North Cobb’s offense had its way against second-ranked McEachern on Friday, but it still took a big special teams play and a late defensive stand to save the Warriors.
Torrance McGee returned a kickoff 94 yards with 8:17 to play to put the Warriors ahead for good, and they held on for a 28-26 victory over the Indians to move into first place in Region 4-AAAAAA.
The victory leaves North Cobb in full control of the region championship race. The Warriors (6-1, 5-0) are the only undefeated team remaining in region play, and they have beaten all three of the one-loss teams. McEachern (7-1, 5-1) falls into a virtual three-way tie for second place with Harrison and Hillgrove, and the Indians play them both in their final two games.
North Cobb finished with 530 yards in total offense but still trailed 19-14 with less than nine minutes to play because of key turnovers and the failure to take advantage of good field position. The Warriors threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and turned the ball over on downs three times – all in McEachern territory.
North Cobb built the lead to 28-19 less than a minute after McGee’s return on a 5-yard pass from Queen to Devin Granville. But McEachern answered with a 59-yard touchdown run by Ty Clemons, his second of the night. North Cobb’s victory wasn’t secure until Clemons threw an incomplete pass on fourth down at the North Cobb 42 with 28 seconds to play.
North Cobb outgained McEachern 266-99 in the first half but threw two interceptions and had a fumble and led just 7-6 at halftime. Queen passed for 156 yards in the half and gave the Warriors the early lead with a 26-yard touchdown pass to McGee with three minutes to play in the first quarter.
McEachern did not have good field position for most of the first half but took advantage the one time it did.
An 11-yard punt gave the Indians the ball at the North Cobb 39. McEachern put together a six-play drive and scored on an 11-yard run by Alizee Chubbs with 4:28 to play in the half. McEachern missed the extra-point attempt and trailed 7-6.
Queen finished with 273 yards passing and 82 rushing, while J’Vonte Herrod rushed for 178 yards for the Warriors.
McEachern – 0-6-7-13 – 26
North Cobb – 7-0-7-14 – 28
N – Torrance McGee 26 pass from Tyler Queen (Mohamed Imneina kick)
M – Alizee Chubbs 11 run (kick failed)
M – T.J. Rahming 52 pass from Ty Clemons (Dennis Dominguez kick)
N – J’Vonte Herrod 17 run (Imneina kick)
M – Ty Clemons 85 run (run failed)
N – McGee 94 kickoff return (Imneina kick)
N – Devin Granville 5 pass from Queen (Imneina kick)
M – Clemons 59 run (Dominguez kick)