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Norcross, South open season against Florida powers

Reader poll

Will Norcross repeat as football state champions?

  • Yes 50%
  • No 50%

217 total votes.

Defending state champion Norcross will have a pretty good idea if it has a title worthy team again in the season opener.

The Blue Devils will host Florida state champion Booker T. Washington on Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. in a doubleheader televised on ESPN. The other game will feature South Gwinnett against Lincoln (Fla.) at 3:30 p.m.

"I think it's definitely exciting," Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said. "They are a very successful program and have great athletes."

Norcross finished the year ranked No. 3 in the nation by MaxPreps, while Washington was No. 13. MaxPreps recently ranked the Norcross vs. Washington game the No. 2 interstate high school matchup of the season.

Washington (13-1) won the Class 4A state championship last season and was runner-up in 2011. The Miami school has three major Division I prospects in linebacker Chad Thomas, receiver Lamar Parker and athlete Treon Harris.

Norcross (15-0) won the Class AAAAAA state championship and returns 16 starters. The group is led by Lorenzo Carter, one of the top rated defensive ends in the country. Linebacker Kevin Mouhon and athlete Myles Autry are also highly recruited.

Lincoln has been one of Florida's most successful programs the last 15 years. The Tallahassee school was the Class 7A state runner-up last year and won the state championship in 2010. Lincoln has a pair of Division I recruits in cornerback Kendall Rudolph and linebacker Jeff Williams, who is committed to Louisville.

"I know they have a storied history, so it's a great challenge for us," South Gwinnett head coach John Small said.

South (9-3) reached the second round of the playoffs last year, losing to eventual state champion Norcross. The Comets' only losses were to Norcross twice and 2011 state champion Grayson.

South features a trio of college prospects in receiver Coray Keel, running back Josh Boyd and offensive lineman Dennis Edwards.

"It's the first time we've played on ESPN and an out-of-state school," Small said. "It's a great step for our program."

The doubleheader at Norcross will be part of a big day for Gwinnett County football. The county will have four teams participating in the annual Corky Kell Classic at the Georgia Dome. Peachtree Ridge will play Walton, Grayson will battle Colquitt County, North Gwinnett will take on Camden County and Brookwood will face McEachern.