The result was a 27-17 victory over Hillgrove in Region 4AAAAAA action at Cobb Energy/Hillgrove Stadium.
The Warriors improved to 5-1 overall and remained undefeated in region play. The sixth-ranked Hawks, meanwhile dropped their first game of the season and fell to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the region.
North Cobb quarterback Tyler Queen was 10-of-16 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to give the Warriors a 27-17 advantage at intermission. Nine of his 10 completions went for 15 yards or more, while seven went for 20 or more yards.
“Our plan was that (Hillgrove gives) two looks on defense — either a 3-4 or a 4-3,” Queen said. “We wanted to give them different stuff out of what they showed us and take our shots. Our offensive line played outstanding and the receivers made plays that gave us big chunks of yards.
“These are the games that define you. We knew it would be a physical game. We had a great week of practice and came in prepared to execute our plan. The coaching staff put us in a good place to get a very emotional win.”
Hillgrove got on the scoreboard first with a 12-yard touchdown run from Richardre Bagley. Bagley carried the ball on each play of the drive, including a 24-yard scamper on the second play, until capping the drive with his scoring run with 8:36 on the clock.
But North Cobb answered back less than 2 minutes later, behind a six-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Queen finding Cameron Albright for a 28-yard touchdown reception.
A Hillgrove fumble near midfield led to Queen throwing a 29-yard touchdown to J’Vonte Herrod with 3:35 remaining in the first quarter. A 19-yard pass from Queen to Latrell Gibbs converted a third-and-8 that kept the drive alive for the Warriors.
After the ensuing kickoff, Hillgrove had good field position at its own 37 and managed to move the ball to the North Cobb 35. Quarterback Elijah Ironside converted a first down pass to Justin Denton on fourth-and-15, but a penalty nullified the play and the Hawks elected to punt.
Reed Hall’s punt settled at the Warriors’ 1-yard line, but that didn’t matter to Queen and the North Cobb offense. His first pass went for 30 yards to Gibbs, he found Deshaun Wiggins open for a 67-yard touchdown three plays later, putting North Cobb ahead 21-7 with 11:07 remaining in the second quarter.
“He’s a gamer,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen of his son. “The bigger the stage, the better he seems to play. He loves it and rises to the occasion. I’m proud of him and this football team.
“Our defensive coordinator, Chad McGehee, and offensive coordinator, Tom Clark, had a great game plan for (Friday). Those guys should get a lot of the credit, too.”
Hillgrove had a chance to pull to within seven. A long drive and two pass interference penalties helped put the Hawks on the Warriors’ 8-yard line. But a 10-yard holding penalty and two incomplete passes led to Andrew Gaughn converting a 36-yard field goal that left Hillgrove trailing 21-10.
After a 40-yard kickoff return from Herrod set North Cobb up at Hillgrove’s 34, Tyler Queen soon connected with Wiggins for a 20-yard touchdown and 27-10 lead midway through the second quarter.
Wiggins finished the game with three catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
The Hawks responded with a five-play, 68-yard drive capped by Ironside’s 28-yard pass to Denton. Denton also caught a 31-yard pass to convert on third-and-10 and ended the game with seven catches for 102 yards.
North Cobb drove to the Hillgrove 20 on its final possession of the first half, with Queen finding Albright for 45 yards on a fake punt and connecting with Herrod for a 38-yard reception, but Devin Knight intercepted Queen’s pass in the end zone to end the drive.
Neither team scored in the second half. Gaughn’s 40-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter fell short, and Hillgrove’s final possession of the game stalled out at the Warriors’ 25.
“We had opportunities to score, but didn’t do it,” Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside said. “North Cobb’s a good team. They made plays. It’s a disappointing loss, but we’ll get through it.”
Herrod finished with 14 carries for 106 yards, while Albright had three catches for 103 yards. Queen was 12-of-21 passes for 307 yards.
Elijah Ironside was 22-of-46 for 218 yards and a touchdown, and Bagley had 23 carries for 128 yards.