Thrills give way to agony as Warriors see record-setting season come to an end
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
December 08, 2012 01:32 AM | 6685 views | 23 23 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
North Cobb at Lovejoy

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HAMPTON — North Cobb found itself on the wrong side of the turnover battle.

The Warriors lost one of four fumbles, two of four interceptions were returned for touchdowns and Lovejoy rolled to a 63-42 victory in Friday’s Class AAAAAA state semifinal at Twelve Oaks Stadium.

North Cobb (11-3) held a 14-point lead after J’Vonte Herrod — who had 13 carries for 79 yards — scored the first of his two touchdowns off a 21-yard option run into the end zone 5 seconds into the second quarter.

But the tide turned in a big way for the Warriors on their next possession.

With North Cobb facing second-and-10 at the Lovejoy 25, the Cinwon Whitehead intercepted Tyler Queen’s pass attempt. Four plays later, Travis Custis scored on a 63-yard run to bring the Wildcats to within seven — 21-14 — midway through the quarter.

Custis’ run sparked a 28-0 run for Lovejoy (13-1), which outscored North Cobb 35-21 in the second half en route to the victory. Brandon Davis had an interception return of 74 yards during the game-changing run, and Montrell Custis returned another pick 59 yards for a touchdown that put the Wildcats in front 35-21 with 8:51 to go in the third.

Lovejoy advanced to its second straight state championship game, and will take on Norcross for the title next Saturday at the Georgia Dome. The Wildcats lost the Class AAAA championship to Tucker last season

North Cobb, meanwhile, saw its season come to a close, one round shy of reaching the state finals for the first time in 54 years.

“You can’t take anything away from (Lovejoy), but when you have five turnovers, it’s disappointing,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “You can’t beat a top-five team like that turning the ball over. They did what they had to do. They made plays and turned our turnovers into points. This time of the season, you can’t turn the ball over five times.”

Cameron Albright’s interception set up North Cobb’s first touchdown as Tyler Queen connected with Xavier Borishade for a 31-yard strike early in the first quarter.

But a fumbled punt led to Lovejoy having first-and-goal at the 7, and Travis Custis scored from 5 yards out to tie the game.

North Cobb answered right back with a 10-play, 61-drive, capped by Queen’s 6-yard touchdown run. Then, on the Warriors’ next possession, Herrod’s run put North Cobb in front by 14.

Nick Miller had a long kickoff return following Montrell Custis’ interception return for a score, which set up a 26-yard touchdown pass from Queen to Miller to pull North Cobb to within 35-28. But Lovejoy scored on two of its next three drives to stake a 49-28 lead, and Tyrell Brown’s interception return of 35 yards set up Travis Custis for a 26-yard touchdown run and a 56-28 lead with 11:07 remaining in the game.

Herrod found the end zone again from 8 yards out on the Warriors’ ensuing possession, but a sack from Isaiah Lyles on fourth down late in the fourth quarter led to Travis Custis’ 22-yard score.

Borishade returned the kickoff 78 yards for North Cobb’s final score with 4:09 remaining, and Lovejoy collected two first downs on its final drive to run out the clock.

“In a game like this, when turnovers turn into touchdowns — who knows, we could have been in the ball game,” Shane Queen said. “I’m just proud of our kids for not giving up. They answered every time. When they went down on a turnover, we went back down and scored, so our kids fought. But that’s a great football team, and probably the best football team we’ve played all year. My hats are off to them. They have a chance to win it all next week.”

Travis Custis had 31 carries for 291 yards and five touchdowns.

“There’s a reason he’s going to Georgia Tech,” Queen said of the Lovejoy senior. “He’s a great back and broke a lot of tackles, and those big offensive linemen wore us down.”

