By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
As far as dress rehearsals go, Forsyth Central football coach Frank Helper likes what he saw on Friday night from his young team.
The Bulldogs, instituting a new option offense, rushed the ball 34 times for 208 yards to earn a 21-18 scrimmage win over Meadowcreek on Friday night.
“We wanted to be a little more balanced,” Helper said. “The younger kids came in and they don’t know the passing game as well, so we ran the ball a little more, and that’s a nice thing about that offense.”
With quarterback Hunter Cagle under center, the Bulldogs started the game on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that took off 8:59 on the clock. Bronson Landreth’s 2-yard dive gave Central a 7-0 lead.
Cagle exited the game a few plays earlier with a lower leg injury. Helper said it was a sprain and they will reevaluate him in the next few days.
As impressive as the new offense was, the new defensive scheme implemented by coordinator David Rooney that shined bright. They held Meadowcreek to 12 points before a last second touchdown by Malachi Watson to Jabari Ponders.
After a 35-yard pass from quarterback Quincy Bonner in the first quarter, the Mustangs did not give up a big play the rest of the game. Meadowcreek rushed 37 times for 171 yards.
“Our front did a really good job and a lot of that has to do with the veterans we have on coming back,” Helper said. “The secondary, though I thought we were going to have some work to do, played pretty well.”
It was a game of big plays for the Bulldog offense. On his second snap, sophomore Ryan Vanuum broke three tackles on the way to a 32-yard touchdown to take a 14-0 lead in to halftime. In the fourth quarter, Solomon Gates broke three tackles and blew by two more in route to a 36-yard score.
He led all rushers with 58 yards on three attempts.
“He’s quick,” Helper said. “He came over to us this summer and he’ll get a lot of touches as we move on if he continues to progress.”
Helper praised his leaders on the offense – Dalton Edmunds, Patrick Leathers and the offensive line – for creating lanes allowing his playmakers to create in the open field.
Meadowcreek head coach Jason Carrera praised Central’s ability to run the football against his team.
“It’s a tough offense to go against in a scrimmage where you don’t prepare for them,” Carrera said. “We really had no idea he was going to run (the option). That’s not what he ran last year. You still have to go out and play football and do what you’re supposed to do on defense.”
Helper admitted they have plenty to work on to be ready for next week’s season opener against Chamblee.
“We’re just trying to rebuild this program,” Helper said. “We talked about being 1-0 and (doing) as best we can. We did that this week and let’s try to be 1-0 next week.”