North Cobb

Malachi Singleton had four rushing touchdowns last week. He will try to have another big game against North Paulding on Friday.

Game: North Paulding (2-7, 1-3) at North Cobb (7-1, 4-0), 7:30 p.m.,

Last year: North Cobb 35, North Paulding 21

All-time series: Tied 3-3

Prediction: North Cobb 35, North Paulding 20

Technically, North Cobb no longer has anything to play for after clinching the Region 3AAAAAAA championship last week. The Warriors just want to begin the playoffs with momentum.

Friday, North Cobb will end the regular season against North Paulding, which is one of three region teams fighting for the fourth playoff spot, at Emory Sewell Stadium.

“We have to continue to get better. We can’t take a break,” North Cobb coach Shane Queen said. “We need to work on us, and hopefully we can peak in time for the playoffs.”

The Warriors look to be a faster starting team once postseason begins. They have been a second-half team ever since region play begun.

They had to come back from a 12-point first half deficit over Walton earlier in region play before taking over in the second. In their 28-26 win over Marietta last week, the Warriors nearly fell behind by two touchdowns. Jaydyn Walker stepped up with interceptions on back-to-back drives, which led to a pair of North Cobb touchdowns and a 14-6 halftime lead.

In the second half, the teams exchanged touchdowns until late in the fourth quarter when the Warriors made a much-needed stop before quarterback Malachi Singleton ran out the clock with his legs.

Singleton scored all four of North Cobb’s touchdowns and rushed for 137 yards on 27 carries. Trevor Lovett, last year’s starting quarterback, was his primary target at receiver with 52 yards on six catches.

With talent on both sides of the ball going into the 2020 season, Queen anticipated a successful year, but they also benefitted from a strenuous non-region schedule that included Class AAAAA state champion Buford, Alpharetta, Sprayberry and North Gwinnett.

Once they entered region competition, they beat a pair of defending state champions in Harrison and Marietta.

“I knew we had a chance to be pretty good,” Queen said. “Our schedule, we played 10 straight playoff opponents. We have to keep working on ourselves. Every team in our region mathematically has a chance to make the playoffs. It goes to show how tough our region is.”

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