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Darlington v. North Cobb Christian

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The Tigers faced the North Cobb Christian Eagles on Friday, Oct. 26 in their last regular season conference game.

Going into the game, Darlington and North Cobb had the same record at 7-1, both with a loss against the Mt. Zion Eagles. Tensions and emotions ran high at the start of the first quarter with Darlington kicking off to North Cobb.

The Eagles started with the ball on the 22 yard-line, and two runs for little gain brought up third and six, but a 42 yard run stopped by senior defensive-back Roth Wilcox gave North Cobb the ball on Darlington’s 30 yard-line.

Two more rushes for a total gain of five yards brought up third down with five yards to go. Another run up the middle was followed by a reverse pitch to a run up the sideline for a 23 yard rushing touchdown with eight minutes left in the first quarter.

An attempted onside kick by the Eagles was recovered by junior inside linebacker Dawson Williams to place the ball on the Tigers’ own 34 yard-line. An 11 yard run by Wilcox was followed by short runs from junior running-back Kolin Rogers and sophomore running-back Demetrius Rogers to bring up third down and goal for Darlington.

Another short run by Kolin Rogers brought the Tigers inches away from the goalline, and a rushing touchdown by junior quarterback Frank Manning tied the game 7-7 with little over four minutes left in the first quarter.

Junior Alex Liddle’s kickoff was returned to the Eagles’ 28 yard-line. Back-to-back rushes up the middle were brought down by junior outside linebacker Karson Swiger and Demetrius Rogers for a total gain of 11 yards.

A stop by junior defensive tackle Tate Ratledge resulted in a gain of one, and a run pushed out of bounds by Demetrius Rogers was followed by a 41 yard run with the ball on Darlington’s 19 yard-line.

Another run stopped by Ratledge, senior linebacker Cam Watson, and freshman safety Patrick Shelley brought up third down with one to go.

With the ball on the nine yard-line, the Eagles were inches short from a first down, but an offsides call against the Tigers brought up first and goal from the five.

A North Cobb touchdown was called back due to illegal motion, but an 8 yard rushing touchdown put the Eagles over the Tigers with seconds remaining in the first quarter.

“We couldn’t stop their offense and we couldn’t score enough to keep up with them,” senior offensive tackle Colin Zazzaro said.

Another onside kick recovered by Williams followed up with a short run by Demetrius Rogers gave Darlington the ball on the 47 yard-line.

The Tigers began the second quarter with an unsuccessful drive, and North Cobb recovered the ball on their own 10 yard-line.

A seven yard run up the middle was followed by another rush for a gain of five with the ball at the 22 yard-line.

Another run was stopped by Demetrius Rogers but was enough for a first down.

A penalty on the Tigers placed the ball on the 46 yard-line, and a tackle by Wilcox brought up second down with three to go.

A quarterback rush by Ratledge caused for a quick pitch out to the side and was brought down by senior linebacker Tommy Atha for a loss of five, with the Eagles at third down with 8 yards to go.

A pass across the middle was stopped just shy of the goal line by Wilcox, but a pitch to the right led to another rushing touchdown, putting the Eagles up 21-7 with 3:30 seconds left in the half.

With the ball at the 36 yard line, Kolin Rogers ran for a total of 10 yards, and a 26 yard touchdown pass caught by sophomore receiver Casey Gunn gave the Tigers much needed energy with the score at 21-14 with little over a minute remaining.

Liddle’s kickoff was returned to the 47 yard-line, but a tackle for a loss of six by junior safety Kobe Nadu was followed by a sack by Ratledge and Atha for a loss of four more yards to end the half.

“North Cobb Christian is a fast time that is well coached. Their players are disciplined and executed their plan well,” Manning said. “We did not execute well. We just did not do what we needed to do to win. They are a talented team, and in the end we didn’t play to the caliber we are capable of.”

An unsuccessful series for the Tigers forced a punt, rolling out of bounds and giving the Eagles the ball at their own 28 yard-line.

Several runs for some gain eventually brought up a fourth and ten situation for the Eagles, and a pass completed up the middle for a gain of 19 yards kept the ball in North Cobb’s possession.

A rushing touchdown for the Eagles was called back yet again for a holding penalty, bringing up second down with 20 yards to go. A tackle by Watson and junior defensive-tackle Cade Brock led to a loss of one yard.

A pass nearly intercepted by Nadu brought up fourth down, and the Eagles’ missed field goal gave the Tigers the ball on their 20 yard line.

A fumble recovered by North Cobb gave the Eagles another rushing touchdown, making their lead 28-14 with seven minutes remaining in the game.

A failed fourth-down conversion gave the Eagles the ball back in Tiger territory, and a 46 yard rushing touchdown put North Cobb up 35-14.

A short kickoff was followed by a reception from senior receiver Barrick Wade to put the ball on the 42 yard-line. A quarterback keep earned the Tigers a first down. A reception by Wilcox kept the Tiger offense churning, and a quarterback run was followed by another reception by Wilcox.

A strong run by senior fullback Rhett McDurmon put the ball on the Eagles’ 5 yard-line. Another quarterback keep earned Manning a rushing touchdown to cut into North Cobb’s lead with over a minute remaining in the game.

The Eagles took a knee to end the game, with Darlington losing 35-21. The Tigers will face Whitefield Academy for senior night and the region crossover game before the beginning of the state playoffs.

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