NORCROSS – Forsyth Central scratched and clawed its way back into this game, but it wasn’t quite enough as Meadowcreek edged the Bulldogs 29-27 on Friday night.
Central trailed 26-6 late in the second quarter, but they battled back. The Mustangs just made too many big plays for the Bulldogs to win the game.
“It shows we’re not gonna get down and we’re always gonna come back, no matter what,” Central’s Devron Orsan said. “We’re not putting our heads down for anything.”
On the very first play of the game, Meadowcreek quarterback Quincy Bonner hit Jeremiah Caldwell on a 10-yard hitch route, Caldwell broke the tackle and took in 64 yards for a Mustangs touchdown.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the second quarter when Brad Thiltgen hit Mark Heard on a six-yard fade route in the right corner of the end zone.
In a span of four minutes in the second quarter, Meadowcreek broke a 57-yard touchdown run, had an 80-yard pick-six and a 33-yard touchdown run. The Bulldogs had a tough time containing Chauncey Williams, who ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
“That’s something we've got to continue to work on,” Central head coach Frank Hepler said. “We've got to know that any time some teams can go the distance, and we've got to do everything we can not to give up that big play. It’s something we stress every day in practice.”
Central dominated the possession in the first half. They ran 44 offensive plays to just 11 for the Mustangs. They controlled the ball for 19:07, compared to just 4:53 for Meadowcreek, but the big plays dug them into too deep of a hole.
The Mustangs were driving in the third quarter, and it looked like they were going to take a commanding two-score lead, but on third-and-goal, Jake Bump made a diving interception to give the Bulldogs the ball on their own 2-yard line.
That’s when the Bulldogs went on a 16-play, 98-yard touchdown drive that took 6:28. Thiltgen punched it in from a yard out to cut Meadowcreek’s lead to 26-20.
On that drive alone, Orsan carried 10 times for 58 yards. He was the bell cow for the Bulldogs’ offense. He carried the ball 22 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
“He’s a hard-working young man. He comes to practice everyday, he’s great in the weight room. He’s a great kid,” Hepler said. “The offensive line did a great job blocking for him.”
On the ensuing drive, Central had Meadowcreek looking at a third-and-10 after back-to-back stops to start the drive, but they were flagged for a unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the end of the play, which gave Meadowcreek an automatic first down. That drive also led to a 24-yard field goal, that ended up being the difference in the game.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen resilience from these guys,” Hepler said. “We came up short, but we’re learning lessons. We got ourselves down 26-6, it’s hard to battle back against a good, athletic team like this.”