KENNESAW — Darlington looked every part of an undefeated juggernaut in the first half Friday night, scoring three touchdowns and moving the ball with ease.
It felt like the visiting Tigers were dictating a rout, but North Cobb Christian turned the narrative in the second half and was a few miscues away from threatening Darlington’s unblemished record.
Two turnovers-on-downs in the fourth quarter made long drives from the Eagles moot, and Darlington escaped with a 21-6 road victory.
The win, which was head coach Tommy Atha’s 150th career win, puts the No. 4-ranked Tigers at 9-0 overall and a perfect 6-0 against Region 6-A/A opponents. They will be back on the road next Friday to take on undefeated Fellowship Christian for the region championship.
The Eagles were outgained 351 to 215, but outgained the Tigers in the second half. In the first half, Darlington’s quick-strike passing game clicked. Quarterback Griffin Brewster completed a 3-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Forsha on the opening drive.
The Tigers made it 14-0 on a 1-yard scoring run from Kolin Rogers following a lost fumble from NCC, then scored on the final play of the half on a 10-yard strike from Brewster to Trystin Wright.
Brewster finished 24 of 36 through the air for 238 yards, while Rogers carried 22 of the Tigers’ 25 runs for a total of 77 yards.
Wright frustrated the Eagles by making a hand full of catches on similar quick out-routes, finishing with 93 yards on 8 catches, while Patrick Shelley and Forsha has five catches each for 57 and 53 yards, respectively.
The Eagles were led on the ground by Hall’s 58 yards, including a 20-yard run on the final drive. Pruitt had a 41-yard reception on the previous possession to help the Eagles into scoring position.
North Cobb Christian (6-3, 3-3 6-A/A) was 7 yards away from making it 21-13 midway through the final period when a combination of penalties and a fumble ended the scoring threat. The Eagles also put the Tigers defense in their own end zone on the next drive before sputtering again.
But the Eagles shutout the Tigers’ dangerous offense in the second half and used runs from Kamron Hall and Ryan Pruitt to gain chunks of yards seldom seen in the first 24 minutes. NCC scored in the third, when quarterback Ansen Mathis sold a fake perfectly and found Levi Brown down the middle for a 58-yard touchdown pass.