Valdosta Daily Times

December 16, 2012

Jefferson, Norcross, Sandy Creek and ECI win state championships


The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Bryant Shirreffs gained 310 total yards and rushed for three touchdowns to lead Jefferson to its first state title with a 31-14 victory over Calhoun in the Class AA championship game Saturday.

Shirreffs, who was of 12 of 18 passing for 171 yards, carried 24 times for 139 and scored on runs of runs of 2, 1 and 1 yards as Jefferson won its 14th consecutive game after an opening loss to Commerce.     

Calhoun’s Taylor Lamb completed 26 of 39 passes for 279 yards, connecting with Tydus Curtis for a 75-yard TD and hitting Logan Walraven from 17 yards out.  

Jefferson’s only previous trips to the championship game came in 1975 and 1977, while Calhoun was playing for a title for the fifth consecutive year. The Yellow Jackets lost three straight times to Buford before winning last year.   

Calhoun cut Jefferson’s lead to a touchdown when Lamb hit Curtis deep midway in the third quarter on the first play after Carter Edwards intercepted Shirreffs’ pass at the 25-yard line. Curtis had six catches for 134 yards.

But Lamb was picked off by Micah Carpenter right after a Jefferson fumble and Shirreffs scored from a yard out late in the third quarter to put the Dragons up by two touchdowns again.

Chandler Schlutow’s 36-yard field goal early in the fourth padded the lead.

It was the second state championship for Jefferson’s T. McFerrin. The veteran coach won a Class AA title at Elbert County in 1995.     

Jefferson led 21-7 at halftime and Calhoun’s touchdown was set up by a Dragons turnover.  

Tristen Jackson, who finished with 85 yards on 18 carries, scored from the 1-yard line to cap a 14-play, 74-yard drive following the opening kickoff. But Calhoun’s Tristan Fuller recovered a Jefferson fumble at the Dragons’ 29 and Lamb hit Walraven for a 17-yard TD with 29 seconds left in the first quarter to tie the game.

The second quarter belonged to Jefferson. Shirreffs capped a 70-yard drive with a 2-yard run and the Dragons then went 86 yards after stopping Calhoun on fourth down. Shirreffs passed Jefferson down the field and scored on a sneak from a yard out.

Kamara guides Norcross over Lovejoy 21-14 in final

Alvin Kamara had a 61-yard touchdown reception to put Norcross ahead and then scored on a 10-yard run to cap a fourth-quarter comeback as the unbeaten Blue Devils defeated Lovejoy 21-14 for the Class AAAAAA state championship Saturday night.   

The title was the first in more than 50 years of football for Norcross (15-0), which had never made it past the quarterfinals before this season.

Lovejoy (13-2) led 14-3 before Joseph Wilber connected with Myles Autry for an 11-yard touchdown with 7:17 remaining. He then hit Kamara deep with 4:26 to play for the go-ahead score. Kamara’s clinching TD came with 1:33 remaining, and he finished with 119 yards rushing on 33 carries.  

Alejandro Bennefield had touchdown passes of 60 yards to Jumichael Ramos and 6 yards to Brandon Davis for Lovejoy, which lost to Tucker in the Class AAAA championship game last season.

Jaquan Frazier intercepted a long pass by Bennefield to wrap up the Blue Devils’ victory and allow Keith Maloof, in his 17th season as Norcross coach, to match his father with a state championship. George Maloof coached St. Pius to a state title in 1968.

Lovejoy still had one last chance because Norcross failed on a pair of two-point conversion attempts and missed a long extra point after the final TD was followed by a 15-yard celebration penalty.

Kamara’s rushing TD came after Lovejoy went for it on fourth down and Travis Custis was thrown for a loss with 3:16 left.

Wilber was just 6-of-14 passing, with most of his 90 yards coming on the bomb to Kamara. It was Kamara who connected with Clinton Lynch for a 34-yard gain to highlight the 60-yard drive for the Blue Devils’ first TD.    

Bennefield found Davis open in the corner of the end zone to push Lovejoy’s lead to 14-3 with 1:34 left in the third quarter. The Wildcats had to cover just 31 yards after Montrell Custis recovered a Kamara fumble.     

Joseph Mahfood kicked a 31-yard field goal with 5:47 left in the third quarter to get Norcross within 7-3. The kick came after Jordan Noil intercepted a Bennefield pass and returned it 30 yards to the 14.

The Blue Devils had been threatening to score on their series before the field goal. But Lynch fumbled after a 16-yard gain on a flanker reverse and Tyrell Brown recovered for Lovejoy at the 6-yard line.  

Lovejoy defeated North Cobb 63-42 in the semifinals and Norcross beat Colquitt County 41-27, but the first half was a defensive battle.

Lovejoy, which had missed a 38-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter, finally broke the scoring draught when Ramos got behind the Norcross secondary and hauled in Bennefield’s pass for a 60-yard score with 1:30 left before halftime.

Norcross, which was outgained 172-65 in the first half, threatened once. But Wilber bobbled the snap on a fourth-and-4 from the 28 and was thrown for a 12-yard loss.



Sandy Creek routs Ridgeland, 45-10

ATLANTA (AP) — Cole Garvin threw for 249 yards, Delvin Weems and Eric Swinney each had two touchdowns and unbeaten Sandy Creek won its third state championship in four years with a 45-10 rout of Ridgeland in the Class AAAA title game Saturday night.    

Garvin, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter, was 13-of-18 passing, including a 37-yard TD pass to Kyle Williams. Weems rushed for 96 yards on 10 carries, scoring on runs of 30 and 11 yards. Swinney’s TDs included a 6-yarder and a 1-yarder.     

Sandy Creek (15-0) won state titles in 2009 and 2010 before losing in the quarterfinals last year. The Patriots are 67-3 since the start of the 2008 season.

Ridgeland (13-2) trailed 38-0 before Evan Courtney kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:54 left in the third quarter. The Panthers’ touchdown came on a 38-yard halfback pass from Darrell Bridges to Vonn Bell.



ECI trounces Dooly

ATLANTA (AP) — Greg Purcell gained 142 yards on 25 carries, running 50 yards on one of his three touchdowns, as Emanuel County Institute won the Class A public school state championship with a 47-7 rout of Dooly County.  

James Brown had a 26-yard touchdown run, caught a pass for a 53-yard score and returned an interception 48 yards to set up a touchdown for ECI, which also won a state title in 2007. Brown carried 14 times for 135 yards.   

The victory was the 12th straight for ECI (13-1) and the margin was the largest in a state championship game since Buford defeated Lovett 50-0 for the Class AA title in 2007.

The Bulldogs’ only loss was to Class AAA Washington County in the second week of the season.   

Dooly County (11-3) had a six-game winning streak snapped. The Bobcats scored on a second-quarter 19-yard run by Chanin Hamilton.