Norcross dominated the field position battle on Friday night, repeatedly starting inside Meadowcreek territory. That led to several easy scores in the Blue Devils 33-6 win over the Mustangs at Blue Devil Stadium.
With the win, the Blue Devils (5-5, 4-2) locked up the No. 3 seed in Region 7-AAAAAAA, while the Mustangs (7-3, 3-3) settled for fourth.
Norcross lived on the opponent’s side of the 50 Friday evening. The Blue Devils average starting field position was the Mustangs 38-yard line. Through fourth-down stops and turnovers, the Norcross defense gave its offense repeated short field opportunities.
In the first half, Meadowcreek repeatedly went for it on fourth down deep inside its own territory. After the game, Meadowcreek coach Jason Carrera said Meadowcreek never punted in the first half because punter Christopher Linares was benched for an undisclosed reason. Late in the first and second quarters, the Mustangs failed to convert inside their 25, giving the football to the Blue Devils who took advantage.
With under a minute remaining in the first quarter, the Blue Devils forced Meadowcreek into an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-5 from the Mustangs 24. On the next play, Blue Devils quarterback Louis Williams hit running back Dohnte Meyers on a swing pass. The senior picked up a couple of good blocks from his wide receivers down field and trotted into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
Then, with under a minute left in the first half and the score tied at 6, the Mustangs failed to convert on a fourth-and-1 from their 15. Three plays later, Williams found Grant Johnson for a 5-yard touchdown to send the Blue Devils into halftime with a 13-6 lead.
“I was surprised they went for it early,” Norcross coach Keith Maloof said. “But it helped us going into the half. It gave us some momentum.”
Sandwiched in between the two Blue Devils touchdowns was a 6-yard touchdown scamper by Chauncey Williams. The bell cow running back converted a short fourth down attempt earlier in the drive before breaking away for a 28-yard gain to put the Mustangs in the red zone.
That 80-yard drive was the only successful offensive showing the Mustangs mustered for 48 minutes. Meadowcreek only gained 84 more yards the rest of the game. For the most part, the Blue Devils shut down Williams, who came into the contest averaging 223 rushing yards per game. He was limited to just 96 yards on 28 carries.
“We made some adjustments at the half and just executed better,” Maloof said.
Despite the Mustangs punting the football in the second half, the Blue Devils still managed to begin their drives in positive territory. This time though, the Blue Devils forced the Mustangs into turnovers instead of turnover-on-downs.
In the third quarter, Meadowcreek quarterback Quincy Bonner was intercepted by Jaquez McWilliams. The senior retuned the football to the Mustangs 26. Williams hit wide receiver Isaiah McKoy for a 31-yard touchdown a few plays later – the quarterback’s third touchdown of the day.
On the Mustangs next drive, Bonner’s pass was picked off and taken back to the 37. Running back Clay Harris punched in a 13-yard touchdown later in the drive to put the Blue Devils up 27-6 early in the fourth quarter.
“I could tell when we first came out we just weren’t motivated,” Carrera said. “It was Norcross so we had to try and get a little juiced. We tried to create it for them, but there just wasn’t a lot of juice there.”
Norcross locked up the No. 3 seed in Region 7-AAAAAAA with the win. In the first round of the GHSA State Playoffs next Friday, the Blue Devils will travel to Loganville to take on defending state-champion Grayson, who is the No. 2 seed in Region 8.
Maloof said the Blue Devils have to clean up the penalties and special teams if they are to upset the Rams. Against the Mustangs, the Blue Devils committed nine penalties for 87 yards as well as missing three field goals and having two extra points blocked.
With the loss, Meadowcreek will be the fourth seed. However, this is still a milestone for the Mustangs program as they play in their first playoff game since the 1989 season. The task is daunting though as Meadowcreek will face undefeated Archer, who is the No. 1 seed in Region 8.
Carrera said he wants his offensive line to hold their blocks just a little bit longer against the Tigers next Friday and to enjoy the great feat of returning to the playoffs.
6-0: :33 – 4-yard touchdown pass from Louis Williams to Dohnte Meyers (Extra Point blocked)
6-6: 7:57 – 6-yard touchdown run by Chauncey Williams (Failed 2-point conversion)
13-6: :21 – 5-yard touchdown pass from Louis Williams to Grant Johnson
20-6: :36 – 31-yard touchdown pass from Louis Williams to Isaiah McKoy
27-6: 7:30 – 13-yard touchdown run by Clay Harris
33-6: 1:13 – 1-yard touchdown run by Kameryn Jackson (Extra Point blocked)
QB Quincy Bonner: 3/14, 39 yards, two interceptions; 6 carries, 12 yards
RB Chauncey Williams: 28 carries, 96 yards, two touchdowns
RB Qu’Vella Calhoun: 3 carries, 18 yards
QB Louis Williams: 11/18, 105 yards, three touchdowns; 8 carries, 36 yards
RB Clay Harris: 12 carries, 55 yards, one touchdown
RB Kameryn Jackson: 6 carries, 43 yards, one touchdown
WR Isaiah McKoy: 2 catches, 41 yards, one touchdown
WR Dohnte Meyers: 3 catches, 27 yards, one touchdown, 3 catches, 21 yards