Lovejoy quarterback Alejandro Bennefield completed 11 of 23 passes for 212 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. JuMichael Ramos, another Georgia Tech commitment, had three catches for 82 yards and a score, while Davis caught four passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Tyler Queen was 10-of-26 for 186 yards, four interceptions and two touchdowns. Borishade had four receptions for 99 yards and a score. Miller caught three passes for 35 yards and a touchdown, and Herrod had three catches for 52 yards.
Comments
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Marietta Fan
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December 12, 2012
Congratulations to all of the North Cobb players, coaches and parents for a great season. No one anticipated that they could go this far in the playoffs. No one, except themselves. Those of you who must bash 16 and 17 year olds, shame on you. These kids lay it on the line and should be applauded for their great efforts. Regarding the coaches kid at QB - somebody's always gonna want to criticize. How would you coach your own son? No one is harder on TQ than Coach Queen. And not many kids have his character.
Blame Game
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December 12, 2012
This is for "Not Surprised"

I am pretty certain that Griffins have have moved on in all ways from NC football....they have two sons being heavily recruited and that is way more important that getting on a MDJ blog worrying about NC's performance in the playoffs. Their vindication came in the McE vs NC game and that was a perfect way to CLOSE that chapter in their life. What you have are a bunch of other folks IN HOUSE who don't sound too happy with the situation over there but you rather try and blame the Griffins. Trust me when I tell you that what is going on over at NC is the least of that family's concerns....their our looking forward not in the rear view mirror. Sorry...your dirty laundry is being thrown out by somebody in the house.
a matter of time
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December 12, 2012
Ummm. In case no one noticed, Lovejoy is pretty darn good team. They have athlete's on both sides of the ball. Obviously, more so than NC. To lay this loss at the feet of the QB is crazy. Lovejoy has beaten good teams and has made other QBs look dazed and confused. I think the Norcross QB will not get a good night's rest Friday night either. I have no skin in the game, my kids attend a rival school. What we all witnessed the other night was a well coached squad full of D1 talent that's on mission that plays with a lot of swagga. Kudos to NC for the season they had and the great playoff run.
I see it too!!!!!
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December 11, 2012
If 33 and 14 want an unbiased oppertunity to start or play significant minutes,transfer and dont get short changed. 15 also led in fumbles and interceptions....throwing at players cleats,lol. Hit the numbers not the ground or feet. Nevermind he can throw 10 picks and dear old dad will still keep him in. Warrior Nation is bigger than your personal relationship. You should be coaching not being a parent. The administration and atheletic director are too weak or blind to notice. Real coaches have 01 through 99 ready every game,every week.
Then you must of....
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December 12, 2012
FORGOT YOUR GLASSES....You Must of left your glasses at home on the past 14 Friday nights then.

1st, Ill clarify for it for you, #14 Starts on both sides of the ball and has all season and most all Special teams and has highest the highest number of minutes played on the entire team, so your "oppErtunity to start or play significant minutes" comment makes you look like you are just trying to stir the pot.

2nd #33 STARTS and has started the entire year, had a 1,000 rushing yards give or take a couple and is starting to get pounded by big time recruiters. AGAIN, you look ridiculous making these 100% false accusations.

Short changed??? Look at the few that have transferred? Looks to me like they got shortchanged, some of us played until week 14, some didnt, dont think thats short changed. And what stinks for you, whoever you are trying to stir the pot, we'll be back next year with an offense that may average 50 instead of 42. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

