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Norcross at Duluth preview

Norcross’ Josh Boyd

Norcross’ Josh Boyd

Norcross Blue Devils (7-AAAAAA)

Coach: Keith Maloof

Record: 1-2, 0-1 region

Last week: Lost to North Gwinnett 36-17

Duluth Wildcats (7-AAAAAA)

Coach: Jason Conner

Record: 0-3, 0-1 region

Last week: Lost to Peachtree Ridge 55-17

Norcross’ chances of repeating as region champion took a hit last week when the Blue Devils fell to North Gwinnett. Norcross isn’t out of the region title race, but it needs to win out starting Friday at longtime rival Duluth to have a chance.

“Obviously, they are a much better team than their record indicates,” Duluth head coach Jason Conner said. “They are athletic at every single position. I feel like they are so much better than their record right now. Of course, they are the defending state champs, too.”

Josh Boyd rushed for 100 yards for the second straight week and also had a touchdown.

Duluth allowed more than 400 yards of offense in last week’s loss to Peachtree Ridge. It was the third time since 2006 that Duluth has allowed 55 points or more in a game. The Wildcats threw two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.

“We’re truing the ball over and it’s just mistakes,” Conner said. “When you’re playing excellent football teams you can’t do things to help them. To Peachtree Ridge’s credit, they put pressure on us and forced us to do things.”

Defensive end Evan Ubakanma continues to lead the defense, while receiver Devin Terry has emerged in recent weeks as a playmaker. The Wildcats will be without injured running back Theo Burnette, but Nyles Preston will carry the load.

“We feel like, up front, we’re starting to get some movement,” Conner said. “Hopefully that will help the rest of the season.”

Last meeting: Norcross won 36-7 last year

Directions to Duluth High School: From I-85, take Ga. Highway 120 west to Buford Highway and turn right. Take a left at the next light onto Brock Road and school is on the left.