North Cobb and Roswell High Schools are separated by only 19 miles but they haven’t played each other since 1999…and never with the stakes this big. The Warriors travel to Ray Manus Stadium Friday night to take on the Hornets with a spot in the GHSA AAAAAAA Semi-Finals on the line.

Roswell was expected to be here. North Cobb maybe not so much. Although remember when we televised their 35-7 first round win over Tift County just two weeks ago, we told you the Warriors were a dark horse in the AAAAAAA playoff field. Now we’ll find out if they are pretenders or truly contenders.

The Hornets are 12-0. They’ve won 26 of their last 27 games over the last two seasons. That lone loss was a 30-13 defeat vs. Colquitt County last December in the state championship game. Second only to Grayson in college football talent, Roswell has rarely been challenged in this 2016 season but not because they’ve played an easy schedule. Nine of the 10 opponents the Hornets beat in the regular season made the state playoffs.

Roswell has scored 45 points or more in five games this season and twice went for 55-plus. The Hornets have not allowed more than two touchdowns in a game all season and only two games were decided by less than 17 points, although those two have come in the last five games…a 17-14 win at Etowah and a 20-14 win vs Cherokee.

This is the eighth time Roswell has advanced to the state quarter-finals and four of those eight have come in the last 11 years. But this is the first time the Hornets have ever reached the quarters in back-to-back seasons and the first time they’ve ever recorded back-to-back undefeated regular seasons. So as you can see it’s no surprise that Roswell is back in the Elite Eight.

North Cobb on the other hand has slowly gotten better as the season has progressed and has reached the quarter-finals for just the third time in program history. The last time the Warriors got this far back in 2012 they won behind star quarterback Tyler Queen (the son of Head Coach Shane Queen) before being stopped in the semi-finals. It was the best season in program history as North Cobb finished 11-3.

A win Friday night would give the Warriors just their second 11-win season in program history and put them in the semis for just the second time. Since losing to McEachern 17-10 on GPB back on October 7th, North Cobb has won 6 straight games. This is the eighth time in Coach Queen’s 11 seasons that the Warriors made the playoffs…but getting this far has been much more rare.

To mark the Warriors dramatic improvement consider these numbers. After allowing 23.7 points-per-game in their first three games, North Cobb has allowed just 12.2 ppg in their nine games since. After averaging 23.5 ppg on offense in their first six games, the Warriors have scored 37.5 ppg in their last 6 games. North Cobb has been good in the close games too, going 3-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less.

The game will have plenty of star power. Roswell’s Xavier McKinney is an ESPN 4-star and ranked the #9 safety in the country. He has 13 offers and reports are that Clemson is his leader. If that’s the case, he would be joining his teammate LeAnthony Williams in Tigers’ orange and purple next season. Williams is also an ESPN 4-star, the 20th ranked cornerback in the country and is already committed to play for Dabo Swinney’s team. North Cobb boasts ESPN 4-star Chandler Wooten. He’s the #13 ranked outside linebacker in the country and he’s committed to Auburn.

So I can’t think of a better way for you to spend your Friday night. Watching what should be an incredible GHSA quarter-final playoff game on GPB starting at 7:00 p.m.

Here’s a bigger look at all of the big-time prospects you should be watching Friday night:

Roswell Hornets

-Xavier McKinney – ESPN 4-star and #9 senior safety – 13 offers with Clemson reportedly his leader

-LeAnthony Williams – ESPN 4-star and #20 senior CB – Committed to Clemson

-Tyneil Hopper – ESPN 3-star and #5 junior TE – Four offers from Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina and Wake Forest

-Jayden Comma – ESPN 3-star senior WR – Committed to Maryland over 22 other offers

-Corey Reed – ESPN 3-star senior WR – Committed to Louisville over 17 other offers

-Malik Willis – ESPN 3-star senior Athlete (plays QB for Roswell) – Committed to Virginia Tech over 12 other offers

-Jordan Tucker – ESPN 3-star senior OT – 15 offers with Louisville reportedly his leader after decommitting from Tennessee

-Sheldon Evans – Senior RB – 9 offers including Minnesota, App State and Georgia Southern (over 5,000 career rushing yards and over 60 TD)

-Justus Harris – Senior CB – 17 offers including Vandy, Georgia State and Mercer

-Kentrell Barber – Senior Athlete (plays WR for Roswell) – Offered by Illinois and Tennessee Tech

-Koby Cumberlander – Senior DE – 18 offers with Iowa State, Kansas State and UCF reportedly his leaders

-Jack Nichols – Senior OG – Offered by Gardner-Webb

-Christian Ford – Junior WR – Offered by Virginia Tech

-Turner Barckhoff – Senior Kicker – Offered by Stetson and Pikeville

North Cobb Warriors

-Chandler Wooten – ESPN 4-star and #13 senior OLB in the nation – Committed to Auburn over 28 other offers

-Drew Tejchman - Senior Athlete - 17 offers including NC State, Purdue, Georgia State and Georgia Southern

-Thurman Geathers – Junior DE – Offered by South Florida and Texas-San Antonio (nephew of former Atlanta Falcons DL Jumpy Geathers)

-Jai Erwin – Senior OLB – 9 offers with ECU, Marshall, and Ball State reportedly his leaders

-Will Lovett – Senior QB – Committed to Troy

-Christian Albright – Senior DE – Offered by Army and Charlotte