Photo: Karl L. Moore
Mill Creek running back Jacorey Lewis (28) gets his legs flipped out from under him as he dives into the endzone for a touchdown during Friday night's game at North Cobb.
ACWORTH — An offensive shootout was expected in Friday's Class AAAAAA quarterfinal between Mill Creek and North Cobb. And, that's exactly what the fans got. Except, along the way, both defenses made plays that ended up deciding the game as North Cobb advanced to the state semifinals with a 42-35 win.
"It was a track meet all night long," said North Cobb head coach Shane Queen. "I can't say enough about these kids."
Mill Creek ended the game with six turnovers, including an interception by quarterback Daniel David with 22 seconds to go in the game.
"Turnovers were huge in this game," said Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis. "In the end, they made more plays than we did."
North Cobb began the turnover party with a fumble on the first play of the second quarter, as Mill Creek's Jacory Lewis converted that into a touchdown less than two minutes later. In fact, Mill Creek's defense put David and Lewis in position to make multiple plays as it continued to pressure North Cobb up front.
With a 21-7 lead at halftime, the Hawks allowed North Cobb to get back into the game quickly as turnovers quickly put North Cobb back in the lead. A fumble on a 40-yard run by Lewis thwarted a sure Mill Creek touchdown as North Cobb drove down to tie the game.
"That strip by Latrell Gibbs was the biggest play of the night," Queen said. "If he doesn't make that play, this might have been a different game."
Things got worse on Mill Creek's next play on offense as Lewis fumbled again with North Cobb scoring on the very next play to go up 28-21.
Mill Creek seemed to grab the momentum on Chris Dikhute's interception that was returned 44 yards. However, the Hawks couldn't convert that into points as North Cobb forced another turnover. This time, the Warriors turned it into points as quarterback Tyler Queen scored his third touchdown of the night. More than two minutes later, Queen added his fourth touchdown after another Mill Creek interception, taking a 42-28 lead.
While the Hawks did score another touchdown, as penalties on defense milked the clock even more before the Hawks could get the ball back.
"We had opportunities to win the game," Jarvis said. "Our defense played well, we just were faced with short fields most of the night because of turnovers."
Now, North Cobb must carry the banner for Cobb County as it is the only school in the county left in the playoffs. The county is on a 45-year football state championship drought and the Warriors are the only hope.
"We always talked about the 2007 team and after last week's win, our guys asked us if we could stop talking about that team," Queen said. "They wanted to make their own mark."