Caption

Three teams win their first state championships

Three Georgia football teams won their first-ever state championships this season, and two others broke droughts that dated to the 1970s.

Georgia’s other two state champs – Norcross (Class AAAAAA) and Buford (AAA) – were the only teams to start and finish the season ranked No. 1. Both won state titles in 2012.

Winning for the first time were Creekside (AAAAA), Aquinas (A private) and Marion County (A public). Griffin (AAAA) hadn’t won since 1978. Lovett (AA) hadn’t won since 1970.

Norcross defeated North Gwinnett 31-14 in Saturday night’s championship game. Myles Autry’s 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown helped get Norcross out of a 14-0 hole in the first quarter, and his 69-yard TD reception from A.J. Bush – who threw for 303 yards – put the game on ice with 9:39 left. Norcross scored the final 31 points.

Norcross, which started the season 1-2, became the first team to win back-to-back championships in the highest class since Camden County in 2008 and 2009. Norcross also became the fifth team in 18 tries to avenge a regular-season loss in a state championship game. North Gwinnett had beaten Norcross 36-17 on Sept. 13.

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Buford, which defeated Washington County 35-19 in the finals, won its 10th state title, ninth in 13 seasons and six in seven. Buford became the first team in state history to break 700 points in a season, finishing with a state-record 707.

Creekside, which opened in 1990, defeated Tucker 52-28 and became the first state champion from south Fulton County since Palmetto in 1983.

Griffin beat Carrollton 56-35 in the highest-scoring state final in history. Lovett, which defeated Lamar County 14-7, became the first private school to win a state title higher than the lowest classification since Marist in 2003.

Aquinas, established in 1957, became the first Augusta school to win a state championship since Josey in 1995. Marion County, a 12-3 winner over Charlton County, dates its football history to 1976 under the name of Tri-County. Marion County became a one-county high school in 2006.

Aquinas, the only unbeaten team in the lowest classification, got the No. 1 spot in the combined Class A rankings.

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