Some pregame extracurriculars went West Forsyth’s way, and the Wolverines used a red-hot start to exact revenge on their county rival in a 38-0 triumph.
West scored touchdowns on five of six first-half possessions and held North Forsyth to 14 yards of offense in the first half.
Wingback Jake Wieczorek led the way with 137 all-purpose yards, and Blake Roberts returned from an injury to add two touchdowns on the ground for the Wolverines (7-1, 3-1 Region 6-AAAAA).
“We’re more balanced and we came out with a high tempo,” Roberts said. "[North] couldn't hang with us."
The Raiders (1-6, 1-2) had defeated West by a combined score of 58-0 in the teams’ 2009 and 2010 meetings. The Wolverines claimed the rivalry’s Leatherhead Trophy in its second year of existence.
Quarterback A.J. Erdely completed 9 of 17 passes for 129 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown to Tanner Bridges that gave West a 35-0 lead with 42 seconds left in the first half.
North finished with 31 yards of offense, including -2 rushing yards. West tied its own school record with seven sacks, four of which defensive end Drew Robbins either made himself or assisted on.
“It was real frustrating,” Raiders quarterback Harris Roberts said. “We just came out flat.”
Things got ugly for North even before kickoff.
The Raiders were flagged for an unsportmanlike conduct penalty upon taking the field after warmups. The foul allowed West to kick off from the North 45-yard line.
In the opposite end zone, the Wolverines came out sporting freshly-adorned forest green jerseys, drawing a huge roar from the home crowd vested in the same color.
North running back Luke Slaton (10 yards on nine carries) lost a fumble on the second play from scrimmage, and Blake Roberts (74 yards on 17 carries) scored the first of two one-yard touchdowns three plays later.
Wieczorek (96 yards on five rushes, three catches for 41 yards) rushed around right end for a 32-yard score on West’s next possession, and running back Bradley Reeves shot straight up the middle on the fifth play of the second quarter for a 57-yard touchdown to make it 28-0.
With one region loss apiece, West and Centennial now sit in second place behind Alpharetta. The Wolverines have the tiebreaker over the Knights, who host North next Friday. West travels to Milton and Roswell to close out its regular season slate.
Northwest Whitfield 28, Forsyth Central 21
In a game full of penalty flags, bizarre plays and momentum swings, Forsyth Central stood on the cusp of a memorable homecoming victory.
Instead, it was Northwest Whitfield who came through in the fourth quarter, dealing the Bulldogs’ flickering playoff hopes a devastating blow.
The visiting Bruins scored two touchdowns in the final seven minutes, rallying to edge Central 28-21.
“We had the opportunity to make a few plays and couldn’t do it,” said Central head coach Chris Bennett. “It wasn’t from lack of effort.”
The effort was there all night for the Bulldogs (2-5, 2-5 Region 7-AAAA), who rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit on a night where Northwest was penalized 15 times, had two kickoff returns for touchdowns negated by penalties and missed a game-tying extra point following a penalty.
Quarterback Spencer Transue led Central with 72 yards rushing on 13 carries, and completed 8-of-18 passes for 76 yards.
With the loss, the Bulldogs sit three games out of the region’s fourth and final playoff spot with three games remaining. They play Friday at Creekview.
Rome 27, South 0
ROME — Mistakes by the third phase of South Forsyth’s team contributed heavily in a third-straight loss.
Two big special teams miscues late in the second quarter put South (2-5 overall, 2-5 Region 7-AAAA) in a 20-point hole that carried over to a 27-0 loss on the road against Rome.
South’s defense is what kept the War Eagles in the game, limiting the Wolves’ offense to nine first downs and two offensive touchdowns.
That effort came despite the War Eagles’ offense going three-and-out on seven of 11 possessions.
“We have a great bunch of guys who won’t quit and just kept fighting,” said South head coach Jeff Arnette. “… We will come back this week and work hard to get ready for next Friday.”
The War Eagles have a tough task ahead as they try to rebound at home against region co-leader Johns Creek.
King’s Ridge Christian 21, Pinecrest 18
Pinecrest’s last hope — a final pass — was intercepted at the goal line with 1:14 left in the game, allowing King’s Ridge Christian School to escape with a 21-18 victory at Paladins Field.
The ending was a late scare for the Tigers (4-3 overall, 2-2 Region 5N-A), who led 21-10 for much of the fourth quarter.
“The boys played hard and that’s all you can ask for,” said Pinecrest coach Charles Wiggins. “We had a chance to win the game, but fell just short.”
Quarterback Jimmy Strom guided the Paladins, with 198 yards and one touchdown passing and another score rushing.
Next up for Pinecrest is a visit to Wesleyan on Friday.
Lambert 38, Woodland 34
A win is the only thing that matters to Lambert’s head coach Sid Maxwell.
“As long as we win by one, I don’t care about the score,” said Maxwell after his Longhorns defeated visiting Woodland 38-34.
Despite being outscored 20-7 in the second half, the Longhorns were able to hold on to the victory and get back on track after their first region loss last week.
“You control your destiny, and that’s where we are right now. This win gives an opportunity to at least be in the hunt,” Maxwell said. “We got to take of business next few weeks, but this is a big, big game tonight.”
Lambert (5-1, 5-1 Region 7AAAA) travels to Cherokee County to face Sequoyah on Friday.
For complete coverage of all the games, see the next edition of the Forsyth County News. Follow sports writer Phil Ervin on Twitter @PhilErvin_FCN for all the latest in Forsyth County sports news.