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Football: Forsyth Central offense stalls against Cambridge
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Forsyth Central running back Malachi McElroy carries the ball Friday during the Bulldogs' 35-0 loss to Cambridge. - photo by David Roberts

Forsyth Central suffered a 35-0 shutout Friday night at the hands of Cambridge.

Cambridge quarterback Zach Harris lobbed a 36-yard pass down the home sideline on the first play from scrimmage, initiating a six-play, 80-yard drive to put the Bears up 7-0. Harris had touchdown passes of 4, 34 and 25 yards, completing 12 of 21 passes for 238 yards.

Cambridge outgained the Bulldogs in total yards 382 to 113.

"We're far from healthy," Central head coach David Rooney said. "We have a young line to begin with, and we had our sophomore center last week get hurt, then we had another sophomore that was out tonight as well. We're playing with two freshmen, really, on the line."

Central played without sophomore center Charlie Shadburn and could never find much rhythm offensively. 

The Bulldogs' first play from scrimmage was an 11-yard sack that saw Bennett Long shoot through the line of scrimmage before quarterback Drew Mullvain had any time to set his feet. 

Long had another sack two drives later that turned a third-and-4 into a fourth-and-16.

Austin McNeil made an interception off a tipped pass during Cambridge's second drive, which gave the Bulldogs some momentum and a chance to even the score. 

Instead, after a 7-yard run by running back Malachi McElroy and a first down by way of penalty, Central ran the ball three times, gaining a yard, losing two, then barely getting back to the line of scrimmage on third-and-11. 

The Bears answered with a 16-play scoring drive that covered 79 yards and ended with a 2-yard TD run by Jack Marlow. The drive was kept alive by a defensive pass interference call, three third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion where Harris hit wide receiver Ian Chaffin on an out route to set up Cambridge first-and-goal from the 3-yard line.

Cambridge scored on back-to-back drives — a 4-yard TD pass to Carson Kent and a 34-yard TD throw to Marlow — to carry a 21-0 lead into halftime. 

Central moved the ball with some efficiency to start the second half, but a personal foul call wiped out a 7-yard first-down run by McElroy on the first play of the third quarter, then a holding call stalled the Bulldogs' following drive.

The Bulldogs also had some miscues on defense. After forcing Harris into three straight incompletions, Jayce Todaro was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after breaking up the pass. 

On the next play, Harris threw a 34-yard TD pass to Marlow. 

"We could have made a lot more plays," Rooney said. "Once again, give them credit for the plays they made tonight. They've got a real good team. Coach [Craig] Bennett does a great job over there."

Central linebacker Aiden Meehan played inspired defense late in the fourth quarter, despite the deficit. He made a tackle for loss on fourth-and-inches from Central's own 4-yard line, then on the following drive, he was joined by Todaro and Camden Leak, who stood up Jaiden Byrd on fourth-and-2 to force the turnover on downs.

Central [1-2] will open Region 6-7A play next week at Gainesville, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17.

"We're getting ready for region next week against Gainesville. We're looking forward to it. We're going to put in the work this week to prepare them and put them in the best position we can to be competitive and to win."