Stephon Masha’s 11-yard touchdown run with 48 seconds left in the game completed a 13-play, 76-yard drive that took 6 minutes, 36 seconds to complete and gave the Eagles a hard-fought opening game victory.
“I knew it would be a tough battle and it was,” South Cobb coach Ed Koester said. “Some of the things I was concerned about came true.”
Masha led the way for South Cobb with 281 total yards. The senior quarterback completed 13 of 25 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown, while rushing for 111 yards on 19 carries and two more scores, including the game winner in the final seconds.
Wide receiver Jeremiah Alphahet came up with big plays as he caught three passes for 111 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown reception from Masha, while running back Chauncey Ingram rushed for 102 yards on 12 carries.
“Stephon Masha stepped up and did a great job,” Koester said. “(Wide receiver) Ryan Sumner was fantastic — his contribution isn’t going to be statistically noticeable, but he did a good job for us. Alphabet made the big catches. Chauncey Ingram — he’s got a nice running style.”
Ingram’s 11-yard run and an extra point from kicker Carlos Saldana put South Cobb in front 22-14 with 11:51 remaining in the the game, but Westlake came back with a 9-yard scoring run by Jordan Thomas and a two-point conversion pass from Renard Battle to Tyrone Pope to tie the game up at 22-all with 7:32 left.
South Cobb began its next drive with 7:24 left as the Eagles methodically marched down the field.
Masha played a big role, with a 16-yard run, a 12-yard pass to Ingram and a 19-yard run for his biggest plays, as he helped move the Eagles down to the Westlake 11 with 59 seconds left.
Masha, then, proceeded to put the finishing touches to the drive and the game as he sprinted down to the end zone untouched with 48 seconds left and Saldana provided the extra-point kick to give South Cobb its final margin of victory.
“I told the kids ‘it’s an 80-yard drive and you’ve got to have it to win, so that’s what you’ve got to do,” Masha said.
Westlake scored on the very first drive of the game to take a 6-0 lead as Thomas scored on a 7-yard run with 8:25 remaining in the first quarter and the Lions’ extra-point kick attempt was blocked.
South Cobb finally got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter as Masha’s 5-yard touchdown run and Saldana’s extra-point kick with 3:28 remaining in the first half capped off a 12-play, 83-yard drive and gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead that they carried into the locker room at halftime.
The Eagles didn’t take long to add to their lead at the beginning of the second half as it took them only three plays by Masha — runs of 14 and 15 yards and a 29-yard scoring pass to Alphabet with 11:31 left in the third quarter — as well as a two-point conversion run by Chris Simon to make it 15-6.
Westlake struck back later in the third quarter as a 69-yard punt return by Orlando McKinney to the South Cobb 1 set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Maurice Parks, who also ran in the two-point conversion, and helped the Lions cut the Eagle lead to 15-14 with 3:54 left in the quarter.