They were poised to score on second-and-goal at the Falcons’ 10-yard line with just over 5 minutes to play.
Little did the Warriors know, the very next play — a 90-yard fumble return by Pebblebrook — would change the game in favor of the Falcons.
In a battle of undefeated teams in Region 4AAAAA play, North Cobb would go on to lose its lead and eventually the game. Pebblebrook used those final 5 minutes of regulation to make a stunning comeback before eventually securing a 36-34 victory Friday in three overtimes at Emory Sewell Stadium.
After North Cobb failed to convert its required 2-point conversion in the third overtime — teams must go for 2 after touchdowns in the third overtime and later — Pebblebrook got the eight points needed for the victory. It took four plays for Sertonuse Harris to find the end zone from 2 yards out, and the Falcons’ conversion was successful when C.J. Goodman connected with a wide-open Perry Seldon.
“I drew the defense in with my feet (during the conversion),” Goodman said. “(The defense) came to me, and I lightly threw it over their heads and got it in there.”
What North Cobb (3-3, 2-1) may be thinking about now was how it allowed a two-touchdown lead to get away.
The second-and-goal play late in the fourth quarter came on a high snap by North Cobb. Quarterback Tyler Queen rescued the ball, but he couldn’t hold on to it, and Khalid Henderson snatched it out of his hands and ran 90 yards the other way for a touchdown.
With the North Cobb lead cut in half, Pebblebrook (3-3, 3-0) caught another break when its special teams managed to pin the Warriors on their own one on the ensuing kickoff.
After failing to move the ball on the first two downs, Queen dropped back to pass in North Cobb’s end zone and scrambled out of the pocket. Before he found his target, Jerry Sharpe stripped the ball out of his hands, and Tyberius Cravens recovered it in the end zone for the game-tying touchdown.
The Falcons obviously had problems getting to the end zone during regulation. The closest they came was to the 15-yard line in the first half, but they missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt.
“We were just trying to hang in there, get a break here and there, and try to make a game of it,” Pebblebrook coach Randall Smith said. “We gave up a couple of opportunities, early in the game, to score, but we were glad to have another opportunity to score in the end.”
If the three overtimes were any indication, Pebblebrook’s offense played its best football inside the 15.
The Falcons scored on two plays in the first overtime to tie it at 21-all. After getting pushed back to the 20 on a holding penalty in its second attempt, Pebblebrook scored four plays later to take a 28-21 lead.
The Falcons’ chances of winning looked good in the second overtime, when North Cobb faced a fourth-and-6 situation on the 11, but the Warriors tied it when Queen found Xavier Borishade in the end zone.
With both teams required to go for 2 in the third overtime, North Cobb scored to take the lead, but the Falcons successfully defended their 2-point attempt when Queen’s pass was intercepted.