Itching to lock up its first state playoff berth in four seasons, North Forsyth did away with any suspense early, ringing up four touchdowns in the first quarter and rolling to a 50-7 win over the Northview in Raider Valley.
With the victory, the Raiders clinched the fourth seed from Region 7-AAAAA, bringing North its first playoff bid since 2005 and its first in Class AAAAA.
North (7-3, 5-3) will travel Friday to Cobb County to face Lassiter (10-0) in the opening round of the state playoffs.
The Trojans pulled away late to beat Roswell 42-25, clinching the Region 6-AAAAA title.
North head coach Jared Zito said the program he inherited two years ago was widely perceived to have no chance of competing in the state's highest classification after moving up from Class AAAA in 2006.
"Certainly, when you get a group of players [and coaches and supporters] who believe in what you want to get done ... when you finally reach a point where you can say you're successful, it certainly makes the work worth while and makes it more enjoyable," he said.
It was enjoyable Friday as North's offense rolled, getting two touchdowns each from Steven Hester (185 rushing yards), Tyler Slaton (102 rushing yards) and Joey Vicary (170 total yards).
Zito said the team was focused all week in practice, and that showed up in the quick start.
"We had one team standing in our way, and we weren't going to let them ruin what we had been working all year for," he said.
The last night of the high school football regular season featured a full slate of action. In other games it was:
* West Forsyth 42, West Hall 14
OAKWOOD — Ben Emert ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns, and five different West Forsyth players scored in the Wolverines’ 42-14 victory over home-standing West Hall.
The Wolverines (6-4, 3-2) rushed for 340 yards and five touchdowns. Tyler Lott also had an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half and finished with 115 total yards.
West had three players each rush for 79 yards or more.
"We ran about as well as we have all year, especially since we’re still thinking about the close loss to Flowery Branch (54-51 on Oct. 23)," said West head coach Frank Hepler.
"We would be getting ready for the playoffs, but hopefully that will be for next year."
* Mill Creek 24, South Forsyth 21
HOSCHTON - The Mill Creek Hawks and South Forsyth War Eagles each played one of their better games of the year Friday at Mill Creek Community Stadium.
Despite the War Eagles (1-9, 1-7) jumping out to a two touchdown lead by halftime, Mill Creek would answer in dramatic fashion.
With 38 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Hawks quarterback John Russ dived into the end zone from two yards out to give the Hawks a 24-21 victory.
South Forsyth did most of its damage on the ground, with Brett Charron rushing for 71 of the team's 111 yards and two touchdowns.
"This was probably our best game of the year," said South head coach Wendell Early. "I'm proud of our effort tonight."
* Tucker 41, Forsyth Central 0
Although the Bulldogs' season ended with the loss, their record actually improved last week from 2-7 to 4-6 by way of forfeiture from Lithonia and Stone Mountain, each of which violated Georgia High School Association regulations.
"The kids played hard [Friday] but we never could get in a rhythm," said Central head coach Chris Bennett. "Tucker played very well. They're defending state champions for a reason."
Bennett thanked his seniors for their hard work and said he is ready to begin preparation for next season.
"I told our young kids that next year starts tomorrow," he said.
* GISA playoffs: Pinecrest 38, Brookwood 6
Pinecrest showed why it was the 1-IAAA region champions in the opening round of the GISA playoffs.
The top-seeded Paladins dazzled their home fans and Atlanta television cameras as they defeated the Brookwood School of Thomasville 38-6.
The Paladins (10-1) will stay at home this week to play the Monte de Sales-Gatewood winner.
“It was our goal to come out and put the game away quickly,” said Pincecrest head coach Charles Wiggins. “We didn’t want to allow them to be in the game.”
Even while resting two offensive starters, the Paladins powered to a 35-0 halftime lead behind three rushing touchdowns from backup running back Jacob Carr. For the game, Carr totaled 180 yards on 19 carriers.
* JV game: Lambert 43, Johnson 14
For complete game coverage, see the next edition of the Forsyth County News.