Norcross at South Forsyth
When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at War Eagle Stadium in Cumming.
Records, rankings: Norcross is 7-3, 4-3 in Region 7-AAAAAA and unranked; South is 9-1, 8-1 in Region 6-AAAAAA and unranked.
Series history: Norcross leads 3-1.
Last meeting: Norcross won 27-3 in 2014.
What to know: South is making its second playoff appearance in as many years after a 10-year drought, and this time they’re coming in hot. Unlike last season, when the War Eagles entered the playoffs one week after losing by 33 points to Lambert, they’re heading into Friday’s game against Norcross as possibly the top under-dog in Class AAAAAA. There’s not a lot of pressure, and this South team looks like the best since the school began playing in Georgia’s highest classification in 2004, then Class AAAAA.
Meanwhile, Norcross is seemingly limping into the postseason. The Blue Devils, who started 7-0 and were considered a state title contender, were shutout two weeks in a row by Peachtree Ridge, 31-0, and Mill Creek, 24-0, before dropping a heartbreaker to Collins Hill last week with playoff seeding on the line.
There’s some fool’s gold in those results. Norcross has struggled with offensive consistency this year, playing a two-quarterback rotation, but the defense is loaded with talent. Kendrec Grady, committed to Iowa State, and Jarrett Cole, Georgia Tech, anchor a dominating secondary, while sophomore defensive end Robert Beal is a prospect in the making. Norcross’ defense has forced 24 turnovers this season and has five defensive touchdowns.
South’s strength is its health, as well as its offense, with Davis Shanley throwing ropes and running for big gains, Jalen Camp and Ronnie Chambliss provided dynamically different weapons on the outside, and tight end Cameron Kline and tailback Sam Outlaw putting pressure on the defense up the gut. South is scoring 39.3 points per game and have allowed just single digits seven times this year, including the last three games, but the fool’s gold in that is the fact they’ve faced anemic offenses much of the year.