It was Forsyth Central’s homecoming week, but Cass took the hype out of the game early, spoiling the Bulldogs’ night with a 42-18 win Friday in a Region 7-AAAAA cross-over game at home.
Friday was billed as Central’s biggest game of the season so far. The Bulldogs were celebrating homecoming and looking to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 1997. They were welcoming a Cass team it’d lost to 13-6 at the same time last year. Plus, the TV trucks were pulled in after the Central community won an online fan vote.
Instead, Central (2-1) struggled to produce much on offense and couldn’t contain Cass.
“We were very distracted this week with all of the homecoming festivities,” Central head coach Shane Williamson said, “and we just didn’t produce on the field.”
Cass’ defense completely stopped the Bulldogs’ run game. The normally potent duo of running backs Shaun Diebel and Sabrian Howard were held to just 45 yards combined. Diebel finished with 10 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown. Howard had just 12 yards on eight carries. Each lost a fumble. Central ended with four fumbles in all, each leading to a turnover.
Central’s only source of offense was junior quarterback Jagger Hartshorn. He managed to hurt Cass (2-1) through the air, finishing 12 of 17 for 141 yards and a touchdown, and improvised on the ground, rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
“The defense really played their heart out,” Hartshorn said, “but we were distracted this week with the homecoming stuff.”
Cass led 14-0 after the first quarter on a 3-yard fumble return by Devin Pritchett and a 76-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Trevor Lowe to Laizon West.
Hartshorn brought Central within 14-7 on a 39-yard touchdown run with 10:16 left in the second quarter, but Cass responded with a 3-yard touchdown run by West and another touchdown pass by Lowe to West to go into the half leading 28-7.
Central showed some life coming out of the second half. Diebel finished off a six-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter, but the Bulldogs missed a two-point conversion to cut Cass’ lead to 28-12.
And yet each time Central showed signs of getting back into the game, Lowe answered. After Diebel’s touchdown run, Lowe threw a 9-yard touchdown pass. A little over a minute later, Hartshorn connected with Mark Heard for a 25-yard touchdown pass, but Lowe punctuated the game with a 20-yard touchdown run with 3:19 left in the game.
It left Central dejected afterward, wondering how another chance for a 3-0 start had slipped away.
But Williamson also noted it is familiar territory for the Bulldogs. They lost to Cass last season, only to eventually end up with the program’s first winning season in 13 years.
“We are ready for next week to redeem ourselves,” Williamson said.
Cass 42, Forsyth Central 18
Cass 14 14 7 7_42
Forsyth Central 0 6 12 7_18
C_Pritchett 3 fumble return (Romero kick), 4:52.
C_West 76 pass from Lowe (Romero kick), 1:12.
FC_Hartshorn 39 run (Corona kick NG), 10:16
C_West 3 run (Romero kick), 6:26
C_West 35 pass from Lowe (Romero kick), :43.
FC_Diebel 3 run (2 point NG), 9:27
C_Kirk 9 pass from Lowe (Romero kick), 4:41
FC_Heard 25 pass from Hartshorn (two-point failed), 3:07
C: Lowe 20 run (Romero kick), 3:19.