DAWSONVILLE — Friday night’s game between Forsyth Central and Dawson County ended with the Bulldogs behind 14-9 with 3:54 left in the second quarter as the officials called for a 15-minute lightning delay that turned into a 2-hour delay that turned into a “no-contest.”
This means, by every definition, the game didn’t even happen.
In those 26 minutes, Central had to face a run-heavy Dawson team that ran the ball 21 times for 127 yards and a touchdown, led by senior running back Taylor Cronan (67 yards) and junior quarterback Coey Watson (51 yards).
On offense, Central struggled to gain yards through the air due to four dropped passes. However, what it missed out on in the air it – or, specifically, Sabrian Howard – made up for on the ground. Howard had 10 carries for 117 yards, capped off by an 88-yard touchdown run in which he broke as many as six tackles to give Central a 9-6 lead in the second quarter.
“It’s amazing to watch that man run the ball,” Central head coach Frank Hepler said.
But that amazing play, and this close contest, will fall in the abyss.
Halfway through the first quarter, lightning could be seen in the distance. By the time Central was about to punt on fourth-and-9 from their own 21 in the second quarter, officials had to stop play at 8:35 p.m. Dawson County players, coaches and staff went to the locker room. Central had no locker room to go to, so the Bulldogs convened in the Dawson County gymnasium. Thirty minutes later, the power went out across campus.
As the delay lingered on, coaches of both teams met at 10 p.m., to discuss restarting. Instead, lightning struck again, and the game was called at 10:04 p.m.
“Both teams wanted to get back at it,” Hepler said, “but mother nature had a different plan.”
Friday night’s game would have been the 16th meeting between the two teams, with Central holding a 10-5 series, including 27-7 and 28-8 victories in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
A win Friday would have made Central 1-0 for the third straight season, the Bulldogs’ longest streak since 1996-99.
Instead, the Bulldogs get a second chance to open their season next week when they host River Ridge.