Last Friday, the Warriors (9-2) had five interceptions and five sacks against Valdosta in a 42-14 rout, which was Shane Queen’s first postseason victory.
“I can’t even imagine this,” Queen said after the game. “Somebody pinch me and wake me up. The defense just did an unbelievable job. Coach (Chad) McGehee and the defensive staff did an unbelievable job getting kids in the right places and the kids just executed.”
The win was the first state playoff victory by the Warriors since they won the Class C state semifinal over Dade in 1959.
Now, North Cobb will try to win a second state playoff game in the same postseason for the first time in program history.
While North Cobb hasn’t had as much playoff success as it would have wanted over the last few years, Langston Hughes is enjoying postseason for the first time, as the program won Region 3AAAAAA and an opening-round playoff game against Rockdale County.
The one obvious thing that the Warriors have over the Panthers in this second- round matchup is an offense with firepower.
North Cobb comes in not scoring fewer than 26 points the entire season and is averaging more than 40 points a game.
The Langston Hughes defense may be the team’s strength — as it has not yielded more than 17 points in any game — but its level of competition may be a little more suspect. Its only loss of the season came in Week 3, when Wheeler traveled to play the Panthers and beat them 17-12.
But Langston Hughes (10-1) enters this contest as the hotter team.
Backup quarterback Kinan Humphrey threw two TD passes and Keion Davis, who also caught a touchdown, rushed for two scores for the Panthers, who have won eight in a row.
Despite being on a roll, the Panthers’ offense has not blown any team out this season. Langston Hughes averages only 25 points a game, may be a good sign for an North Cobb opportune defense.
Latrell Gibbs, Keionne Rives, Romelo Lewis, Hakeem Sawyer and Cameron Albright all recorded interceptions against Valdosta last week. Albright did his teammates one better by returning his interception for a touchdown. And while the Wildcats couldn’t throw, the Warriors made sure Valdosta couldn’t run either, holding it to 22 rushing yards.
With the win, North Cobb won its fourth straight game, which have all come by double-digit margins, and snapped a 12-game playoff losing streak.
The victory could also be a sign that these Warriors are going to be around for a while. Queen (1,960 yards passing, 804 yards rushing, 34 combined touchdowns) is a sophomore, while Albright (249 yards receiving, four touchdowns) and J’Vonte Herrod (586 yards rushing, seven touchdowns) are only juniors.
“What these kids have done is amazing,” said Queen after the game. “When kids believe in something, it’s a scary thing. They have believed all season long.”