The Warriors cruised to a 55-13 win in the first football game played at Kennesaw State’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium, getting good work out of the turf a little less than two years before the Owls will line up for the first time.
After Kennesaw Mountain (1-2, 0-2 Region 4AAAAAA) scored early in the second quarter and trailed by just two touchdowns, North Cobb (2-1, 1-0) responded with five unanswered trips to the end zone to claim the Civil War Classic for the 10th time in 12 meetings of Kennesaw city rivals.
The first neutral-site matchup between the Warriors and Mustangs appeared to be a success, with a majority of the seats of the 8,300-seat stadium filled behind the team benches.
It was exactly how North Cobb (2-1, 1-0) wanted to perform in its region opener, coming off a non-region loss to Walton the previous week.
“Any time you get a win in this region, you’re proud of your kids,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “Walton was a top-10 team and I was proud of our resiliency bouncing back from a loss.”
Tyler Queen was the architect of the Warriors’ potent offense. Though he was only 5-of-11 for 135 yards — which may look unimpressive to the Auburn commitment’s past standards — three of those completions resulted in lengthy touchdown passes of 49, 54, and 25 yards.
Queen also rushed three times for 79 yards, with all three his carries going into the end zone. J’Vonte Herrod finished with 88 yards on seven carries, with separate touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
Each of North Cobb’s eight scoring drives came in five plays or less.
The Warriors already had a 14-0 lead just 4 minutes into the game after Queen ran for a touchdown and connected with Queen hit Torrance McGee on a 49-yard strike. The lead then extended to 20 points late in the first quarter, when Queen connected with Devin Granville for 54 yards.
Kennesaw Mountain failed to give up, however, and showed some poise early in the second. It chewed up nearly the entire first half of the second quarter when Nigel Hayes scored on a quarterback sneak from 1 yard out to end a 15-play, 80-yard drive that started in the closing seconds of the first quarter.
But the Mustangs couldn’t sustain the momentum.
North Cobb scored twice more in the second quarter to end the half with a 34-6 lead. Queen threw a screen to Herrod that ended up being a 25-yard score, and he then scored on an 8-yard run up the middle after faking a handoff to Herrod.
“They’re just so athletic in space, and we have to do a better job tackling in space,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Andy Scott said. “My hat’s off to North Cobb for what they were able to accomplish.”
The Warriors went on to put the game out of reach in the third quarter. Herrod scored again on a 42-yard run, Queen added a 53-yard rushing touchdown on the next drive and Jeremy Bell scored on a 62-yard run.
“We didn’t want to take our foot off the gas,” Shane Queen said. “(Kennesaw Mountain) is a great football team who put up about 450 yards of offense last week. Our defense made them sustain drives, and they weren’t making the big plays like they have in the past.”