KENNESAW -- North Cobb's 42-14 win over Harrison on Friday night at Emory Sewell Stadium was not as dominant as the score indicated.
The Warriors (5-1, 1-0 Region 3AAAAAAA) needed two late fourth-quarter touchdowns to stymie what could have been a remarkable second-half comeback by Harrison (2-4, 0-1) from 21 points down.
North Cobb quarterback Malachi Singleton went deep to DeNylon Morrissette for a 42 yards to put the Warriors ahead 35-14 with 5:49 left. Backup TJ Smith capped the scoring with a 35-yarder to Sam Mbake during the final minute of the game.
Those were the biggest offensive plays made by North Cobb during the second half. It got sloppy for the Warriors during the third quarter with back-to-back lost fumbles and nearly a third.
Fortunately for North Cobb, its defense prevented Harrison from capitalizing.
It started to get scary early in the fourth, however, when Harrison's Jacob Walling threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brigman to cut North Cobb's lead to 28-14
After the Hoyas recovered an onside kick, North Cobb's defense clamped down and forced Harrison to punt away before Singleton connected with Morrissette to get separation.
“I'm not going to sugarcoat it,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “We won 42-14, but Harrison handed it to us. They got after it a little bit, and we've got to play better.”
Penalties wiped out two would-be North Cobb touchdowns on the same drive in the first half, but the Warriors were playing well enough at the time to work around it. David Eziomume 42-yard sweep was nullified, and Ben Hall's 17-yard run two plays later was called back for holding.
After Hall made up those yards the next play, Singleton opted to throw to Hall for a 14-yard score instead of handing the ball off to take a 28-7 lead.
North Cobb was later flagged for roughing the kicker, but the defense kept Harrison in its own territory.
“We had too many self-inflicted penalties that put us in long-yardage situations,” Queen said. “We had guys celebrating and stuff that put us in bad situations. We can't do that. That's not our style of play. That's not what I expect our of our team.”
There was nothing wrong with the way North Cobb started the game.
The Warriors needed less than 2 minutes to score on its opening drive of the game that ended with a 3-yard run by Singleton. Harrison answered right back when long runs by Ahknation Shabazz and Jared Montour set up a 5-yard touchdown by Montour.
Afterwards, North Cobb's defense shut the Hoyas down. Walling was held to just 13 passing yards in the first half before finishing the game with 81.
The Warriors added to their lead when Singleton hit Eziomume for 31 yards, and Marquis Groves-Killebrew picked off Walling and ran it 55 yards into the end zone.
Singleton threw for 145 yards and three touchdowns and ran for an extra 70. Hall finished with 80 yards on 14 carries, and Morrissette had five catches for 89 yards.