truth b told
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December 11, 2012
The reason why #15 had a good season was simple....surrounded by great receivers,good blocking scheme. Dont get lost in the throwing and rushing touchdowns he had. He threw many picks,ran too many times. Why not just line up 5 receivers and throw it all day since u dont like your running backs. #15 under threw alot of wide receivers in the playoffs,nervous maybe. Everyone is missing the point here its the North Cobb Warriors NOT THE FATHER AND SON SHOW. I dont even think he lives within North Cobb school district....hmmmm should be at Allatoona maybe. Coaches bend the rules,plays favorites,biased game choices. Those poor kids on the sideline,those underused and underestimated running backs transfer because as long as his son is qb its his ship........to sink.
SHS Jacket
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December 11, 2012
I can not believe what I'm readying here! North Cobb makes the best run in SCHOOL HISTORY, with a team that battled EVERY WEEK, beating several team that were better than them and you get on the this vent and spew nonsense? It makes me sick how ADULTS can act. Players have bad games, they miss tackles, they make poor decisions...if the backup right behind them was just as good the coach would put them in the game. Almost every football team in the country at all levels, don't have a backup quarterback that they can just throw into the game when the #1 QB is struggling (NY Jets!) Would Mike Smith (Atlanta Falcons HC) bench Matt Ryan because he's having a bad game, or would he ride the guy that's got him to this point in the season. I wish the ADULTS would act like ADULTS, support the kids and the coaching staff for an amazing season. This team excedded all of our expectations....can't that be enough!!!!!
Tenn tech
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December 11, 2012
You tell em shack
Not surprised
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December 11, 2012
This is nothing new. If I was a betting man I would guess it is the griffens. They have had a few weeks to wait and pounce on coach as soon as he lost. Too bad they got put out in round one again. Nice move boys!
OMacG
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December 11, 2012
Lawd, some of you Warrior folks are unbelievable. Not a dadgum word out of anyone about the quarterback situation in those first 3 rounds of the playoffs...I mean not ONE SOUL posting a prediction that #15 had a tough game coming. All it took was a loss against one of the best defenses in the state and the piling on is through the roof.

It's like you all were just lying in wait, pretending to pull for the team to be successful. Fact is, if you got your wish and #15 was replaced but the next guy struggled in a similar manner, the same ones would have been screaming "Why'd Queen pull him so soon?!!"
Nothin but the truth
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December 11, 2012
If your starting QB is giving away the hard fought season replace him with #14. I have a problem when coaches have their sons playing on the team....conflict of interest. #15 had a horrible game plus why throw when the #33 was running over Lovejoy. Father wants to see son play but this is not pee wee,other talent is not being utilized and they are the true backbone of the team. Parents have taken their kids out in order for them to have playing time and exposure,like the Griffin brothers going to McEachern. Its North Cobb Warriors,NOT THE QUEEN SHOW. If you preach the importance of team,you are not showing it. Every great coach makes the tough decisions when its the right time,but the individualism you display holds you back. #14 heal that knee,I expect you to be the true starting QB...more talent, more atheletic and more deserving....nuff said.
Whuteva
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December 11, 2012
I can tell you that when the Griffins left, it made the NC team a better team. Not talent wise, if the Griffins stayed, who knows what might have happened this year. Im talking about in the situation NC is in with the Queen's, it was best for them to leave. Made for less back stabbing and mumbling conversations amongst players, coaches and parents. So it made life easier for NC with no Griffins, in turn, the "what if" they stayed, talent wise, they are 14-0 right now with a few more head aches for some NC people.

And yes, If a Corner gets roasted 2-3 times in a row, he is replaced, if a D-lineman gets driven off the ball play after play, he gets replaced, when an wr drops ball after ball, he gets sat, if an O-lineman gives up qb sacks, he gets benched, if a QB fumbles then throws 3-4 picks, 2 for TD's, he should have been replaced. Thats coaching 101.
Dr. Finklestien
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December 10, 2012
How can a team score 42points in a game of this magnitude and still lose. If im not mistaken the L J defense scored a couple times, however that still gives L J a 49-42 W. Guess the old saying of defense wins games isnt so true after all.

Looks to me instead of pointing fingers at the QB who runs an offense that puts up 42 ppg, you ought to look at the defense that gave up 63 points that easily could have been 70. Missed tackles all night, some looked scared to tackle #22, All players trying to strip the ball rather than make a tackle. DB’s getting run over by L J players.

And whats with special teams, the kickoff team has been dreadful all year, bad snaps throughout the year and if you take a couple runs away that #12 has made, the return team has been non-existent. Do the coaches tell the kicker to NOT kick in the endzone or is he doing it only when he wants to. They do an onside kick Friday night and the players run by the ball like they’ve never practiced it before. The only consistent part of special teams this year has been the kicker on extra points. Special teams are a 1/3 of the game, treat it that way.

The coaches may want to spend less time running offensive plays at practice and more time on defensive fundamentals and special teams.

