game.