Junior Tra Wynn rushed for a touchdown and caught another as Osborne ended an eight-game losing skid on opening night with a 25-14 victory over Chapel Hill on Friday at Cardinal Field.
“That’s big,” Osborne coach Xarvia Smith said. “I’m happy. Praise the lord. Our staff has worked so hard. It’s only six of us, but the six men on my staff have just been grinding and putting in a lot of work. They got the kids to believe, and the kids fought.”
Osborne’s last season-opening win came in 2004, in a 10-0 win at Milton.
After holding on to a four-point lead for much of the contest, the Cardinals (1-0) finally put some distance between themselves and the Panthers (0-1) in the closing quarter.
Following Osborne’s second red-zone stop — an interception at the 5 by David Shelton against Logan Johnstone — the Cardinals responded with an eight-play, 75-yard drive. An 8-yard touchdown run by Wynn gave Osborne an 18-7 advantage with 3:47 remaining.
“Just an outstanding job by our secondary,” Smith said. “David made a big play. We talked about someone coming up with a big play and that was crucial at that time. We had two great goal-line stands. Our kids fought through adversity, so I’m very proud of them.”
Chapel Hill, however, had a response and needed just three plays to put the pressure back on Osborne.
After Johnstone completed a 30-yard pass to Maurice Davis, Quincey Shelton sprinted 32 yards to the end zone, cutting the margin back to four just 37 seconds later.
Shelton finished with 225 yards on 34 carries.
After the touchdown by Chapel Hill, the Cardinals returned the favor almost as fast.
Facing third-and-9 on its own 29, Osborne executed a screen pass to perfection. With three Chapel Hill defenders closing in, Craig Robinson lobbed a pass to Wynn, who had plenty of space and blocking, allowing him to race 71 yards down the sideline for the decisive touchdown with 2:12 to go.
“We run a lot from a lot of people,” Smith said. “From McEachern’s staff, North Cobb’s staff and Allatoona’s staff. We work about 20 minutes every day on all kinds of screens. We changed our formation, and the kids executed it to perfection. It was beautiful.”
Chapel Hill turned the ball over on downs on its next possession, and Osborne downed the ball three times to officially seal the win.
In the third quarter, Demetris Davis stopped Shelton at the 1-yard line on fourth down. Tavares Natt caught a 74-yard touchdown pass from Robinson on the Cardinals’ opening drive.