ATLANTA — If they don’t score, then you can’t lose.
For the second time this year, Forsyth Central demonstrated the truth of that basic principle, as the Bulldogs overcame a middling offensive performance with an A-plus defensive effort, blanking Lakeside 22-0 at Adams Stadium in DeKalb County Saturday.
Keaton Summerlin scored two touchdowns for Central (3-4 overall, 3-3 Region 6-AAAA), but the real star of the night was the Bulldog defensive unit, which limited the Vikings (0-7, 0-6) to a net output of -3 yards in the first two quarters and dominated the line of scrimmage on almost every snap.
“The last couple weeks, our defense, they’ve played great,” Central coach Chris Bennett said. “They flew around, they did things. [We] sputtered a little bit on offense. Got going a little bit in the second half, but we gotta do better early on. ... Our defense, just hats off to our kids and our coaches and they’ve done a great job.”
Central’s defensive highlights included Jason Wood recovering a fumble for the Bulldogs on their first defensive series, and the Central ‘D’ holding on a fourth-and-2 at the Bulldog 25 on the Vikings’ first possession of the third quarter. That series was Lakeside’s deepest penetration of the night.
Lakeside’s largest individual output came from Bradley Dennis, one of three quarterbacks the Vikings put on the field for the game. Dennis rushed for 34 yards and completed one pass for six yards.
The Vikings managed 68 yards of total offense, factoring in penalties.
“Our kids really bought into what we were trying to do defensively, and they were flying around and had a bunch of big hits tonight,” said defensive coordinator Alan Slaughter.
Central also pitched a shutout in the fourth game of the season, topping Stone Mountain 15-0.
On offense, Summerlin had two touchdown runs in the first half, of 25 and 2 yards respectively, on a 40-yard night.
Josh Freese led the Bulldogs with 63 yards and Taylor Bradford chipped in 60 yards in an almost exclusively run-oriented attack.
Dustin Canon returned a punt nearly 70 yards late in the third quarter to boost what had been a 12-0 halftime lead to 19-0, and Ryan Snyder booted a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to provide the 22-point advantage.
There were some hiccups along the way. Snyder missed the extra point after Summerlin’s first score, after the kick was backed up to the 30 by penalties, and the Dawgs missed a two-point conversion attempt following the second touchdown.
Central also muffed a punt return in the second quarter that set up Lakeside on the Bulldog 43, opening a door that the Dawg defense quickly shut.
But in the end, a win’s a win, Bennett noted.
“We didn’t do all the right things. We did some things that were kind of ugly, but we beat a team that we should have beat and that’s what we’ve got to be able to do, and the kids responded and they did that,” he said.
“Anytime you get a win, that’s a great thing. Our kids deserve that as hard as they’ve worked. You know, we got Chamblee next week who’s a great football team, but right now, we’re going to try to enjoy this one for the weekend.”