Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Norcross running back Alvin Kamara (6) carries the ball to the 1 yard line against Chattahoochee defenders Myles Hill (1) and Trey Hillman (9) during the first round of Class AAAAAA high school football playoffs in Norcross Friday. Norcross defeated Chattahoochee 34-7.
HIGHLIGHTS: Norcross vs. Chattahoochee
Highlights from the Norcross vs. Chattahoochee football game in which the Blue Devils won 34-7 in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
NORCROSS -- When Myles Autry caught a 64-yard touchdown pass over his shoulder, Norcross head coach Keith Maloof felt pretty good about his team's chances of getting a first-round playoff victory.
"I knew if we could get one more score before the half it would help us out," Maloof said.
It did and No. 2-ranked Norcross rolled to a 34-7 victory over Chattahoochee in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs on Friday.
The Blue Devils (11-0) will host South Gwinnett, a 27-20 winner over Milton, in the second round. Norcross beat South 35-20 in the season opener.
"It's the second round. They are a great football team," Maloof said. "You have to forget about what happened early in the year. Now's the time you have to play your best ball."
Norcross running back Alvin Kamara turned in one of his best performances of the season. The senior rushed for 179 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 21 yards, including a 10-yard score.
Quarterback Joseph Wilber was 10 of 16 passing for 168 yards and three touchdowns. His 64-yard pass to Autry put the Blue Devils ahead 20-0 at the half and they never looked back.
Norcross' defense smothered quarterback Travis Marshall the entire night. The Navy commitment was 6 of 14 passing for 92 yards and an interception. He was sacked six times and constantly pressured by the Norcross front seven.
"We always hope to come out and dominate," said Norcross defensive end Lorenzo Carter, who had two sacks.
JaQuan Frazier led the team with eight tackles, while Kevin Mouhon, Tommy Tate and Michael Marshall each had sacks. Bryant Henderson added an interception.
"We knew they were going to come out and throw it, so we were prepared for it," Carter said. "We just came out here and executed."
Chattahoochee (7-4) had very few scoring opportunities. The Cougars attempted a 54-yard field goal that was no good and faked a 48-yard kick that was unsuccessful. They reached the Norcross 23, but Henderson stopped the drive with his interception. Chattahoochee got to the Blue Devils' 12, but Cole Kinser's tackle on fourth down ended the final scoring threat.
The Cougars' only score came on a bobbled handoff by the Norcross offense that Trey Hillman recovered in the end zone to make it 27-7 in the third quarter.
"When the defense is playing so hard, you hate to give up points," Maloof said. "Because they've worked so hard for that shutout. Any defense wants shutouts on Friday night."
Kamara scored on Norcross' second possession of the game with a one-yard TD run.
Autry's 46-yard punt return in the second quarter set up Kamara's second TD. Kamara caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Wilber to go up 13-0 with 7:01 left in the half.
Wilber threw his second TD pass, a 64-yard catch by Autry to put Norcross ahead 20-0 at the half. Autry was Norcross' leading receiver with three catches for 96 yards.
Norcross committed 12 penalties for 91 yards in the first half and had 19 for 154 yards in the game.
Trey Smith caught Wilber's second TD pass, a seven-yard score to put the Blue Devils ahead 27-0.
After Chattahoochee scored on Norcross' fumble, the Blue Devils went on an 80-yard drive to start the fourth quarter. Kamara finished the series with his third TD of the game, a nine-yard score.
"These guys have played really good," Maloof said. "We were concerned because they (Chattahoochee) are coming off a state championship two years ago, went 10-2 last year, they were a couple of plays from being the No. 1 team over there. You really don't know. I was real proud of our kids."