You can’t spell Bowdon with out “D” in the middle.
That defensive push is what preserved the Red Devils’ 21-7 homecoming victory over North Cobb Christian at Historic Warren P. Sewell Stadium on Friday night.
A microcosm of how the Bowdon’s fourth straight win played out came in the final minutes of third quarter.
After the Eagles took over on the Devils 33, the team was afflicted with two pre-snap penalties and a holding call as well as three stellar defensive plays that pushed North Cobb Christian back to their own 35.
The Eagles’ punt ending that drive represented the first play of the fourth quarter.
When the Red Devils took over, the goal was to run clock, chew up turf, and ideally score the football to put the game away.
Tanner Langley did everything but eat clock. He took a handoff, sliced up the middle and worked his way to the sideline and beat the Eagles’ defense to the pylon for a 47-yard touchdown with 9:31 to play in the game. The extra point gave the Red Devils some breathing room at 14-0.
Did the newly seized momentum make the Devils’ defense hungrier despite feasting all night?
They certainly looked that way.
The Eagles converted a long third down to Bowdon’s 32. But a sack on third down by four Red Devil defenders followed by a pre-snap penalty set up 4th and 24 near midfield.
Bowdon’s Andrew Hobson secured an interception at the eight.
With less than five minutes to play, all Bowdon had to do was run the clock out.
But a fumble led to a 31-yard touchdown pass by the Eagles with 3:19 to play in the game cutting the Devils cushion in half.
Luke Windom took the first handoff on the ensuing drive after Langley pounced on an onside kick, and broke away for a 55-yard touchdown run with 3:07 to play.
After one more stand that ended with a Will Rainwater open-field tackle, the win was sealed.
Bowdon hasn’t lost since a setback at Haralson County that could have been a win, if not for an incompletion in the end zone as the clock ran out.
They take on Mt. Zion in two weeks.
There wasn’t much luck for Robert McNeal throwing.
Two long incompletions early in the first quarter and a tipped pick in the third quarter with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter put the Eagles at Bowdon’s 33.
But as it had done all night, the defense pushed back the Eagles’ offense.
There wasn’t much to celebrate on offense for either team in the first half. In fact, many times both NCC and Bowdon operated behind the sticks.
On 3rd and 14, a pass from McNeal to Windom in the flat into the open field kept a drive alive.
That play worked a couple of times in the first half.
But that opening drive stalled on the next series after McNeal overthrew Langley in the end zone on fourth down.
It was the third long ball that felt the turf in Bowdon’s first two drives of the game.
Neither team was able to put points on the board in the first quarter.
While McNeal was having trouble in the first half with his arm, his legs had zero issues.
A pair of designed runs got the Red Devils into the red zone. A second false-start penalty of the first half, however, turned a 3rd and 1 into a 3rd and 6 back at the Eagles’ 22.
McNeal converted that third down with a 14-yard run on the right edge.
It took Bowdon all four plays of the next series to go the final eight yards. Langley got three of those plays including the final six inches with 6:40 to go in the first half.
The extra point completed the 7-0 payoff of Bowdon’s drive that consumed a chunk of time off the clock and significant real estate.
The Eagles began their first drive of the second quarter with nearly half of it gone and a penalty that backed them up to their own 18.
Bowdon’s defense followed the game’s officials in pushing North Cobb Christian backwards with a tackle for loss three yards.
That sparked the Eagles’ three-and-out and put the Devils at their own 43.
The third time was the charm for Bowdon and the long throwing game on a completion from their own 43 to the NCC 16.
But that drive stalled and Bowdon went into the locker room with a 7-0 edge.