By DOUG GORMAN
The East Coweta football team learned an important lesson Friday night about playing all four quarters.
It came in the form of a hard-fought loss as the Indians fell to visiting North Cobb 30-24 in overtime.
East Coweta head coach John Small won’t count Friday’s performance as a moral victory, but he did praise his team’s effort.
“I am proud to death of this team,” he said. “This was two very good football teams tonight. We were 0-3 coming in, but I don’t feel like we are a winless team. We are growing each week.”
The Indians opened the season with three-road losses before finally returning to Garland Shoemake Memorial Stadium with hopes of changing their fate Friday night.
For a time it looked like it might work.
Playing for the first time on the newly installed artificial turf, East Coweta built a 14-0 lead in the first half and led by 10 points minutes into the fourth quarter when it went up 24-14.
North Cobb, which brought a perfect 3-0 record into the non-region contest, however, scored the last 16 points including the game-winner in overtime to secure the victory and head back to Kennesaw unbeaten.
North Cobb running back Christian Singleton was a thorn in the Indians’ side all night, scoring three touchdowns include the game winner in overtime.
East Coweta started the overtime with possession of the football at North Cobb’s 15, but the drive started on a bad note when the snap sailed over quarterback Nate Cronic’s head.
Although he recovered the football, the play went for a 17-yard loss.
The drive stalled after a missed field goal by the Indians.
Singleton took over for North Cobb and scored almost untouched for the game winner on the first play of the series.
Turnovers plagued both teams throughout the night especially in the second half when East Coweta turned the ball over three times in a row.
After failing to move the ball on its first two series of the game, East Coweta put together an 80-play drive late in the first quarter for the first touchdown of the game.
Cronic completed an 11-yard pass to J.J. Fred on third down to kept the drive alive for the Indians.
Three plays later, Cronic connected with Gerald Green on a 40-yard screen pass to help give the Indians a 7-0 lead.
East Coweta increased the margin to 14-0 with 5:49 left in the half when Dantarius Chunn intercepted a pass and returned it down the sidelines for the Indians’ second score of the night.
The Warriors stole some of the Indians’ momentum with just over three minutes left in the half when they marched 80-yards for their first score.
North Cobb converted a fourth-down during the drive and one play later, quarterback Trevor Lovett tossed a 24-yard touchdown to Christian Finch.
The extra point failed and the Indians took a 14-6 lead into the break.
North Cobb tied the game at 14-all on the opening series of the second half when Singleton capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run.
The Warriors added the 2-point conversion to tie the game.
East Coweta regained the lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter when Dylan Lewis drilled a 43-yard field goal to give the Indians a 17-14 lead.
On its next series, North Cobb moved the football into East Coweta territory, but the Indians’ defense stopped a fake punt by the Warriors as the third quarter came to an end.
Green then gave the Indians a 24-14 lead with 11:49 left in the game when he took the handoff and sprinted 55 yards on the first play of the series.
It was the last time, East Coweta put points on its half of the scoreboard
North Cobb cut the lead to 24-21 with 8:58 left when Lovett scored on a short run from inside the 5-yard line.
The series was kept alive when the Warriors D’Andre Ferguson caught a long pass on fourth-and-20 to keep possession of the football.
The Warriors tied the game with 2:50 left when Will Aldridge booted a 20-yard field goal.
There was still some life left for the Indians in regulation.
Chunn came up with his second interception of the game giving the Indians a chance to win the contest in the last two minutes, but Lewis’ 49-yard field goal attempt sailed wide.
East Coweta says home next week in its final non-region game when it host McEachern.