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Chiefs chop Dawgs
Absentee offense dooms Central against McIntosh
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Forsyth County News

PEACHTREE CITY -- Forsyth Central traveled to the other side of Atlanta to open up the football season.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that was about the only long drive they experienced on Friday.

McIntosh scored a touchdown in every quarter and Central’s offense never really got revved up, resulting in a 28-7 road loss for the Dawgs.

“It is frustrating. [McIntosh] did a great job tonight,” Central head coach Chris Bennett said. “They deserved to win that game and we didn’t. We had too many mental mistakes, we shot ourselves in the foot too early ... in the first half and we just never really recovered from it.”

A large bullet was buried in the Bulldogs’ collective feet in the first quarter. Central’s offense got a second chance after being forced into a three-and-out on its first possession, when McIntosh (1-0) fumbled the punt recovery and the Dawgs recovered at the Chiefs’ 14-yard line.

Central (0-1) got the ball all the way down to the 4 and appeared to be on the verge of breaking a scoreless tie, but a fumble gave the ball back to McIntosh at the 2. Two plays earlier, a 10-yard penalty had wiped out what would have been a touchdown run by Dustin Canon (52 rushing yards).

Though the Dawgs ended up losing by three scores, Bennett conceded that scoring early could have changed the course of the game.

“It’s such a game of momentum. That would have been huge to jump out early ... but again, that’s our fault. We had an opportunity and we didn’t capitalize.”

Instead, it was McIntosh breaking on top first, starting at their own 2-yard line and going all the way down the field.

Chiefs quarterback Cam Porter (13-of-19 passing, 255 yards, three touchdowns) delivered a short pass to Bradley Larson (two catches, 132 yards, two touchdowns) and Larson did the rest, resulting in a 90-yard play from scrimmage that put the home team on top 7-0 with 3:08 left in the first period.

Central struck back on the ensuing drive, going 78 yards on six plays, with a 51-yard run by Phillip Ray (87 yards on 14 carries) setting the table on the drive. Ray also finished the march, running up the gut for a two-yard touchdown to tie the game with six seconds left in the first quarter.

The game appeared to be headed to halftime in that 7-7 deadlock, but McIntosh got yet another touchdown out of a long play, with a Porter-to-Larson airmail going 42 yards for a score, putting the Chiefs up 14-7 with just 15 seconds left before halftime.

Bennett was clearly frustrated with the Chiefs’ ability to find the big scoring play when they needed it.

“We can’t play good two out of three downs,” the coach said of his defense. “We’ve got to play good for three downs and get off the field ... We’ve got to get better in that area.”

The second half was a constant struggle for Central’s offense. The Dawgs touched the ball four times after the half, and the first three possessions yielded one first down, two punts and one very costly turnover.

Central’s last possession of the night looked relatively better, but still only netted 37 yards and ended with a turnover on downs.

“There were some scheme things that we didn’t pick up [on offense] and really, the bottom line is I think they kind of wanted to play a little bit harder than we did, and that's my fault. ... We’ll address that this weekend and get that fixed,” Bennett said.

Central’s defense appeared to have scored a blow in the third quarter, when they forced McIntosh to settle for a missed 36-yard field goal attempt after a long drive that ate up a good bit of the quarter.

But after the Dawgs’ offense took over on their own 19, Canon delivered an interception to Daniel Price that put the Chiefs right back in business, 14 yards from paydirt.

Three plays later and it was 21-7, as Porter hit Nick Morrow for 12 yards, with Morrow pulling in the catch along the side of the end zone to record the score.

Darius Miliam put the icing on the cake for McIntosh, capping off a 67-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run with 6:26 to play.

The trip marked Central’s only nonregion game of the year. Central holds its home and Region 6-AAAA opener Friday, when it plays host to the Lithonia Bulldogs.