Norcross tailback Josh Boyd (3) is stopped by Booker T. Washington’s Rashard Frye (23) while returning a kick during Saturday’s game. (Photo: Lily McGregor)
NORCROSS — The great feeling of claiming a Georgia state championship last December quickly faded on a warm night in August for the Norcross Blue Devils.
That came in the form of a 55-0 thrashing at the hands of Booker T. Washington, ranked No. 1 in the nation and apparently clicking on all cylinders as the 2013 season opened at Blue Devil Stadium in from a national TV audience on ESPN.
“Just from the start we had a tough time tonight and, unfortunately, it came against a very good team that made it very hard to come back on,” said Norcross head coach Keith Maloof. “(Washington) showed why they are the No. 1 team in the nation. And for whatever reason, we didn’t play at the level we’ve been playing at and we’ll go back and take a look to see what we can improve.”
For the game, Washington (1-0) scored eight touchdowns, thanks primarily to quarterback Treon Harris.
Harris threw for five TDs and directed a high-powered offense that picked up right where it left off last year when the Tornadoes averaged nearly 50 points per game in 2012.
The Florida State commit finished 23 of 28 for 286 yards and the five scoring passes.
Harris added 58 yards rushing on nine carries and engineered an attack that piled up nearly 400 yards of offense.
Meanwhile, the Washington defense was stifling and shut down the Norcross offense all night long.
Norcross finished the contest with just 135 yards of total offense, including 69 on the ground and 66 through the air.
Norcross quarterback A.J. Bush managed to go just 10 of 25 with an interception while Myles Autry returned from knee surgery during the offseason and had five catches for 30 yards plus three rushes for 12 yards, but two critical fumbles in the first half.
Running back Josh Boyd finished with 36 yards on 10 carries for the Blue Devils.
And just for good measure, the Washington special teams came up with a fumble return for a TD on a Norcross kickoff return and a blocked punt taken into the end zone.
“Everything that happened tonight can be fixed,” Maloof said. “That’s the great thing. We aren’t out here really thinking about a national championship and all that stuff.
“We’re thinking about a region title and a state championship. That’s what we’ll get back to work on Monday.”
Washington got its offense going on the second series of the game as the Tornadoes went 80 yards in eight plays and finished the drive when Harris connected with Krondis Larry on a 9-yard TD pass.
Harris went 4-for-5 on the drive and used four different receivers as Washington took a 7-0 lead with 1:14 left in the opening quarter.
A pair of Norcross turnovers put Washington in business for its next two scores as the Tornadoes built a commanding 21-0 advantage in the first 68 seconds of the second quarter.
After an Autry fumble on his second rushing attempt of the game, Harris hit Demetrius Jackson on a 22-yard scoring pass to make it 14-0.
Then Andre Duncombe scooped up an Autry fumble on the ensuing kickoff return and raced 15 yards untouched into the end zone and it was 21-0.
The third Norcross turnover of the first half came when Bush was picked off near midfield by Brandon Boyd.
Washington wasted no time in making it 27-0 as Mark Walton got loose from 13 yards for the fourth Tornadoes score of the half.
Meanwhile, Norcross was struggling with the turnovers and never got deeper than the Washington 45-yardline in the first two quarters.
Washington continued with its explosive offense to open the second half as the Tornadoes went 65 yards in just four plays, hitting pay dirt when Harris found Terrawn McPhee in the end zone from 18 yards out to make it 34-0.
Washington didn’t let off the gas as the Tornadoes made it 41-0 midway through the third quarter.
A grinding 12-play, 65-yard drive was finished when Harris three his fourth TD pass of the night – a 14-yarder to McPhee.
Washington remained relentless as the Tornadoes blocked a Norcross punt and La’Darius Crump scrambled in from 14 yards out for a 55-0 lead.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON (FL) 55, NORCROSS 0
Washington 7 20 28 0 - 55
Norcross 0 0 0 0 - 0
Washington: Krondis Larry 9 pass from Treon Harris (Jose Borregales kick) 1:14
Washington: Demetrius Jackson 22 pass from Harris (Borregales kick) 10:59
Washington: Andre Duncombe 15 fumble return (Borregales kick) 10:52
Washington: Mark Walton 13 run (kick failed) 7:40
Washington: Terrawn McPhee 18 pass from Harris (Borregales kick) 10:43
Washington: McPhee 14 pass from Harris (Borregales kick) 5:48
Washington: Vaquan Smalls 27 pass from Harris (Borregales kick) 2:24
Washington: La’Darius Crump 15 blocked punt return (Borregales kick) 1:18
First downs 23 7
Rushes-yards 23-95 26-69
Passing yards 286 66
Comp-Att-INT 23-28-0 10-25-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 5-2
Penalties-yards 8-70 2-25
RUSHING – Washington: Harris 9-58; Larry 7-21; Trawone Johnson 3-11; Rashard Frye 4-4; Walton 1-1. Norcross: Boyd 10-36; Ka’Darius Garrett 3-28; Autry 3-12; Bush 10-(-7).
PASSING – Washington: Harris 23-28-0, 286. Norcross: 10-25-1, 66.
RECEIVING – Washington: Lamar Parker 8-85; Deltron Hopkins 4-63; Shaquille Green 2-43; Smalls 2-35; McPhee 4-32; Terron Hopkins 1-16; Larry 1-9; Walton 1-2. Norcross: Autry 5-30; Christopher Herndon 1-17; Shayne Steele 1-12; LaMarcus Hardnett 1-7; Boyd 1-(-5); Malcolm Galloway 1-5.