The Hawks, who are the No. 3 seed out of Region 7AAAAAA, have scored a combined 97 points in their playoff victories over Alpharetta and Brookwood.
They beat Brookwood 56-21 last week and it was the most points ever allowed by the Broncos in their history.
Jacory Lewis, Gwinnett County’s leading rusher, has run for nearly 600 yards and eight touchdowns in his two playoff games. He has 2,040 yards and 30 touchdowns on the season.
Mill Creek’s defense has provided opportunities to score by forcing three turnovers.
North Cobb, the No. 2 seed out of 4AAAAAA, is known to be explosive offensively and put points on the board. A victory would send the Warriors to their first state semifinal since 1959, and to do it the ideal strategy will be to keep players like Lewis on the sideline as much as possible.
“(Mill Creek has) a huge offensive line and they do a good job with the power running game,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “They have explosive capabilities and can put points on the board even without the turnovers so we’ll going to have to move the chains and keep them off the field.”
Running the ball is usually the best way to chew clock and North Cobb can do just that. The Warriors’ backfield has been a committee for most of the season.
Quarterback Tyler Queen has been known to put up big passing numbers. Nick Miller, who is primarily a receiver for North Cobb, has gotten repetitions in the backfield. But in North Cobb’s 42-14 win over Langston Hughes last week, a reserve at the beginning of the year, that emerged in the forefront.
Junior J’Vonte Herrod, who has been among North Cobb’s group of running backs, came into his own with 153 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He also had a receiving touchdown on top of that.
Herrod also had a great game in North Cobb’s first round win over Valdosta with 88 yards and a touchdown.
Against Mill Creek, Herrod can be a solution to North Cobb maintaining the football.
“He’s grown a lot over the last month of the season and his role has become bigger on offense,” Shane Queen said of the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Herrod. “Friday, he has his coming-out party but we’ve seen that potential all year long and his hard work is finally paying off.”
Herrod is a power running back who can run through traffic and break tackles. And as long as he’s rushing for close to 100 yards or more, Queen said the Warriors will continue giving him the future.
And they will likely need for Herrod to move the front line with his legs tonight if North Cobb is to be successful.
“We plan to come out there, maintain the ball and have no turnovers,” Herrod said. “There is a lot of team encouragement. It helps when I believe in myself and my teammates believe in me.”
North Cobb has other options on offense to keep Mill Creek offense if the Hawks key in on Herrod.
Tyler Queen has asserted himself in becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the county and he has two 100-plus-yard receivers he can depend on in Miller and Xavier Borishade.
Borishade is coming off a 100-plus-yard game last week against Langston Hughes.