After beating Kennesaw Mountain by two points and Campbell by three to begin their Region 4AAAAAA schedule, the Eagles’ game Friday with cross-county rival North Cobb came down to one play in overtime.
It was South Cobb that made it to secure a 27-26 victory over the fifth-ranked Warriors at Clay Stadium.
Trailing by six in overtime, after North Cobb (4-1, 2-1) had scored on its drive and failed to convert the point after, the Eagles (5-0, 3-0) needed a touchdown of their own to stay alive.
Quarterback Stephon Masha delivered on the very first play of the South Cobb drive, finding an opening on the right side of the line and darting into the end zone. Carlos Saldana then nailed the extra point to keep the Eagles undefeated.
“For a grown man, there are very few feelings that are better than winning,” South Cobb coach Ed Koester said. “And this was a special win.”
The Eagles are off to their best start since beginning the 1999 season 8-0.
After North Cobb scored on a quarterback sneak by Tyler Queen, it appeared that the Warriors had faked the extra-point attempt and were attempting a 2-point conversion.
But that wasn’t their plan.
According to North Cobb coach Shane Queen, the snap was mishandled. Tyler Queen, who doubles as the holder on kicks, recovered in time to make a throw to the end zone, but his pass was incomplete.
“We didn’t go for 2,” Shane Queen said. “I shouldn’t say it was a bad snap. It was just a bad play. I don’t want to blame it on the snapper, kicker or the holder.”
Chauncey Ingram was key for South Cobb. He caught six passes for 155 yards, the first an 80-yard catch-and-run for a
touchdown in the first quarter that put the Eagles back in the game after trailing 14-0. Ingram also had a 72-yard run early in the fourth quarter to give his team a chance to take the lead with the score knotted at 17-all.
Despite Ingram’s success on offense, arguably his biggest play of the came when North Cobb’s James King intercepted Masha in the end zone and was en route to a length-of-the-field return before Ingram chased him down at the South Cobb 21. The Eagles’ defense then went on to hold North Cobb to a 24-yard field goal by A.J. Borduin.
“There’s not a bigger play this season than that right there,” Koester said. “(Ingram) made up a good 40 yards on (King).”
Trailing 20-17 with 2:54 left, South Cobb had another chance to either tie or take the lead, and a 41-yard keeper by Masha put the Eagles on the North Cobb 30.
Then, penalties by both teams started taking over.
After Masha gained another 3 yards on the next play to put South Cobb on the 27, the Eagles were called for a false start. They responded by gaining 10 yards back on the next snap when Masha hit Michael Bowden.
On third-and-2, South Cobb was called for another false start, and Masha couldn’t complete a pass attempt with North Cobb’s front seven blitzing him. The Eagles then attempted a 44-yard field goal, but they caught a break when North Cobb was flagged for offsides.
Now 5 yards closer to the uprights, Carlos Saldana nailed a 39-yarder with 23 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
South Cobb’s secondary keyed in on North Cobb’s receiving tandem, even though Xavier Borishade still came away with 114 yards on five catches. But the rest of Tyler Queen’s receivers were held to just 34 combined yards, and Borishade only had one catch for 18 yards in the second half.
North Cobb scored two touchdowns during the first 6 minutes of the game while taking advantage of two lost fumbles by South Cobb. J’Vonte Herrod scored the first from 3 yards out, and the second was scored on a 26-yard strike from Queen to Borishade.