Northside-Warner Robins 20, North Cobb 17 (overtime)

Northside-Warner Robins stuffed North Cobb on four consecutive running plays inside the 5-yard line in overtime to preserve a 20-17 victory Friday night at Emory Sewell Stadium in Kennesaw.

After Ashton Paredes gave Northside its only lead of the game with a 30-yard field goal on the Eagles’ overtime possession, North Cobb took the ball and quickly moved to the 5, where it had a first-and-goal. However, four running plays essentially up the middle gained just one yard each, including the final one on fourth-and-goal from the 2.

“They’ve played hard the whole year,” Northside coach Chad Alligood said of his defense. “We’re undersized, but we play hard. This group has battled. That’s four straight close ball games we’ve played, the second one in a row in overtime. We just made one more play than they did. It was a great game. I can’t say enough about Coach [Rod] Harris, the defensive coordinator, and the coaches for getting them ready to play. That stop down there was huge, and that’s what high school football is all about.”

The goal-line stand wasn’t the only big stop by the Northside defense. The biggest of the others came when North Cobb went for it on fourth-and-1 from its 26 while holding a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles stopped North Cobb quarterback Nick Grimstead for no gain and took over from there. Three Northside plays moved the ball to the 23, and Paredes kicked a 40-yard field goal to tie the game 17-17 with 6:34 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Northside (2-2) stopped North Cobb on fourth down two other times, including once at the Northside 12 midway through the second quarter. The Eagles also forced North Cobb to kick a field goal after having the ball first-and-goal at the Northside 7. Javy Morales’ 26-yard field goal gave North Cobb a 17-14 lead with 1:50 left in the third quarter, less than three minutes after Northside had tied the game 14-14 on a 4-yard run by Keron Milton.

North Cobb (2-2), ranked No. 5 in Class 7A, was playing its second game without its injured starting quarterback, Arkansas-committed Malachi Singleton, but the Warriors still put up 330 total yards. Singleton’s replacement, Grimstead, was 13-of-15 passing for 203 yards, and David Mbadinga had 86 yards rushing on 27 carries.

Northside did almost all of its damage with the running game, which accounted for 248 of the Eagles’ 274 yards. Quarterback Damien Dee ran for 94 yards on 18 carries but completed just three of 12 passes for 26 yards. Michael McClendon ran for 81 yards on 17 carries.

The Warriors outgained Northside 163-161 in the first half and led 14-7 at the break. Mbadinga scored on North Cobb’s first two possessions, on runs of 10 and six yards. In between, Northside got its only points of the half on a 14-yard run by Duke McClinton.

Northside has seen its share of ups and downs in the non-region portion of the schedule. The Eagles opened the season with a 27-21 loss to Class 5A Jones County, rebounded with a 35-7 victory over Class 3A power Peach County, then lost to rival Warner Robins 17-10 in overtime two weeks ago. All four of the Eagles’ opponents were ranked in the top seven in their classifications when the games were played.

Northside will play its final non-region game next weekend against Crisp County, currently ranked No. 7 in Class 3A, before heading into Region 1-6A play against Tift County on Sept. 30.

“We can’t play four tougher teams than what we’ve played,” Alligood said. “We’re battle-tested. I told the guys to just keep playing. That’s why we made this schedule because we’re trying to play in game 15, so you want to play good people.”

Northside - 7-0-7-3-3 - 20

North Cobb - 14-0-3-0-0 - 17

First quarter

NC - David Mbadinga 10 run (Javy Morales kick), 6:42

N -  Duke McClinton 14 run (Ashton Paredes kick), 3:24

NC - Mbadinga 6 run (Morales kick), 1:03

Third quarter

N - Keron Milton 4 run (Paredes kick), 4:42

NC - Morales 26 field goal, 1:50

Fourth quarter

N - Paredes 40 field goal, 6:34

Overtime

N - Paredes 30 field goal