""Just managing the game, man, running the last six minutes off the clock, the last five minutes off the clock, staying in bounds," Queen said of Singleton’s improvement from last season. “Those are the things he’s maturing and getting better at. His teammates believe in him.”
Moss finished with 134 yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions. His first touchdown, on an 11-yard catch with 2:46 remaining in the second quarter, provided the only points of the first half.
After Buford (0-1) tied the score on its first possession of the second half, Moss scored again to give North Cobb (2-0) the lead for good. Singleton threw a lateral to Trevor Lovett, a senior quarterback, who then passed to a wide-open Moss for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 14-7 with 3:23 remaining in the third quarter.
But it was North Cobb’s defense that set the tone early. The Warriors held Buford to three plays and a punt on each of its first three possessions, and the Wolves didn’t record their first first down until an 8-yard run by Gabe Ervin with 1:34 remaining in the first half. Buford finished the half with 58 total yards and three first downs.
Things got better in the second half for the Wolves, who opened the third quarter with a 71-yard touchdown drive capped by Ervin’s 3-yard run to tie the score at 7-7.
North Cobb answered with touchdowns on its next two possessions to reclaim a 21-7 lead, but Buford answered with an 80-yard touchdown drive, cutting the lead to 21-14 on a 36-yard pass from Ashton Daniels to Jake Pope.
Buford had a chance to get back in it after forcing a punt on North Cobb’s next possession and getting the ball at their own 32 with 4:37 remaining in the game. But North Cobb’s defense stepped up again. On Buford’s third play, Nasir Howell intercepted a Daniels pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown to put the game away.
Buford finished the game with 242 yards and was led by Ervin’s 86 yards rushing on 15 carries. Three quarterbacks combined to go 13-for-21 passing for 125 yards. The Wolves' 14 points were their fewest against a Georgia opponent since a 45-7 loss to Rome in the 2017 state semifinals.
It was a vast improvement for a North Cobb defense that allowed 30 points in a season-opening victory over Sprayberry last week.
“We got knocked around and bullied [last week], and we just challenged our kids,” Queen said. “To see them come back and work that hard and believe in the system. … We’ve got a new defensive coordinator [Mitch Henghold], and the kids are buying into what he’s doing. It took a couple of weeks to see that because we didn’t have spring ball, but if they’ll keep buying in we could be special. We’re not big, but I guarantee we’ve got a lot of heart.”
Buford - 0-0-7-7 - 14
North Cobb - 0-7-7-14 - 28
N - Christian Moss 11 pass from Malachi Singleton (Ben Moran kick), 2:46
B - Gabe Ervin 3 run (Alejandro Mata kick), 7:11
N - Moss 31 pass from Trevor Lovett (Moran kick), 3:23
N - Singleton 10 run (Moran kick), 10:28
B - Jake Pope 36 pass from Ashton Daniels (Mata kick), 6:00
N - Nasir Howell 46 interception return (Moran kick), 4:17