Pummeling North Gwinnett, Varsity Warrior football bounces back


Andrew Lubbers, Reporter

In dire need of a bounce-back game, the NC football team erased a 16 point deficit and came back to beat the second-ranked North Gwinnett Bulldogs on August 29.

Senior Tyler Queen completed the comeback, running the ball into the endzone on third down with 35 seconds left. The Bulldogs’ last-second throw was incomplete, and the celebration began.

Coming off a season-opening loss to Northside Warner Robbins, not many predicted the Warriors would pull off the upset, but they persevered and proved doubters wrong.

“All week through practice, we just pushed ourselves, and we believed we could play with this team,” junior receiver DJ Render said, following the big win.

The Warriors found themselves down 29-13 in the third quarter after a Queen interception that set up a 20-yard touchdown run by North Gwinnett’s Kameron Pickett. But a failed extra point allowed the Warriors to remain within two scores. On the succeeding drive, Queen hit sophomore receiver Quannie Green down the sideline, who took it the distance for a 72-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion made it an eight point game, and North Cobb never looked back.

A North Gwinnett punt pinned the Warriors back on their own one-yard line, but they drove down the field, and Queen connected with senior Billy Nichols for a 41-yard touchdown. Sophomore C.J. Cole hauled in the two-point conversion, and the game tied.

“We never talked about winning or losing. We just talked about getting better,” Coach Queen said after the game.

The Warriors were down early, as North Gwinnett executed trick plays masterfully. The North Gwinnett quarterback tossed a backwards lateral to his receiver, who then scrambled right, and threw back to the quarterback, who ran the ball 40 yards into the endzone, to extend the North Gwinnett lead to 15-6.

At the end of the first half, the Bulldogs executed a reverse flea flicker to get down to the North Cobb one yard line. On the next play, the snap went directly to the running back, who leaped and tossed the ball to receiver Almonzo Brown for a one-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion gave the Bulldogs a 10-point halftime lead.

Queen finished the game with 379 passing yards, 96 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns.

The defense stood tall, allowing only six second-half points to preserve the victory. Junior cornerback Gilbert Blow had a first quarter interception, senior linebacker Brandon Bennett had a fourth quarter sack, and junior linebacker Cale Reid had five tackles and two pass deflections.

“Tonight we really came together as a team, we played with intensity, and we did what everyone thought was impossible,” said Reid.