The playoff drought is over for North Cobb.
The Warriors intercepted Valdosta quarterback Shelby Wilkes five times, including three in the decisive second quarter, and went on to rout the visiting Wildcats 42-14 Friday in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
It was the first victory in the state playoffs for North Cobb since 1959, when it beat Dade in the Class C semifinals. North Cobb’s last postseason victory came against Wheeler in a region playoff game in 1979. The Warriors had been 0-12 in the playoffs since.
North Cobb (9-2), the No. 2 seed from Region 4-AAAAAA, will play its second-round game at Langston Hughes next weekend. Valdosta, the No. 3 seed from Region 1, finishes the season at 7-4.
North Cobb broke the game open with three touchdowns in seven minutes late in the first half to take a 28-7 lead and wasn’t threatened the rest of the way.
Cameron Albright intercepted Wilkes and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown with 8:28 to play in the half, giving North Cobb the lead for good at 14-7. Tyler Queen threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Borishade to make it 21-7 before an interception by Latrell Gibbs set up another Warriors touchdown. His 20-yard return gave the Warriors the ball at the Valdosta 5, and Queen scored on the next play for a 28-7 halftime lead.
Keionne Rives’ interception near midfield stopped Valdosta’s final drive of the first half, and Romelo Lewis and Hakeem Sawyer had third-quarter interceptions.
Queen finished with 157 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 23 carries. His 24-yard scoring run with 3:17 to play was the final scoring of the night. Queen’s passing numbers weren’t great, but he was efficient. He completed four of 17 passes but had 154 yards and two touchdowns, including a 45-yarder to Borishade in the third quarter.
J’Vonte Herrod added 93 yards rushing on 13 carries and had an 11-yard scoring run in the first quarter that tied the game at 7-7.
Wilkes was 19-for-46 passing for 266 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 21-yard pass to Taijuan Smith early in the third quarter to cut North Cobb’s lead to 28-14. In addition to the five interceptions, Wilkes was sacked five times for 24 yards in losses.
Valdosta – 7-0-7-0 – 14
North Cobb – 7-21-7-7 – 42
V – Nelson Herring 6 run (Brennon Goodson kick)
N – J’Vonte Herrod 11 run (A.J. Borduin kick)
N – Cameron Albright 18 interception return (Borduin kick)
N – Xavier Borishade 62 pass from Tyler Queen (Borduin kick)
N – Queen 5 run (Borduin kick)
V – Taijuan Smith 21 pass from Shelby Wilkes (Goodson kick)
N – Borishade 45 pass from Queen (Borduin kick)
N – Queen 24 run (Borduin kick)