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North Paulding Narrowly Avoids Upset

The Wolfpack's home opener almost went to the Cougars.

barely escaped upset Friday night against Alexander in their home opener. With just five seconds to go in the fourth quarter, the Wolfpack were down by one point, when quarterback Zach Cummins flipped a quick 33-yard pass to wide receiver Joel Brooks in the end zone.

In last year's contest, North Paulding crushed Alexander, 51-3, but this season, the Cougars proved to be stiff competition, matching the Wolfpack almost point-for-point before taking the lead in the fourth quarter. 

North Paulding got the scoring duel started with Joel Brooks scoring the first touchdown just under five minutes into the game.  Alexander countered just three minutes later, but North Paulding would not be deterred and Brooks would score again for the Wolfpack before the first quarter expired. 

The second quarter featured a field goal kicked by the quarterback, Zach Cummins, and another touchdown from Alexander.  North Paulding held the lead at halftime, 14-17.

The Wolfpack came out strong in the second half, with wide receiver Marcus Anderson scoring early in the third quarter.  Taking their momentum into the fourth quarter, North Paulding running back Cornelius Collins carried the ball in from three yards out with 9:29 remaining in the game.  Alexander rallied, scoring two touchdowns and then intercepting a misread pass by North Paulding that would ultimately lead to a third score of the quarter with just 1:13 left in the game.  The Cougars would have the lead, 35-34, with just a minute to go before Cummins would throw the 33-yard pass that led to victory.

North Paulding ultimately defeated Alexander with a final score of 40-35.  The Wolfpack's season record now stands at 1-1.

Joe M. Turner September 03, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Couple of notes: - That 33-yard pass was not a foregone conclusion. The Cougar defense had held the Pack pretty successfully and had held them at that point to a 4th-and-10 situation. Tough call - try for a TD, or try for a long FG? Turns out NPHS was right to go for the TD, but it should be mentioned that the situation was do-or-die at that point due to the Cougar defense. - The Cougars very nearly won the game on a series of laterals after the final kickoff. With 5 seconds left, NP kicked off to Alexander and they ran laterals well past midfield - down to about the 35 or so - before finally going down with no time left on the clock. NPHS had the game in hand, but got sloppy and nearly let the wheels come off their wagon. Alexander capitalized on mistakes and as the 4th quarter progressed, it was clear this game would be a heartbreaker for someone. Congrats to the Wolfpack for avoiding a very bitter defeat... but congrats to the Cougars for making it easily the most exciting game in the county last night. Go Pack!
Kel Thornton September 03, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Joe - thanks for the additional input. I agree that it became do-or-die for the Wolfpack in the fourth quarter, as it would be for any team who is down by a single point with just over a minute remaining in the game. I think the Wolfpack struggled in the fourth more than any of the other quarters. A block in the back, a personal foul, and some other penalties got the Wolfpack off of their groove for a minute. Thankfully for North Paulding they managed to recover just in time.

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