After allowing two long South Cobb scoring drives of 70 and 92 yards in the first half, the Warriors defense clamped down in the second and the offense rewarded them with 35 unanswered third-quarter points en route to a 42-13 victory between Region 4AAAAAA unbeatens at Emery Sewell Stadium Friday.
South Cobb took a 10-0 lead into halftime behind a 38-yard field goal from Carlos Saldana and a 1-yard touchdown run from Kylil Carter. North Cobb’s offense sputtered, and a fumble during Mohamed Imneina’s 26-yard field goal attempt kept the Warriors off the board with three minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Everything changed however for North Cobb after the intermission. The 10th-ranked Warriors (4-1, 3-0) scored touchdowns on each of their six second-half possessions, including five in the third period, as the offense rewarded the defense for holding the Eagles (2-3, 2-1) to minus-8 yards of total offense during the frame. North Cobb staked a 35-10 margin entering the fourth quarter before Saldana connected on a 41-yard field goal with 7:01 left in the contest to trim the deficit to 35-13.
“We came out flat in the first half,” said senior inside linebacker Chad McClanahan. “We decided at halftime to come out and play North Cobb defense in the second half. We were playing out of ourselves and out of what we normally want to do. We wanted to get back to the basics, and it worked. We held them to a field goal.”
While the defense kept South Cobb’s offense in check, the Warriors’ offense rolled. J’Vonte Herrod, who had 11 carries, scored four touchdowns — all in the third quarter — and ran for 103 of his 144 rushing yards in the second half.
Torrance McGee rushed five times for 44 yards and a score for North Cobb, while quarterback Tyler Queen completed 10 of 20 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.
North Cobb’s longest scoring drive — its first — only went 60 yards and took seven plays. McGee’s 32-yard run and a 10-yard pass from Queen to Deon Dodd set up Herrod for a 5-yard score.
After a South Cobb 3-and-out, Queen connected with McGee on 49-yard completion that led to Herrod’s 6-yard touchdown run.
A holding penalty prevented the Eagles from gaining a first down on their next drive, and Jalil Kuku and Chandler Wooten combined for a sack on third down, forcing South Cobb into a punting situation.
Herrod’s 26-yard run and Queen’s 23-yard scamper led to McGee scoring from 7-yards out, which pushed North Cobb’s lead to 28-10.
Myles Price’s interception of Carter set North Cobb up at the Eagles’ 22. On second-and-11, Herrod found room through the South Cobb defense for his third touchdown.
Another three-and-out led to Herrod’s 38-yard scoring run on the second play from scrimmage and put the Warriors in front 35-10 with 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“It was just more effort by our defense,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “We did too much in the first half and just kind of overthought things. We wanted to get back to doing what we do.
“Offensively, I’m really proud of the kids for turning things around. To put up 35 points in one quarter was really impressive. Our offensive and defensive lines imposed their will in the second half and just got after it. But, we do have to do a better job in the first half and play better football.”
Saldana’ 41-yard field goal capped a 60-yard, 10-play drive for South Cobb on its opening possession of the fourth quarter.
Latrell Gibbs’ 79-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was nullified due to a penalty, but North Cobb retained possession at the Eagles’ 20. Queen connected with Cam Albright for a 9-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal to cap a six-play drive, resulting in the final 42-13 margin.
Albright had three catches for 27 yards and a score. Dodd had two receptions for 75 yards and McGee caught two passes for 48 yards.
Carter was 8-for-14 for 89 yards and an interception for South Cobb. He also rushed 18 times for 131 yards. Jarrell Pinkney had three receptions for 56 yards.
“The momentum shifted in the second half,” South Cobb coach Michael Youngblood said. “They came out and beat us up front on both sides of the ball. It got out of hand for us.”