The Eagles went undefeated in pool play in the National Select 7-on-7 Qualifier at Lassiter High, scoring the most points in their pool (149) and allowing the least (77).
“Overall, it was a good day for South Cobb,” said first-year coach Sherrod Rainge, who is reinstalling the no-huddle spread offense used when he was offensive coordinator under former coach Ed Koester in 2011, when the Eagles won their first state playoff game in team history.
South Cobb, Northview, Alpharetta and Hoover (Ala.) were the lone unbeatens among the 32 teams in pool play. All the teams will be seeded for the double-elimination tournament bracket, which starts today. The champion of today’s bracket play will earn a spot in the national tournament next week at Hoover, Ala.
South Cobb, which played in the morning session, originally finished with a 5-0 mark, but the afternoon games were pushed back late into the evening as a result of a long lightning delay.
Since the teams that played in the afternoon, were unable to get all five games because of the weather delay, the teams that played in the morning didn’t count their final game of pool play.
South Cobb opened pool play with a 26-15 win over North Paulding, and a 31-9 victory over Mays. The Eagles then won a 28-25 barn-burner over Walton, cemented by Javaris Harrell’s interception.
They went on to beat Chattahoochee 37-12 behind a pair of interceptions by Sam Lindsay and a pair of touchdowns by receiver Khaleel Shaw. A 27-16 win over Columbus was the one that ultimately did not count.
South Cobb quarterbacks Kylil Carter and Troy Hill didn’t throw a single interception in the five games.
“I was really impressed with our defense, that allowed our offense to do their job,” Rainge said. “We had good safety play with Chris Stewart, and Reno Harris, an upcoming sophomore, also had solid day at cornerback.”
Hillgrove, which is seeking a new starting quarterback after making a run to the Class AAAAAA state quarterfinals last fall, went 3-1 in pool play that opened with an 18-17 win over Lassiter. The Hawks went on beat Creekview 25-6 and Whitefield Academy 31-0 before losing 24-20 to Shaw.
Tournament host Lassiter was 1-2-1 during the morning session. Walton finished 1-3, and Whitefield, which suffered from a lack of depth, was 0-4.
For the Trojans, a late interception was costly against Hillgrove. They beat Jonesboro 33-26 on Pearson Vanhorn’s touchdown catch in the corner.
Lassiter tied Centennial 28-28 and lost 28-17 to Duluth.
“We’re competing well and showing some youth,” coach Jep Irwin said.
North Cobb and Kell were in the same pool during the afternoon, and both ended up 3-1. However, it was Kell which came from two touchdowns down to beat North Cobb 24-21.
Auburn-bound quarterback Tyler Queen had 12 touchdown passes and just one interception for North Cobb after the first three games.
North Cobb’s wins came against Rabun County (26-13), Valdosta’s “B” team (24-2) and Shaw (20-4). Kell also defeated the Valdosta “B” team (35-7), but it struggled in a 23-17 loss to Jefferson.