SUWANEE -- With its big win over North Gwinnett earlier this season, Norcross had the inside track on the Region 7-AAAAAA title. The advantage from that win came to fruition on Friday night as the Blue Devils (9-0, 7-0) secured the region title with a solid 36-3 win over Peachtree Ridge, breaking North's three-year streak as region champs.
"It feels good to get the region title," Norcross receiver Trey Smith said. "We hadn't done this in a long time."
Smith was part of a receiving corps that teamed up with quarterback Joseph Wilber for three touchdowns. Smith was responsible for one of those on a 31-yard TD reception in the first quarter, while Alvin Kamara had two TDs through the air out of the backfield.
Wilber finished the night with 248 yards passing on 12 of 18 attempts with three TDs and no interceptions.
"They just big-played us tonight," Peachtree Ridge head coach Mark Fleetwood said. "They're a good team and my hats off to them."
Things started off looking like the Lions (3-5, 3-3) were going to take control as the Peachtree Ridge defense forced the Blue Devils to punt on a three-and-out on the game's first possession.
The Lions offense then took over and started an impressive drive, starting on their own 35 and reaching the Norcross 11 on 13 plays. However, that 13th play proved to be most unlucky as quarterback Bryson Sellers fumbled, allowing Kevin Mouhon of Norcross to recover and reach the Lions 29-yard line.
Two plays later, one of the big plays Fleetwood alluded to came from the legs of Myles Autry, who broke a tackle and maintained his balance for a 67-yard TD run.
Norcross' next possession also benefited from a big play when Wilber notched his first TD pass of the night with a nice 31-yard completion down the left side for a 13-0 lead.
"I had a backside go route and (Wilber) threw a great pass," Smith said.
Peachtree Ridge then put together another long drive on the ensuing possession, going from its own 12 down to the Blue Devil 4-yard line. But the Norcross defense stiffened, forcing the Lions to settle for a 22-yard field goal from Connor Rouleau.
"We had two big drives that didn't get us many points and that made it real hard on us," Fleetwood said."
Norcross put in one more score in the first half when Wilber reached across the goal line on a 1-yard sneak, putting the Blue Devils in control 19-3 at the break.
Kamara, who was held in check most of the night in the running game by the Peachtree Ridge defense, showed his versatility in the passing game by catching four passes for 76 yards and two TDs.
His first TD catch came in the middle of the third quarter on a 22-yard toss across the middle, while his second was a 27-yard screen pass around the left end early in the fourth.
"He and (Myles) Autry can do so many things for us," Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said of Kamara. "He came out the backfield tonight and caught two touchdown passes. Peachtree Ridge is so big up front, one the biggest we'll see this year, and did a good job in the run defense but we were able to take advantage of some of the things they were giving us."
Kamara ended the night with 16 carries on the ground for 91 yards with 47 of those coming on a big play in the fourth quarter.
Peachtree Ridge had the game's top rusher in Jordan Ellis, who carried the ball 17 times for 110 yards. However, the Lions struggles in the red zone and troubles with their passing game (29 total passing yards) were too much to overcome.