WARNER ROBINS -- Caden Johnston said his teams loss to Houston County two weeks ago might have been the best medicine for his reeling Warner Robins teammates.
Maybe we just werent as good as we thought we were, the quarterback said Wednesday. Maybe we needed a wake-up call.
Then again, maybe the Demons were even better than they thought.
Warner Robins (8-1, 5-1 GHSA Region 2-AAAAA) created five turnovers and stunted Northsides big-play offense to shock the top-ranked Eagles 28-18 on a soggy Friday night at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.
The Demons can claim the region championship with a road win over Lakeside-Evans next Friday. It was Northsides first regular-season loss under head coach Kevin Kinsler and the first regular-season loss for the program since the Demons pulled off a similar upset in a 21-20 victory in 2009. The Eagles rebounded from that loss and eventually lost in the state championship game to Camden County.
This is the greatest night of my athletic career, said Johnston, who rushed for two touchdowns. The greatest win with my family. We bled together on this field. It was knock-down, drag-out till the end.
Warner Robins managed just 160 yards of offense, but it didnt need much more with the Eagles turning the ball over at an uncharacteristic clip.
The Demons entered the third quarter with a 7-3 lead, but head coach Bryan Way told his team this might be the crucial possession of the game.
His defense answered his challenge.
Northside quarterback Marcus Ivory hurried a pass that went right at Demons linebacker Collins Jones, who intercepted the pass and raced the other way for a 23-yard touchdown.
They gift-wrapped one to us, Way said. Our defense played a heck of a game.
The Eagles (8-1, 5-1) answered with a quick drive that included their longest play of the game -- a 36-yard pass from Ivory to Jurmon Weaver -- and ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Willie Jordan.
Everything after that became a struggle for the Eagles.
Marquez Callaway caught a tipped pass for an interception inside the Eagles 30 late in the third quarter. The Demons converted a third-and-12 on the ensuing possession and eventually scored on a 1-yard plunge by Jacob Jamerson on fourth-and-goal.
The Demons got another tipped interception on Northsides next possession -- this one by Shamair Mitchell -- and yet another on the next Eagles possession by Jamerson. The Jamerson interception came inside the Northside 20 and led to a 3-yard touchdown run by Johnston to push the Demons to a 28-10 lead. The final two interceptions came on drops by Eagles receivers.
This is the first time Ive seen something (like three tipped interceptions), Jamerson said. It was really amazing. We were just playing, trying to get after the ball and made the plays.
The Eagles cut the Demons lead to 10 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ivory to Weaver with 1:30 left, but they couldnt recover the onside kick.
Warner Robins played a near flawless first half to take a 7-3 halftime lead.
We told them that we had to play them even for the first half and take our chances from there on out, Way said.
Johnston scored from 8 yards out on a quarterback keeper to push the Demons ahead 7-0 midway through the second quarter. The touchdown capped a 16-play, 71-yard drive that featured four third-down conversions.
The Eagles answered the touchdown with their own methodical drive. They ran the ball nine times to move inside the Demons 25 yard line but had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Isaac Rivera following a sack and a pair of incompletions.