North Gwinnett 35, Norcross 14

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North Gwinnett running back Tyler Goodson warms up before a game on Sept. 8, 2017. His Bulldogs defeated the No. 7 Norcross Blue Devils 35-14. (Photo credit/ Alex Makrides)

NORCROSS – The running-of-the-Bulldogs commenced Friday night at Blue Devil Stadium.

That’s where running back Tyler Goodson and the North Gwinnett offense ran through the Norcross defense for a 35-14 win.

Led by Goodson, the Bulldogs (3-1) rushed for 335 yards and five touchdowns to knock off the No. 7 Blue Devils (1-2), and end a four-game losing streak to their rival. Goodson had 241 of those yards and three of those touchdowns on 22 carries.

The junior foreshadowed his big night on the Bulldogs opening possession where he carried the ball five times for 65 yards and set his team up inside the red zone with a 46-yard burst. Two plays later quarterback Jimmy Urzua, who started his second consecutive game for the injured Texas A&M commit Cade Fortin, punched the football into the end zone from 1-yard out.

It was all Goodson on the Bulldogs second drive, which took only 34 seconds. He broke free following the right tackle for a 16-yard gain. And on the next play, Goodson ran away for a 30-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.

“We made a change, moved Warren Ericson to center that helped a lot, but TJ Skinner and Will Hamilton, they are just excellent blockers, my whole offensive line are just excellent blockers,” Goodson said.

“I am so proud of our line,” North Gwinnett coach Bill Stewart said. “That was a great defense that they played. That group is tough. We knew we had to be physical tonight.”

Goodson continued to be a nightmare for the Blue Devil defense in the second half. He busted open a 51-yard run to open a drive, then powered his way into the end zone to seal the drive and put the Bulldogs ahead 21-7 five minutes into the third quarter.

“We just didn’t tackle well tonight,” Norcross coach Keith Maloof said. “Probably one of our worst performances on defense versus the run but you have to give them credit.”

The Blue Devils didn’t go away though. A 38-yard kickoff return on the ensuing possession set the Blue Devils up at their 46. Running back Clay Harris took the next play 54 yards for a touchdown to narrow the gap.

And just when it looked like the Norcross defense was beginning to figure out the North Gwinnett run game, Goodson kept the Blue Devils guessing. Facing a third-and-8 from 9-yard line, Goodson caught the ball out of the backfield, shook a couple defenders and picked up enough for the first down. On the next play, he broke loose for 21 yards. Later in the drive, he took a fourth-and-3 snap from the wildcat straight up the gut and into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown and pushed the lead to 28-14.

There was no coming back from that back-breaking drive for Norcross as the North Gwinnett defense dominated the rest of the game. The Blue Devils final four drives included a three-and-out, a fumble and two interceptions.

“[Norcross] came out with some good stuff. They got us on our heels a little bit, they were tempo-ing us, and we just adjusted,” Stewart said. “Our kids fought through it.”

With Goodson dealing with cramps on the sidelines, the Bulldogs turned to sophomore Devin Crosby to carry the load for the rest of the game. The result was no different. On four plays, he took the Bulldogs offense 47 yards capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run to make the score 35-14. Crosby finished the evening with 55 yards and a touchdown.

Scoring Plays:

First Quarter:

7-0, 7:22: Jimmy Uruza 1-yard touchdown run

14-0, 4:38: Tyler Goodson 30-yard touchdown run

Second Quarter:

14-7, :49: Louis Williams 1-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKoy

Third Quarter:

21-7, 6:59: Tyler Goodson 2-yard touchdown run

21-14, 6:32: Clay Harris 54-yard touchdown run

28-14, 2:50: Goodson 23-yard touchdown run

Fourth Quarter:

35-14, 9:15, Devin Crosby 1-yard touchdown run

Unofficial Player Stats:

North Gwinnett:

QB Jimmy Urzua: 9/18, 115 yards; 3 rushes, -10 yards, 1 touchdown

RB Tyler Goodson: 22 carries, 241 yards, 3 touchdowns

RB Devin Crosby: 10 carries, 55 yards, 1 touchdown

RB Cam Butler: 8 carries, 19 yards

WR Josh Downs: 4 catches, 62 yards

Norcross:

QB Louis Williams: 11/23, 131 yards, 1 touchdown; 7 rushes, -9 yards

RB Omar Sinclair: 6 rushes, 45 yards; 3 catches, 37 yards

RB Clay Harris: 9 rushes, 66 yards, 1 touchdown

WR Grant Johnson: 2 catches, 26 yards

WR Isaiah McKoy: 3 catches, 53 yards, 1 touchdown


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