AUSTELL -- Late in the fourth quarter trailing 22-19 but driving to the South Cobb 15-yard line, it appeared Osborne was primed to finally end their 25-game losing streak.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, four gut-wrenching penalties pushed them into a virtually impossible situation, having to convert on 4th-and 40. Bryce Bowens’ last-ditch attempt was intercepted by Kenota Wallace as the Eagles survived and won 22-19 at Clay Stadium.
Osborne (0-6, 0-4 Region 6AAAAAA) played well enough on both sides to win the game and led 16-15 at halftime. However the Cardinals missed opportunities to increase the lead in the second and third quarters after they forced turnovers inside South Cobb territory.
“Can’t be prouder,” Osborne coach Russ Isham said. “What a fine group of young men. They persevere and go through the things that we’ve gone through that most teams can’t understand. Just very pleased and very proud of them.”
After the Cardinals missed a field goal early in the third quarter, the Eagles (1-5, 1-3) used their running attack to drive 80 yards as Ali Fard scored his second touchdown on a 11-yard run to put South Cobb ahead for good 22-16. Fard rushed for 99 of the Eagles’ 218 yards on the evening.
“We learned how to fight though adversity,” South Cobb coach Terry Jones said. “The first half is not what we wanted it to be but we came through halftime and made some adjustments and got our composure back together and then we played a really, really good second half.”
Erik Hartberger’s 44-yard field goal -- his second of the night -- cut the Eagles’ lead to three with 9:41 remaining.
South Cobb capitalized on a failed onside kick attempt and drove 40 yards for the first touchdown of the game as Terrance Clark threw an 11-yard pass to Daniel Dada.
Trying to keep the momentum, the Eagles attempted an onside kick of their own, and it was successful. However, they were intercepted on the next play and the Cardinals dominated the rest of the first quarter.
A 40-yard field goal by Hartberger and a 4-yard touchdown catch by Deonate Morgan from Ron Freeman gave Osborne a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.
South Cobb only needed three plays on the next possession to regain the lead, as Fard took the handoff and ran 39 yards for a touchdown. Prince Jordan’s run on the two-point conversion gave the Eagles a 15-10 lead early in the second quarter.
The Cardinals responded with a quick score of their own, as a 50-yard catch on slant by Morgan led to a 1-yard touchdown by Bowens to give Osborne the lead they would take into halftime.
As for South Cobb, they certainly can build on this first win with plenty of room to improve.
“It builds confidence,” said Jones. “It’s great to be able to come in on Monday after a win to be able to make the corrections and prepare for our next game. We made a lot of mistakes but its feels better fixing on mistakes from a win then it does from a loss.”