KENNESAW — What appeared to be a sure victory turned into a stunning defeat in the span of less than 2 minutes as North Cobb lost to Roswell 46-43 in the second round of the Clsss AAAAAAA state playoffs Friday at Emory Sewell Stadium.
North Cobb (10-2) looked like it was headed for the quarterfinals with a 43-34 lead with 1:39 remaining in the game, but Roswell (10-2) converted a couple of turnovers into scores — with quarterback Robbie Roper’s 7-yard touchdown run providing the fatal blow as time ran out.
It was a brilliant performance by a Roswell offense that scored on every possession it had in the game. Roper completed 25 of 32 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns.
North Cobb’s Malachi Singleton was 14-for-15 for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 156 yards on 23 carries and three more scores.
With Singleton’s 9-yard touchdown with 3:04 remaining in the game to give North Cobb a 43-34 lead, and then De’Nylon Morrissette’s interception of a Roper pass on the ensuing series, North Cobb appeared to be in the driver’s seat with 1:39 left to play.
However, Roswell recovered a North Cobb fumble at the Warriors’ 12-yard line, and after throwing a couple of incomplete passes, Roper kept the ball and ran it in 12 yards for the score to cut the Hornets’ deficit to 43-40 with 46 seconds left.
Roswell then got new life when it recovered its onside kick attempt at its own 20.
Roper connected with Shaun Spence for a 21-yard pass to the Hornets’ 41, then launched a 52-yard bomb to Dylan Williams to take the ball all the way to the North Cobb 7 with 13 seconds left.
After three consecutive incomplete passes made it fourth-and-goal with 7 seconds left, Roswell coach Chris Prewett elected to go for the win instead of attempting a game-tying field goal to force overtime.
Roper took the snap and broke to his right, but as the majority of North Cobb’s defense committed to that side of the field, Roper found an opening to the left and broke into the end zone as time expired to give Roswell its come-from-behind win.
“They made one more play than we did,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “Hats off to Roswell. They had a great game plan and they came in and executed it and they made one more play than we did.”
Roswell, which will host Grayson next week in the quarterfinals, opened with a 16-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 5-yard touchdown run by Christopher Elko to take a 6-0 lead with 5:20 remaining in the first half.
North Cobb then responded with a 1-yard run by Singleton give the Warriors a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Hornets took a 21-14 lead on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Roper to Elko with 27 seconds to go in the first half, but North Cobb came back with a 35-yard pass from Singleton to Reggie Givhan to move the ball to the Roswell 6.
Roswell was charged with pass interference on the play to move the ball to the Hornets’ 3, where Singleton tossed a short pass to Samuel Mbake as time ran out in the first half to even the score at 21-all at halftime.