4 Thoughts 4 Game Day
The Norcross Blue Devils hold a 13-8 record over the North Gwinnett Bulldogs. Both coaches have had a lot of success at their respective programs. Head Coach Bob Sphire is in his tenth season at North Gwinnett and Keith Maloof is in his 17th season at Norcross. This matchup features a tale of two different seasons for each team.
The Bulldogs are currently 2-3, which is unfamiliar territory for them. Coach Sphire put it this way: “I’m not pleased with where we are at all. This falls on me.”
On the other side of the field, you’ve got the Blue Devils sitting at 5-0. And while North Gwinnett is coming off of back-to-back losses (getting shutout by region opponent Mill Creek 28-0 last week), Norcross is coming off of a shutout as well… a 47-0 victory over Duluth.
That being said… here are four things that stand out to me the most about this matchup:
1. NORTH GWINNETT: D, D, D, Defense!
The Bulldogs are young with a defensive line bookended by some serious talent in Drew Jordan and Dixon Yellott. Both are juniors. What makes them so good is that they play off of each other and have chemistry. They each have two sacks so far on the season. I had the opportunity to meet Drew Jordan this week. He’s 6’3’’, 230 pounds so naturally, he towered over me and his Defensive Coordinator Jason Thompson. Norcross will have to find a way to keep both of these guys at bay because once this duo gets going they’re tough to slow down. My biggest takeaway from watching their film? There is no quit in them.
*Side note: Jordan has offers from Boston College, Clemson, Wake Forest and Duke.
2. NORTH GWINNETT: Spreading The Love
The Bulldogs have the talent on offense, but against Norcross, it’s all about finding the consistency throughout the game. QB Cade Fortin is a sophomore. So far this season, in just five games, he’s been sacked 12 times. He’s 59-114 on completions with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He’s found a friend in senior WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (12 receptions, 223 yards) but truthfully, North Gwinnett has a lot of targets to choose from offensively. It seems like they spread the ball around and mix it up in the air and on the ground.
3. NORCROSS: RUNning Away With It
The Blue Devils, on the other hand, tend to be more of a run-heavy offense. So first priority for the Bulldogs is to make them one-dimensional as soon as possible. Nothing seems to rattle QB Baron Radcliff. He can take any play and turn it into a major gain. At 6’4’’ and 215 pounds, he’s really tough to bring down. This is a guy who adds an extra element to the running game that the entire defense has to be aware of. However, Norcross also has QB Max Tracey, who recorded 3 touchdown passes in their victory last week. Both are ranked in the top 25 in the state, according to Max Preps.
4. NORCROSS: Hold ‘Em
The Blue Devils have done a good job holding off their opponents. They opened up the season against 6A heavyweight Valdosta in week one. While Norcross narrowly won that game 34-31, their last four opponents since then have only earned a total of 23 points combined. They’ve scored four defensive touchdowns this season, two of them at the mercy of safety Monty Montgomery. DE Robert Beal leads the team in sacks with four and 11 quarterback hurries. That being said… a tough test lies ahead for the Bulldogs offensive line.
This game will be broadcast on TV tonight only on GPB, starting at 7:00 PM. On the go? Well you can also stream it live from your phone. Search “GPB Sports” in the app store, download it for free to keep up with us tonight. See y’all then!