AUSTELL — South Cobb not only celebrated homecoming Friday night, but one of the biggest wins in the program’s recent history, shocking undefeated Kennesaw Mountain with a 17-15 upset at Clay Stadium.
After senior kicker Alberto Bibian booted a 37-yard field goal with 1:12 remaining, the Eagles’ defense intercepted Kennesaw Mountain quarterback Cayman Prangley with 50 seconds left to clinch the win.
The win was an emphatic statement for South Cobb (2-5, 1-4 Region 6AAAAAA) against fourth-ranked Kennesaw Mountain (6-1, 4-1). It was the Eagles’ first win over a state-ranked team since an overtime win over North Cobb in 2012.
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, it was the highest-ranked opponent to fall to South Cobb since No. 4 Marietta in 2005, and the original Campbell High School program, ranked No. 2 at the time, in 1969.
“I’m so proud of our kids, and I’m so proud of our staff, and I’m proud of the school,” first-year South Cobb coach Thomas Hanson said. “A lot of people had given up on us even this season. We didn’t have a very good week of practice, but they came out and played their tails off tonight. It couldn’t have ended better.”
South Cobb started the scoring in the first quarter on a 1-yard run by senior running back Jonathan Simmons, and the Eagles led by the same score at halftime.
Kennesaw Mountain finally cracked the tough South Cobb defense in the third quarter on a 15-yard pass from Prangley to receiver Dustin Greiner. Not to be outdone, South Cobb scored to take a 14-8 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by quarterback Javon Richardson.
Kennesaw Mountain then marched to the South Cobb 3 before being stopped on third down. Mustangs coach Caleb Carmean elected to go for it on fourth down instead of attempting the field goal, and was he rewarded with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Prangley to a wide-open Earl Kyle for what looked like a decisive score.
South Cobb, though, drove to the Kennesaw Mountain 20 with just over a minute left, setting Bibian up to kick the deciding field goal.
“Yesterday, in our walkthrough, ’Berto kicked a 44-yard field goal, and I said, ‘You’re going to win the game tomorrow night,’” Hanson said. “He came up to me after and said, ‘Thanks for believing in me, coach.’ The kids believed in him, too, and it’s really beyond words. It’s going to take me some time to process it.”
Richardson keyed the South Cobb attack by rushing for 159 yards and throwing for 47.
“He is so electric with the ball in his hands,” Hanson said of his signal-caller. “That’s been the piece we’ve been missing. Javon has another gear, and he’s a gamer.”
Simmons totaled 107 rushing yards as South Cobb totaled 274.
Kennesaw Mountain ran for 139, while Prangley threw for 55 yards with two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion, though he had two passes intercepted.