PLAYIN BOTH WAYS
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December 10, 2012
Hey Dr. F,... Not pointing fingers at the QB pointing fingers at the coaching staff. Players have bad days. It's the coaches job to make adjustments. If I'm not mistaken LJ capitalized on three or four of those interceptions and a turnover. LJ's Offense couldn't have done that if their defense hadn't forced turnovers from NC offense. With so many NC turnovers their defense was on the field for the most of three and a half quarters. If your offense is helping the opposing team score "make a change".
Needing change
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December 08, 2012
Lots of comments floating around that perhaps the coaches kept Queen in the game way to long. He is a fine young man and a good player, but like most teams, players can have a bad day, and that's when you pull them. Last night was not a good night for Queen and he really should have been brought out. I believe as do others, had Tyler Queen had not been allowed to stay in the game, we would have had a fighting chance against this team. Oh well, it's still been a good run.
Cobb Football Fan
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December 09, 2012
Really?

Queen was the reason North Cobb was there. He was the main reason they had a 21-7 lead. He may have had a bad game overall, but he gave them the best chance to win. Period. End of story.
Cobb Football Fan
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December 09, 2012
Also, using your logic, the entire defense would have been pulled off the field, too.
Never Gonna Happen
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December 09, 2012
There won't be a change if Tyler is the best opportunity to win or not. Like Shane Queen said in a previous article, "he has waited 16 years for this." He's not gonna let something like the WARRIOR NATION get in the way of HIS dream. So we can just sit back and go along for the ride. We were up 21-7 because of the run game. We went to the pass game and everything fell apart. When we went back to the run in the fourth quarter we were able to score.Why was the run abandoned? Was it to showcase T. Queen? You make bad decisions for the TEAM when you are motivated by SELFISH reasons.
PLAYIN BOTH WAYS
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December 09, 2012
Cobb football fan they couldn't have pulled the players from defense cause that would mean they lose the offense too. You know,... playin their best players both ways.Also I think Xavier Borishade,Nick Miller,and the NC defense are the reason the Warriors made it this far. A few games including Lovejoy Queen was counter productive. Like the saying goes defenses win games.
Needing Change II
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December 10, 2012
Would have been nice to see another QB come in when 15 was struggling however the way 14 was strugging making tackles on defense and dropping balls at wr, dont think that he may have been an option either.

It looked to me like it was one of those "dance with the one that brought you to the dance" rather than ditching your date at prom after going out with them all year long.
GWP
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December 08, 2012
Proud to be part of the Warrior Nation.
Truth 2.0
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December 10, 2012
As a Cobb parent who has watched a lot of football in our area, I didn't see 14 dropping balls. I saw him drop one after his interception. I then saw him underthrown on a post where he was behind the defender and a ball thrown behind him when he was wide open across the middle. I watched 14 be wide open during the second half of the ball game several times and no balls were directed at his way.

There were missed tackles by 14 as well as others on defense. However, if a player is having a bad game, he gets taken out of that game. It happens in all other sports. 15 can play, but he had a bad game that impacted everything else that occurred. No team can win when the qb has 5 turnovers and 2 pick sixes. 15 should have been replaced.
Abu Dhabi
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December 14, 2012
Three things:

#1. Stop talking about the Griffin's; I promise you, they are not talking about you. They are talking about scholarship offers for their boys who have top notch schools fighting to pay for their college. Leave them alone. They did what was best for their family. I admire them. Stop it. Get over it. Khalass.

#2. This Warrior Team is not only #3 in the state, 110 in the nation, but also finished higher than any other Warrior Team in 60 years. This Warrior Team has shattered records in Cobb County leaving a legacy as the highest scoring team ever to play football in Cobb County. Whatever you choose to disect about the LJ game, the facts are still the facts.

#3. This team believed in themselves. Their parents and community believed in them. Their coaches believed in them. They worked very hard for what they achieved this year, and I am very proud of them. You will not take that away from them. We win as a team, we loose as a team.

Keep it postive or keep it quiet.
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