By Robert Haddocks
For the AJC
North Cobb scored two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to erase a 16-point deficit and rallied for a dramatic 36-29 win over North Gwinnett.
Tyler Queen led the Warriors on a 99-yard drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 29-29. But the senior quarterback saved his best for last, marching the Warriors 82 yards before running in for a 1-yard score with 35 seconds remaining. North Gwinnett drove to the North Cobb 20-yard line, but a desperation pass sailed out of bounds.
North Cobb fans and players stormed the field as the Warriors (1-1) upset the No. 2 ranked Bulldogs in the first meeting ever between the schools. Queen completed 27 of 39 passes for 379 yards. He had a hand in all five touchdowns, throwing three and running for two.
Queen battled North Gwinnett quarterback John Urzua in a game of big plays, including flea-flicker touchdowns and balls thrown all over the field. Both teams employ up-tempo, high-powered spread offenses, but the Warriors outdueled the Bulldogs, who scored 52 points in their season opener last week.
It looked like the Bulldogs (1-1) were on their way to another prolific night when Kameron Pickett scored on a 20-yard touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 29-13 lead two minutes into the third quarter. But North Cobb answered when Queen found Quannie Green open on the sideline and the sophomore outran the Bulldogs’ secondary for a 72-yard touchdown to trim the lead to 29-21.
Urzua’s pooch punt early in the fourth quarter pinned North Cobb on its own 1-yard line. The Warriors faced a fourth-and 15 on their 6-yard line, but Queen hit Jordan McCray for a 33-yard gain. Later, facing a third-and-8, Queen lofted a perfect pass and hit Billy Nichols downfield for a 41-yard score to tie the game.
North Cobb began its game-winning drive with 3:51 left. Queen had long completions to D.J. Render and McCray and had an 11-yard run before his one-yard touchdown.
After being shut out in the first quarter, North Gwinnett scored 23 points in the second quarter, getting touchdowns on three of its four possessions. Coach Bob Sphire resorted to his usual trickery, scoring on two flea-flicker plays
The first came on the first play of the drive. Backup quarterback Ayinde Russell caught a pass from receiver Kyler Knudsen, who had caught a lateral pass. Knudsen hit Russell in stride and he raced down the left sideline untouched for the 40-yard touchdown. Jordan Weddington ran in for the two-point conversion to give North a 15-6 lead.
NORTH GWINNETT – 0 – 23 – 6 – 0 – 29
NORTH COBB – 6 – 7 – 8 – 15– 36
NC – Jordan McCray 7 pass from Tyler Queen (kick failed)
NG – Kameron Pickett 1 run (Brad Harvey kick)
NG Ayinde Russell 40 pass from Kyler Knudsen (Jordan Weddington run)
NC – Queen 1 run
NG Almonzo Brown 3 pass from Weddington (Daniel Imatorbhebhe pass from John Urzua)
NG – Pickett 20 run (kick failed)
NC – Quannie Green 72 pass from Queen (Billy Nichols pass from Queen)
NC – Nichols 72 pass from Queen (Ryan Lovelace pass from Queen)
NC Queen 1 run (Will Horton kick)