Last year, the Warriors finished as Region 4AAAAAA’s No. 2 seed and made it to the state semifinals.
As a region champion this season, North Cobb’s goal is to go one round further in the Class AAAAAA playoffs and play in the Georgia Dome. The Warriors start their way toward their goal tonight when they take on Luella in the opening round of the 2013 playoffs.
“Obviously when you are in a region with teams like Marietta, McEachern and Hillgrove, you hope that you can play with the best teams in the state,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “We play in a tough region schedule. We preach to our kids all the time that it’s one game at a time, regardless it’s a region game or a playoff game.”
Having played in a region where four teams have been ranked in the top 10 and another having arguably the state’s top running back, North Cobb has already gotten an early glimpse of playoff competition.
The key for North Cobb is to carry the momentum it has after shutting down Campbell and Mike Rogers, Class AAAAAA’s leading rusher, 38-0 to win its first region title since 2007.
The win was a rebound for North Cobb, which did not play its best football the previous week when it fell to Marietta 24-21 on a field goal as time expired.
“Any time you lose a game like we did on a game-winning field goal, the kids knew they had to come back and have a great week of practice and we did,” Queen said. “We looked solid. The kids prepared well and that’s what we preach all week long.
“Now we have a great challenge with Luella (tonight). They’re big, athletic and have a good football team.”
The Warriors will go up against a team that runs the ball out of the Wing T. Queen said the game will likely come down to how well the Warriors tackle and wrapping players up wasn’t an issue in their last game.
The key to North Cobb’s postseason success is returning to its midseason form.
North Cobb bounced back from an early season loss to Walton and won six straight games that included Hillgrove and McEachern. The offense is known to be explosive behind Auburn-bound quarterback Tyler Queen, and its defense can create turnovers — Latrell Gibbs had four interceptions against Harrison.
Still, the Warriors weren’t expected to beat McEachern at home Oct. 18 but scored 14 points in a 78-second span in the fourth quarter to come from behind and win 28-26. The week before, the Warriors prevailed 27-17 over Hilllgrove behind Tyler Queen’s 291 passing yards and three first half touchdowns.
Game: Luella (5-5) at North Cobb (8-2), 7:30 p.m.
Last year: Did not play
All-time series: First meeting
Prediction: North Cobb 42, Luella 20