Norcross Blue Devils (7-AAAAAA)
Coach: Keith Maloof
Record: 3-2, 2-1 region
Last week: Beat Mill Creek 27-13
Habersham Central Raiders (7-AAAAAA)
Coach: Michael Pollock
Record: 0-5, 0-3 region
Last week: Lost to Peachtree Ridge 49-0
The defending Class AAAAAA state champions hit the road for a matchup with lowly Habersham Central, which is winless this year after going 1-9 last season. The Raiders have scored just a field goal in three region games this season, losses to Collins Hill, Mountain View and Peachtree Ridge.
That isn’t a good sign when the next game is against a Norcross that held Mill Creek’s powerful offense scoreless in the second half a week ago.
“We’ve just got to go in with the mindset that every region game is important,” Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said. “We don’t want to take a step back. We want to keep getting better.”
The Blue Devils have shaken off a pair of losses to Booker T. Washington (Fla.) and North Gwinnett and have gotten back on track with back-to-back region wins over Duluth and Mill Creek. The offense got the job done last week with running back Josh Boyd and quarterback A.J. Bush both playing key roles, but the defense was particularly impressive a week ago.
Mill Creek had scored 41 vs. Dacula, 44 vs. Brookwood, 42 vs. Mountain View and 30 vs. Peachtree Ridge, but it was held in check by Norcross. It was Mill Creek’s lowest scoring output since 2011.
“The defense just came out and played lights out,” Maloof said. “They played the way we knew they could play all year. They’ve shown flashes of it, but they put it together last week.”
Jaquan Frazier led last week’s defensive effort with 19 tackles (three for losses) with 1.5 sacks and three pass breakups, as did Warren McWilliams (12 tackles, two for losses, 1/2 sack) and Ridwan Issahaku (12 tackles, two pass breakups, one interception).
Last meeting: Norcross 55-0 last year
Directions to Habersham Central High School: I-85 north to I-985 north, which turns into Ga. Hwy. 365. Get off on Clarksville exit, or Ga. Hwy. 197 and go toward Clarksville. At stop sign, turn right and school is on right.