Staff Photo: John Bohn Norcross defensive back JaQuan Simpkins (4) blocks a pitch out from Mill Creek quarterback Daniel David (12) to running back Andrew Sciara (34) as Mill Creek attempted to score from the one-yard line during the third quarter. Simpkins recovered the ball and ran for a Norcross touchdown.
HOSCHTON -- Mill Creek was able to rally from a 10-point deficit last week.
A 35-point hole was too much on Friday against No. 3 ranked Norcross.
The Blue Devils got three touchdowns from Myles Autry as Norcross held off a late Hawks rally to win 49-41.
"It's a win in this league," a relieved Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said.
The victory puts Norcross (5-0, 3-0) in a tie for first place in Region 7-AAAAAA with Collins Hill. The Blue Devils, who are trying to win their first region title since 2007, will play the Eagles in two weeks on Oct. 12.
Mill Creek (3-2, 2-1) trailed 10-0 at halftime to Peachtree Ridge a week ago. The Hawks were down 21 points before the first half ended on Friday to Norcross. The Blue Devils' JaQuan Simpkins returned a Mill Creek fumble 91 yards to give Norcross a 49-14 lead with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
But Mill Creek rattled off the next 27 points to get back in the game. Norcross' Brandon Garner recovered the Hawks' fourth turnover of the game to end a game-tying score.
"You can't be satisfied battling back," Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis said. "I'm extremely proud of our kids' effort."
Norcross scored on five of its six possessions in the first half. The only time they didn't score was when Joseph Wilber was intercepted by Brandon Holley on the Blue Devils' third possession.
Wilber was 12 of 22 passing for 224 yards and two TDs and rushed for another score. Trey Smith had four catches for 51 yards and Clinton Lynch caught three passes for 72 yards.
"You can't say enough about Joseph," Maloof said.
Autry had a 47-yard TD run when he was bottled up at the line of scrimmage. Alvin Kamara broke a pair of tackles for his 24-yard run and the Blue Devils led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
"That got me going," Autry said.
Kamara scored his second TD on a four-yard run to finish a 54-yard drive. The senior had 118 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Autry added two more scores on eight- and 52-yard touchdown catches. He finished with 85 yards rushing and five catches for 81 yards.
"He's a special being, special player," Maloof said.
Mill Creek's Daniel David scored on the Hawks' first possession on a 31-yard run. The sophomore guided Mill Creek to another scoring opportunity in the final minute of the first half. David got the Hawks to the 24-yard line before being intercepted for the first time this year by Simpkins.
Michael Cheeks had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 2:20 left in the half to make it 28-14.
"At halftime, I told the team this game is not over," Autry said. "They came back last year."
Shon Akins recovered a muffed kickoff return by Mill Creek to give Norcross the ball at the 31. After a pair of penalties, Wilber threw a 20-yard pass to Lynch to set up the QB's one-yard TD run.
Simpkins returned a David fumble 91 yards to put Norcross ahead 49-14 with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
"We can't make mistakes like we did against a team as good as Norcross," Jarvis said.
Mill Creek put together a comeback by scoring on its next four possessions. A big kickoff return by the Hawks and an unsportsmanlike penalty by Norcross, set up Jacorey Lewis' 16-yard TD run. David guided a 70-yard drive to set up his 12-yard score to trail 29-28 going into the fourth quarter. Lewis rushed for 84 yards on 15 carries.
"(Linebacker) Kevin (Mouhon) got hurt and that took a little punch out of our defense," Maloof said.
DeVonzea Felton caught a 10-yard TD pass from Daniel and then a 24-yard TD catch to pull the Hawks to 49-41 with 6:56 left in the game after a failed PAT. David was 16 of 29 passing for 247 yards.
"They're high school kids. What do you do? You teach them about not running up the score, but then they come back and make it a ball game," Maloof said.
Norcross' defense was finally able to stop Mill Creek by forcing a turnover and stopping them on downs on the final two possessions.
"We had to come back and finish it off," Autry said.