The victory moved North Cobb (7-2, 5-2) into a three-way tie for second in the region race with Hillgrove and Marietta (6-3,
5-2) with one game remaining. The Warriors close out the regular season next week at Campbell.
“This region is unbelievable,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “Every week there is a shakeup. Marietta played their tails off and fought us every play. We were on pins and needles down to the last play because of their high-powered offense. I’m proud of our kids for persevering, getting the early lead and hanging on late.”
North Cobb scored 17 points off turnovers, including a 25-yard fumble return for Eghosa Agbonghae on the game’s third play and Hakeem Sawyer’s 10-yard interception return that gave the Warriors a 21-7 lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter. Emmanuel Slaughter sacked Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Jennings to cause the fumble.
Marietta got in on the turnover act as well when Chavez Hemphill recovered Andrew Thomas’ blocked punt and returned the ball 5 yards for a touchdown on North Cobb’s first possession.
“Those turnovers were huge,” Shane Queen said. “Our defense got off to a fast start, but in the first five minutes it looked like neither team wanted to win it.”
That changed for North Cobb, which ran a no-huddle offense in the first half and, defensively, blitzed Jennings on multiple occasions, putting pressure on the LSU commitment.
“We like our kids to play fast because when they play fast we tend to make more plays,” Shane Queen said. “We get in a groove and it puts the defense on their heels.”
Tyler Queen completed a 10-yard scoring strike to Xavier Borishade with 2:14 in the first quarter. That started a wave of offense for the Warriors who outscored the Blue Devils 31-7 through late in the third quarter. Queen also ran in from 5 yards out and connected with Cameron Albright for a 31-yard touchdown. AJ Bourdin’s 22-yard field goal put North Cobb up 38-14 with 4:31 left in the third.
“Tyler isn’t the fastest thing in the world, but he’s a smart football player, and he reads things well,” Shane Queen said of his son. “He runs our option-type offense that makes the defense defend 11 guys. He manages our offense well.”
Jennings, who was 24-of-40 passing for 323 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, completed two fourth-quarter scoring strikes to Jordan Mathis and Hemphill, while KirVonte Benson ran in for a 6-yard touchdown in the third.
Albright had five catches for 99 yards and Borishade caught seven passes for 70 yards for North Cobb.
Harris had six receptions for 137 yards to lead Marietta, while Benson had 13 carries for 90 yards.
“We certainly ran into a buzz saw and North Cobb beat us in every way, shape and form,” Marietta coach Scott Burton said. “When you contribute to your own beating with turnovers, that’s a tough pill to swallow. We
couldn’t move the ball very well on them, and they were able to move the ball well on us.”