Mill Creek quarterback Daniel David (12) gets tackled by Norcross Ridwan Issahaku (7) during Friday’s game. (Photo: Craig Cappy)
NORCROSS — JaQuan Frazier threw his arms up in disgust.
The Norcross linebacker’s pass breakup nearly turned into a interception. He couldn’t be disappointed for too long, though. His Norcross defense just pitched a second-half shutout.
“It’s OK,” he said with a smile. “We play together as a team.”
Behind the Blue Devils’ stout defense, Norcross scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to beat No. 7 ranked Mill Creek 27-13 on Friday.
“The defense played great,” Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said. “We were able to get pressure on them.”
Norcross’ defense forced three punts, had three stops on fourth down and Ridwan Issahaku’s interception ended Mill Creek’s chance at a comeback.
“We challenged the defense a little bit,” Maloof said. “They came out tough and fast on their feet.”
After starting 3-0, it’s the second straight loss for Mill Creek (3-2, 1-2 region). The Hawks are now 0-8 all-time against Norcross.
The Hawks had a 13-10 lead at halftime, but their first three possessions of the second half resulted in punts.
Norcross (3-2, 2-1) regained the lead on Josh Boyd’s 59-yard touchdown run with 8:30 left in the third quarter. Boyd finished with 112 yards rushing on 15 carries for his third 100-yard rushing game.
Norcross extended its lead in the fourth quarter with a 23-yard field goal by Blake Bingham to go ahead 20-13.
The Hawks’ DeVozea Felton had a big kickoff return to the Norcross 40, but the defense came up with another big stop. Fraizer and Warren McWillams sacked quarterback Daniel David on fourth down to end the drive. David was 8 of 20 for 95 yards with one interception.
“The difference was the intensity in the second half,” said Frazier, who had 1.5 sacks and a pass breakup.
Frazier’s 40-yard punt put Mill Creek on its own 14 with 3:23 left in the game. Jean-Baptiste Kouassi had Norcross’ fourth sack on David at the three. Then on fourth down, Frazier batted down a David pass to stop the Hawks again on fourth down.
“The intensity is the best it’s been all four quarters,” Frazier said. “This is just a start of showing people how good we are.”
Norcross quarterback A.J. Bush had a 13-yard touchdown run with 1:46 left in the game to seal the win.
“It sealed it, but anything can happen in this league,” Maloof said. “A two touchdown lead doesn’t mean much.”
Bush rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries and was 12 of 20 passing for 90 yards. He also had a fumble and was intercepted by Gary Holness on fourth down at midfield. Clinton Lynch was Bush’s leading receiver with seven catches for 41 yards.
Norcross and Mill Creek opened the game by trading field goals on the first possessions. Bingham hit a 41-yard field goal for the Blue Devils and the Hawks’ Bryson King kicked a 33-yarder.
Norcross started the second quarter with a 16-yard touchdown catch by Chris Herndon from Bush to regain the lead 10-3.
Mill Creek responded with a 65-yard drive that was aided by a personal foul on third down by the Blue Devils and a fourth-down conversion. The Hawks reached the Norcross two and on third-and-one, Andrew Sciara leaped head first over the line for the touchdown. Carter Governale rushed for 51 yards and Felton had 58 yards.
Sciara, who also starts at linebacker, wasn’t done making plays for the Hawks. The senior recovered a Bush fumble at the 49. The Hawks drove all the way to the two and had to settle with a 19-yard field goal by King to take a 13-10 lead at halftime.
Then Norcross’ stepped up with a shutout in the second half.
“It solidified some things we’ve been preaching to them,” Maloof said. “It doesn’t mean we’ve accomplished anything. We have to continue to get better.”
NORCROSS 27, MILL CREEK 13
Mill Creek 3 10 0 0 13
Norcross 3 7 7 10 — 27
Norcross: Blake Bingham 41 FG, 7:49
Mill Creek: Bryson King 33 FG, 4:29
Norcross: Chris Herndon 16 pass from A.J. Bush (Bingham kick) 11:51
Mill Creek: Andrew Sciara 1 run (King kick) 6:16
Mill Creek: King 19 FG, 1:12
Norcross: Josh Boyd 59 run (Bingham kick) 8:30
Norcross: Bingham 23 FG, 7:08
Norcross: Bush 13 run (Bingham kick) 1:46
First downs 11 14
Rushes-yards 39-182 36-231
Comp-Att-Int 8-20-1 12-20-1
Passing yards 95 90
Penalties-yards 1-5 6-70
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
RUSHING — Mill Creek: Carter Governale 14-51; Daniel David 11-17; DeVozea Felton 6-58; Jordan Sylvain 4-18; Johnathan Hawkins 3-7; Andrew Sciara 1-1. Norcross: Josh Boyd 15-112; A.J. Bush 17-97; James Keeling 1-0; Clinton Lynch 3-22.
RECEIVING — Mill Creek: David 8-20-1, 95. Norcross: Bush 12-20-1, 90.
PASSING — Mill Creek: Austin Ragsdale 1-21; David Curry 1-10; Hawkins 1-7; Felton 2-25; Joseph Hull 1-11; Braden Canamare 1-8. Norcross: Chris Herndon 3-35; Clinton Lynch 7-41; Jared Pinkney 2-14.