WARNER ROBINS -- There’s only one chance for a first impression, and Tobias Oliver made a pretty good one.
The sophomore became Northside’s starting quarterback Wednesday when incumbent Jurmon Weaver suffered an appendicitis.
That gave Oliver two days with the first team. They were apparently pretty decent days.
Oliver managed the offense and displayed calm throughout as Northside topped North Cobb 38-20 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Oliver didn’t hang around after the alma mater to accept too much back-patting.
“I think he’s on the bus,” Northside head coach Kevin Kinsler said as the Eagles marched in that direction. “I think he’s wore out.
“Tobias? What can you say? But that’s what we expect.”
Oliver passed for 111 yards and ran for 75, and Willie Jordan had 128 yards and three touchdowns in a little more than a half of work.
The Eagles ran for 410 yards on 58 carries as they kept the Warriors’ defense busy.
North Cobb’s chances for the upset took a huge hit in the second quarter when quarterback/punter Tyler Queen, rolling out for a rugby-style punt, was leveled after the kick.
Northside was flagged for a personal foul and Queen continued. But he came out of the locker room after halftime with his pads off. Upon reaching the sideline, his chest was wrapped.
The Warriors trailed 21-13 at the time, thanks to two big plays on blown Northside coverage, the Eagles dominating time of possession.
Queen’s absence took that big-play potential away for North Cobb. For the third quarter.
The Eagles couldn’t take advantage, and Queen began putting his pads back on near the end of the third quarter, his team down 15 points.
And he opened the fourth, throwing nice passes -- not always caught -- despite the injury.
A 39-yard completion put the Warriors on the Northside 15, but they lost 10 on a penalty, got 10 back but a catchable pass in the end zone wasn’t caught. The deficit was too big and the time to come back too short.
“They said to see how I felt,” said Queen, who said he suffered a sternum injury. “I had to try to help my team. But I couldn’t breathe completely.”
Queen’s passes hit a lot of teammates’ hands, but he finished only with 10 completions in 30 tries for an impressive 281 yards.
Oliver marched the Eagles 72 yards on 12 plays to open the game, Jordan carrying eight times along the way, including the final 2 yards.
Northside botched pass coverage badly and Queen found Jordan McCray for a surprisingly easy 64-yard touchdown on the Warriors’ third play from scrimmage.
Another drive stalled and ended with a high snap on a field goal try.
Oliver found Nate Greene for 20 yards on third-and-12 and then for 38 on third-and-9, setting up Jordan’s dive from a yard out and 14-7 lead with 9:56 left in the half.
North Cobb did it again, this time for 83 yards, with help from Northside’s secondary. Tae Daley and Rakwon Young bounced off of each other after the catch, allowing Quannie Green to score.
A high snap sabotaged the PAT, and the Warriors trailed by one with 9:28 left in the half.
“We had to keep Queen off the field,” Kinsler said. “I thought our defense, after those two big plays, settled down and played pretty good.”