MARIETTA — Sprayberry’s special teams were special Friday as they forced multiple turnovers to help them defeat South Cobb 35-25.
The Yellow Jackets (3-6, 3-5 Region 6AAAAAA) finished the season with their first win in four weeks. One of the keys to their success was their defensive ability to cut off the Eagles’ passing game, holding them to 141 yards.
“I thought our special teams took advantage of certain situations that came to us,” Sprayberry coach Brett Vavra. “They did a really good job which allowed us to flip the field and get some really good field positions. It all came from watching films, practicing throughout the week to come out here and execute like we did.”
The Eagles’ offense struggled much of the night with Cobb County’s leading rusher Jonathan Simmons limited because of an ankle injury.
“We made some special teams and offensive errors that we made earlier in the season and it came back to haunt us in our last game,” South Cobb coach Thomas Hanson said. “It seems like we were always playing from behind. I thought we rallied pretty well. We just ended up making too many mistakes back-to-back and their lead ended up getting out too far and we were not able to reel them back in.”
The game started off with a fumbled kick return which was recovered by JJ King to put the Yellow Jackets at the South Cobb 25. A quarterback keeper from Kemari Nix put Sprayberry up 7-0 in the first 15 seconds of the game.
Later in the quarter, a poor punt by the Yellow Jackets put the Eagles in the red zone. South Cobb (4-6, 3-5) was able to find the end zone thanks to a 12-yard touchdown run from Javon Richardson.
Sprayberry shifted the momentum and field position by going on a 17-play, 47-yard drive that took 6 minutes, but ended at the South Cobb 32. The Yellow Jackets forced another fumble on the punt return and took over again at the Eagles’ 20. Sprayberry scored on the next play with a touchdown catch by Danilio Frederic making it 14-6.
The Eagles responded with its own extended drive that ended with a 63-yard reception by JJ Maxima from Richardson to pull South Cobb within 14-13 at halftime.
The Yellow Jackets came out of the half and scored three consecutive touchdowns — a 43-yard run from Nix, a 31-yard pass from Nix to King and a 27-yard interception return by Caleb Prickett for a touchdown and a 35-13 lead.
Nix finished with 156 yards rushing and 82 yards through the air. Nix said his main focus was being able to come out with a win for the seniors who have worked all year.
South Cobb tried to rally back with a 18-yard rushing touchdown from Uchenna Nwoha to end the third quarter. A 95-yard touchdown run from Richardson in the fourth quarter made it 35-25 with 2 minutes left.
“We really needed this win. Being able to end on a positive note was just great for our guys,” Vavra said. “We now have something to build upon in the spring and it was just nice to send our seniors off with this win.”