KENNESAW — North Paulding scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away from Kennesaw Mountain for a 41-21 victory at Cobb EMC Mustang Stadium.
The Wolfpack (7-2, 2-2) led by 10 at halftime, and doubled their lead by outscoring the Mustangs (4-5, 0-4) 24-14 over the final 24 minutes to climb back to .500 in conference action.
Despite the loss, Kennesaw Mountain out-gained the visitors 360-342, including a 260-150 ground attack. The Mustangs were paced by quarterback Jarrett Guest who had 10 carries for 122 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Keyon Brooks’ 110 yards on 24 carries.
North Paulding’s offense was paced by running back Preston Rogers, who finished the game with 54 yards on 11 carries and three touchdowns. Quarterback Ross Malmgren connected on 18-of-24 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown to Kellan Autenrieth.
Rogers jumpstarted the Wolfpack’s attack in the first half with a pair of touchdown runs.
The first score came on North Paulding’s third possession from 13 yards out, putting the Wolfpack up 10-0 with 2:33 left in the first half. The score followed a 34-yard field goal by Brock Travelstead.
After North Paulding’s defense forced a turnover on downs on the ensuing drive, the Wolfpack offense ran seven plays and 54 yards, capped off by Rogers’ 1-yard touchdown for a 17-0 lead.
The Mustangs broke free on their fourth possession as Guest turned upfield for 68 yards to pull Kennesaw Mountain within 17-7 at the half.
It was the first of three scores for Guest, who added touchdown runs of 58 and 1 to account for all of the Mustangs’ scoring.
The start of the fourth quarter for North Paulding ultimately decided the game, as Rogers’ third score with 11:42 remaining started a 17-0 scoring burst, which also included a 46-yard field goal by Travelstead, and a 4-yard plunge by running back Kovyn Harvey.