Then, there were others, like Harrison, Walton, Kennesaw Mountain and Osborne, which had strong leads late in the fourth quarter and held on for the victory.
Hillgrove, North Cobb and Kell can’t make either of these claims.
They all found themselves in fierce battles up until the final whistle was blown.
Hillgrove found itself in a different position Friday after winning a 47-35 shootout over Lassiter to begin the regular season. The Hawks had their hands full against Shiloh before pulling out a 14-6 victory in the final minute to move to 2-0 on the season.
The Hawks’ offense did its part against Lassiter, but it was the defense which saved the day against Shiloh, creating four turnovers and picking up an interception with 26 seconds left to maintain the road win.
Leading 7-0, the Hawks forced a turnover deep inside their own territory, and the offense turned the miscue into points, giving Hillgrove a 14-0 lead it held into the fourth.
Shiloh scored and then recovered the onside kick to play for a potential game-tying score. The Generals were inside the 10-yard line when an offensive pass-interference penalty negated a touchdown, prior to Phil Davis’ interception that ended the game.
North Cobb also showed its resiliency, bouncing back from a 38-20 loss at Northside-Warner Robins to post a 36-29 victory at second-ranked North Gwinnett.
The Warriors (1-1) fell behind by 16 before rallying for the win. A 12-play, 99-yard drive helped even the score in the fourth quarter.
Following a defensive stop, North Cobb’s Tyler Queen directed a 12-play, 82-yard game-winning drive, culminating with a 2-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining in the contest.
It was the Warriors’ first lead since scoring the game-opening touchdown.
North Cobb’s defense, guided by coordinator Chad McGehee, made the final score stand after giving up only six second-half points.
“You always have to play like you’re down by seven,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said of what it takes for a team to come from behind to win. “There has to be a sense of urgency. Tyler’s always had that.
“It’s a mentality that, no matter who we play, we feel that we can win. The kids always battle and they always fight hard. It’s a never quit mentality.”
Kell, which beat Lassiter 42-35, had leads of 14 and 13 points, only to see Lassiter come back both times.
The Trojans took their only lead, 35-34, with 58 seconds left on the clock, when Russell Aarons connected with Pearson Vanhorn for a 17-yard score. The Longhorns rallied, however, converting on a fourth-down play to keep the drive alive.
With time ticking away, Cameron Rosendahl completed a pass to Bryson Armstrong. Armstrong found a crease down the left sideline and dove for the pylon to score with 1 second left in the game.
“You have to have confidence,” Kell coach Derek Cook said. “You have to feel like, no matter the situation, you can come back.
“Our guys are able to develop that through 7-on-7 tournaments in the summer, and situations in practice, where you have to throw the ball effectively and get downfield quickly. Friday’s situation for us was relatively similar, and you have to have quarterback you have confidence in to get it done.”