The Warriors scored on their second possession, when junior quarterback Tyler Queen connected with senior wide receiver Torrance McGee for a 38-yard scoring strike.
North Cobb (1-0) then poured on 34 more points in the first half as senior running back J’Vonte Herrod rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries.
“We had the first-game jitters and were slow to get started in the first half, but once we got rolling, our playmakers settled down on offense and started making some plays,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “We got to play a lot of kids in this one, which is always nice.”
The Warriors are coming off a season in which they scored a county-record 574 points through 14 games — an average of 41 per game. Through their first game of 2013, they’re slightly ahead of the pace set by last year’s 42-point opener
Tyler Queen connected with Herrod for a first down on the Warriors’ first play from scrimmage, but he missed on his next three throws and was just 6-for-14 in the first half.
The younger Queen said he wasn’t worried, knowing he has Herrod to hand the ball off to.
“When you have a game like I did with those mistakes, it is great to have guys there to support you,” Queen said. “Our defense did a great job, and J’Vonte carried it for three touchdowns to pick up my slack I was letting up.”
Shane Queen agreed with his son’s assessment of Herrod’s talents.
“He is a bull as a 215-pound running back,” the elder Queen said. “He broke a lot of arm tackles in the first half and that is a testimony to what he has done in the weight room. He had some tough runs, he got banged around a little bit, but he continued to fight.”
Herrod said the holes in front of him were wide-open all night.
“My line did the best they could to hold their blocks, so I just followed behind them,” Herrod said. “They carried the offense.”
Shane Queen said he enjoyed watching the five new starters on his offensive line meld into a unit to lead the way to victory.
“Our offensive line is young. We lost all five starters, but obviously, those guys stepped in and played tremendously for a first game,” Queen said. “I have said all along that those two parts of our team — offensive and defensive line — will be the key to how far we go this year.”
Starr’s Mill (0-1) gained a mere 8 yards of total offense in the first half and did not record a first down until late in the second quarter. The Panthers gained 110 yards on what was primarily the Warriors’ backup unit in the second half.
Before John Smith rumbled 34 yards for the Panthers’ only touchdown on the evening late in the third quarter, the team had recorded only two plays of more than 10 yards in the game.
“Our defensive coordinator, coach (Chad) McGehee, always has those guys ready to go,” Shane Queen said. “The kids feel confident they are always in position to make a play.”
Tyler Queen added a second touchdown through the air in the first half, with a 16-yard scoring pass to McGee, and senior punt returner Latrell Gibbs took a Mitch Pattison punt 60 yards on a reverse from sophomore Deshaun Wiggins.
McGee scored the Warriors’ only points in the second half on a 7-yard touchdown run.