BY FLETCHER PAGE
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2013 STATE title winners, from back-to-back titles for Norcross at 6A, to the break- through of Marion County at 1A and
everywhere in between.
CLASS 6A CHAMPIONSHIP:
NORCROSS 31, NORTH GWINNETT 14
Rematch. Revenge. Repeat.
Norcross won its second straight 6A state
title by defeating North Gwinnett 31-14, avenging an early regular season loss to the Bulldogs.
It didn’t start out in the Blue Devils favor.
North Gwinnett built a 14-0 lead from the jump
behind two touchdown throws by quarterback
It was all Norcross from there. The Blue Devils
reeled off 31 straight points, with quarterback
A.J. Bush finishing 17 of 23 for 303 yards and
two touchdowns and star Myles Autry scoring
on a kickoff return and a long catch and run.
Defensively, Lorenzo Carter was the marquee
name. But the Blue Devils received massive production from seniors Jaquan Frazier, who had 14
tackles and Kevin Mouhon, who added 12 stops.
It was a complete team effort and put an
exclamation point on what coach Keith Maloof
said was a season full of valuable teaching moments. Maloof said his team faced adversity,
such as losing two of the first three games to
open the season and falling behind by two
touchdowns in the final game.
Each time when faced with a challenge, Norcross found a way.
CLASS 5A CHAMPIONSHIP:
CREEKSIDE 52, TUCKER 28
It was quite a season for Olten Downs in his
first year as the head man at Creekside.
He led the Seminoles to their first-ever undefeated season, knocking off perennial favorite
Tucker in what many considered the most exciting of all the state title games played in the
Georgia Dome in 2013.
Dexter Knox ran for five touchdowns and
the Seminoles added numerous big-yardage
plays to defeat the Tigers in a track meet full
Quarterback Felix Harper completed eight
of his 14 passes for 209 yards, including a 77-
yard strike to Jayson Stanley.
Tucker’s Joe Farrar passed for two touchdowns and Yaquis Shelley added a long scoring
run. It wasn’t enough.
This was Creekside’s time in the spotlight.
CLASS 4A CHAMPIONSHIP:
GRIFFIN 56, CARROLLTON 35
This was the state title stage where state
records were set. In the highest scoring state
championship game in Georgia history, it was
Griffin that scored the most to take the crown.
Quarterback Jaquez Parks passed for 338
yards and ran for another 216 — setting the
state title game record with 544 yards total. He
scored five touchdowns, leading Griffin to its
first title since 1978.
The loss was especially hard for Carrollton
to stomach considering the team took a 14-0
early lead and led 21-7. The early momentum
didn’t last. Griffin never punted and outscored
Carrollton the rest of the way.
CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP: BUFORD 35,
WASHINGTON COUN TY 19
Yes, Buford won again. But no, this one wasn’t
easy. Washington County, thanks to dynamic
quarterback A.J. Gray and a stingy defensive effort, jumped out to a 13-0 lead and maintained
an advantage into the third quarter.
The Washington County offense eventually
relented to the mighty Wolves. Buford went on
a 35-6 run to end the game, coming up with the
biggest play of the game mid-fourth quarter to
kill the Hawks spirit for good.
Leading 21-13 with less than nine minutes to
play, the Wolves stopped Gray on a fourth-and-one,
stuffed by senior linebacker Korie Rogers. It was
the pivotal play Buford needed to finish its foe off.
The Wolves claimed their ninth state title in
13 seasons and second straight at the 3A level.
Washington County gave it a good run, but
the Buford bandwagon wasn’t to be stopped.
CLASS 2A CHAMPIONSHIP:
LOVETT 14, LAMAR COUNTY 7
Who doesn’t love a good pitcher’s duel?
With most of the state title games featuring
lots of long plays and plenty of points, the 2A
state title was determined by good old-fashioned, hard-nosed defensive work.
And for some, that’s just as exciting as prolific
offensive play. It suited Lovett just fine.
A Grant Haley 41-yard touchdown run in the
third quarter broke a 7-7 tie, giving the Lions their
first state title since 1970. The long rushing score
was a fitting end for Haley, who hit the 1,500
mark for the season and scored 27 touchdowns.
CLASS 1A PUBLIC: MARION COUNT Y 12,
CHARLTON COUNTY 3
Marion County’s football program came into
existence nearly a decade ago and started winning more often than not around 2009.
2013 marked the Eagles first state title. After
three seasons of coming close, Marion County
wasn’t to be denied this time. Much of the credit
goes to Lorenzo Smothers. As a sophomore on the
biggest stage, Carter rushed for over 100 yards,
scored a touchdown and had an interception.
It was the kind of performance people will
be talking about for many years to come. The
Eagles defense turned in an elite performance,
stopping Charlton County, the winners of four
state titles since 1999, from gaining a single
first down in the second half.
Charlton County is considered Georgia football royalty. It might not be long before Marion
County is in the same discussion.
CLASS 1A PRIVATE:
AQUINAS 27, CALVARY DAY 7
Welcome to Aquinas, James Leonard.
Surely the Fighting Irish faithful hope the ball
coach sticks around for a long, long time.
Leonard led Aquinas to an undefeated record
and a state title in his first season in charge.
Not bad for a program that had never won a
region title in its existence.
Junior tailback Ruben Garnett ran for 111
yards, quarterback Liam Welch passed for two
scores, both to Daniel Lindsey.
The Fighting Irish defense totaled five quarterback takedowns and three interceptions,
completing a full-team effort victory.
GISA STATE CHAMPIONS:
3A: WESTFIELD SCHOOL
2A: MEMORIAL DAY SCHOOL
1A: ROBERT TOOMBS ACADEMY
The Realm of Champions
Norcross overcame an early two-touchdown deficit in a
revenge win over North Gwinnett.
Dexter Knox found the end zone five times as Creekside
knocked off Tucker for the 5A crown.
QB Jaquez Parks gained a state record 544 total yards,
leading Griffin to its first state title since 1978.