LOGANVILLE — Forsyth Central's football team waited 315 days to get back on the field. The Bulldogs didn't need long to score, only about five minutes.
Quarterback Bronson Landreth found wide receiver Noah Chol for a 38-yard touchdown pass on Central's fifth play of the game, the Bulldogs racked up more than 200 rushing yards, and Central led the entire game during Friday's 14-7 win at Loganville.
"Coming into someone's house and not having played for 10 months, the coaching staff did a great job," Central head coach Frank Hepler said. "From our weight room guys to our offense and defense; I give the kids a lot of credit, and their parents for getting them here and fighting through the pandemic and everything else. Very emotional right now. This is a tough win."
Central's five-play, 69-yard opening drive was its most efficient, but the Bulldogs' most impressive drive of the night was their last, when Landreth engineered a 16-play, 8-minute series to seal the win.
Fabian Martinez pinned Loganville at its own 9-yard line at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Red Devils running back Avery Hamilton ripped off a 39-yard run on the second play of the drive, as senior Owen Hosonitz tripped up Hamilton to save a touchdown.
Hamilton racked up 74 of his 187 rushing yards on the drive, which ended when quarterback Tanner Greene barreled into the end zone with 8:13 remaining in the game.
Chol returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but the score was wiped away by a holding call on Central's return team.
"We felt good about that return all week. Those kids have really been working on it, and he kicked it right where we wanted it," Hepler said. "I'll have to look at the film — they said it was on No. 22, which is Peyton, but he's the return guy. If he did, that's coaching. I blame that on me and not the kid. We'll try to make those adjustments and try to get better from this."
Instead, Central took the ball at its own 30-yard line and marched down the field, running the ball straight through the heart of Loganville's defense.
On third-and-1 from Central's 40-yard line, Landreth fought for 2 yards and a first down. Three plays later, facing a third-and-5, Landreth ran the option and pitched the ball to Chol, who went up the left sideline for 6 yards.
Loganville had Chol stopped on fourth down four plays later, but a Red Devils defender was flagged for a face mask penalty, giving the Bulldogs a fresh set of downs.
Central ran the ball all the way down to Loganville's 4-yard line, which is when time expired.
"It was a great feeling," Hepler said. "I know the kids have been looking forward to it, and I think maybe we were a little bit overexcited early on. It showed, you know, we had a couple mistakes once we got rolling a little bit. We had a couple opportunities we missed on that I thought maybe we could have cashed in on."
Central amassed 206 yards on the ground, led by junior Patrick Haertel's 73 yards on 15 carries. Haertel also scored Central's second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard plunge.
Landreth had 69 yards on 22 carries and completed 2 of 7 passes for 53 yards. Chol caught both of Landreth's passes, including an impressive toe-tapping, sideline grab in the third quarter.
Greene was 9-for-16 passing for 81 yards and an interception to Central senior Caydin Mowen.
Central (1-0) is scheduled to host Cambridge at 7:30 p.m. Friday.