DULUTH – It was a tough night for Forsyth Central as they travelled to Northview to take on the Titans.
A potent Northview passing attack coupled with costly mistakes by the Bulldogs led to a 48-21 loss in a Region 7-AAAAA, Div. A game.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs (1-8, 1-4), it wasn’t until the second half that the offense came alive and began to move the ball downfield. In an attempt to spark the offense, the Bulldogs tried two fake punts in the first half, but both attempts came up a yard shy of a first down. Northview took advantage, scoring touchdowns on both drives that followed the failed fake punt attempts.
Northview’s notoriously potent passing attack, headlined by quarterback D.J. Pearson, moved the ball efficiently throughout the first half. Pearson finished the half with 169 passing yards and three touchdowns, leading the Titans into the locker room with a commanding 21-0 lead at the intermission.
"We came out flat in the first half," Bulldogs coach Shane Williamson said. "We didn’t have any heart whatsoever, and I was very disappointed with the way we responded after our game last week against Creekview."
Whatever heart the Bulldogs lacked in the first half, they certainly made up for in the second half. After an inauspicious start to their second half comeback attempt, which began with a fumble on their first play from scrimmage, the Bulldogs’ offense started to move the ball downfield. Unfortunately for Central, each time the offense was able to put together a scoring drive, the Northview offense would answer with a scoring drive of its own.
The second half became somewhat of a shootout, as both teams traded scores for much of the remainder of the game. The Titans scored early in the third quarter to push their lead to 28-0, but Central was able to get on the board when Ryan Hintz took a handoff up the middle for a 2 yard touchdown to pull the Bulldogs within 28-7 midway through the third quarter.
"I told the guys that we would run the same run plays in the second half that we did in the first half," said Williamson. "It all comes down to blocking and making sure we seal off some holes for our runners. I felt like we did a better job of that after halftime."
But once again Northview answered the Bulldogs score, this time on the first play from scrimmage following the Central score, as Titans running back Nathan Phillips took the handoff 80 yards for a touchdown. A missed extra point kept the score at 34-7.
Next, it was Central’s turn as quarterback Michael Branigan found Jeremiah Jones across the middle for a 22 yard touchdown that made the score 34-14 as the third quarter ended.
The fourth quarter saw Branigan connect with Jones once again, this time on a 25 yard touchdown pass to the back corner of the end zone. Jones tapped both feet in bounds to secure the catch and gave the Bulldogs their final score of the night. The Titans added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 48-21 and close out the Bulldogs.
Branigan finished the game with 138 yards passing and two touchdowns, both to Jones, who finished with four catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.