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Forsyth Central, North Forsyth have some backyard fun in football scrimmage
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North Forsyth's student section brought plenty of spirit to Forsyth Central for the teams' scrimmage Friday night. - photo by Brian Paglia

North Forsyth scored 21 unanswered in the second half to knock off Forsyth Central 28-14 in the season’s opening scrimmage on Friday night.

While this game might not count in the win-loss column, the sounds of cowbells, whistles, and the crunching of shoulder pads can only signify one thing: high school football is back.

“When you get out here and start doing pregame warm-ups and the fans start showing up, your blood starts boiling and the juices start flowing, it’s a nice feeling,” North head coach Jason Galt said

Central’s varsity outscored North 14-7 in the first half, but both coaches expressed that their teams have plenty to work on before the real games start two weeks from now.

“We made plenty of mistakes,” Central head coach Shane Williamson said. “But at the same time for us to be able put together a couple drives once we got our feet up under us and knock the rust off, so to speak, I felt like we saw some good things. But we got plenty to work on.”

Each team turned the ball over three times in the first half for a grand total of six turnovers, including four fumbles.

“We just need to cut down on our mistakes,” Galt said. “It’s just a scrimmage, you’re going make mistakes, but with our brand of football, we can’t afford to make mistakes.”

The Bulldogs’ Sabrian Howard scored the game’s first touchdown from 3 yards out to cap off a strong nine-play, 80-yard drive early in the second quarter to put Central up 7-0.

North responded by feeding Simon Holcomb on their first touchdown drive, giving it to the junior on all four plays of a 42-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run, to tie the game at 7-7.

But Central answered at the end of the first half. The Bulldogs switched things up, going to the air on three of the four plays. The Bulldogs’ Jagger Hartshorn threw three straight swing passes to the flat, the last of which was caught by Shaun Diebel who broke multiple tackles on his way to a 36-yard touchdown.

Diebel finished the game with two receptions for 47 yards through the air and 10 carries for 58 yards on the ground.

“We just have to keep working on fundamentals and execution, that’s where we’re at right now,” Williamson said. “I thought our defense played pretty good at times. With what they were doing offensively, changing it up, we had to adjust on the fly, but overall with the scrimmage I was real pleased.”

But when the junior varsity and freshmen players took the field in the second half, the Raiders were in control, busting runs left and right.

Junior Bradley Thomas ran for two touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 65-yarder to put North up 21-14.

“We didn’t want to show too much for our game coming up against Cherokee, so it was pretty vanilla,” Galt said. “But all-in-all, it was a good scrimmage. I think our young guys played really well. They stepped up and executed the offense. We’re very optimistic about this year.”

Central opens their season at Dawson County, while North will open their season at home against Cherokee.