As a result of being relegated to Class 6A, the North Forsyth Raiders will face new opponents this season. To be ready to square off against their opponents, Raiders head coach Robert Craft and his coaching staff have been preparing all summer.
“There are a lot of new teams in the region,” Craft said. “It’s going to be new to all our players on our roster; it’s going to be new to our coaching staff. With that brings a lot of excitement, and I think that’s the biggest thing. We’re just excited to take our brand of high school football at North Forsyth and expose that to other counties, to the new region and classification.”
One of the opponents Craft is no stranger to is Gainesville, which slipped down to Region 8-6A, as well. The last time they met it was the Raiders who were victorious, winning 38-13.
“No team is ever the same,” Craft said. “A lot of offseason study, including what we do in the weight room, what we do in speed training, offseason development, then getting to the Xs and Os of the football season, making sure this team is prepared for that.”
Not all hope is gone for the Raiders (6-4 overall, 3-3 Region 6-7A in 2021) to only face teams outside the county, as locals will still be able to watch them face off against their rivals Forsyth Central on Aug. 26 and West Forsyth on Sept. 2.
The Raiders are confident in their season with big names returning on the field, including Collin Miller, the all-county, all-region and all-state linebacker; Logan Curry, a versatile wide receiver and defensive back; defensive lineman Chris Herock; and quarterback West Roberts.
Players unanimously agreed that chemistry separates last year's team from this year's.
“For me on the defensive side of the ball, we were a lot younger last year,” Curry said. “We do have a lot more chemistry as a whole than last year. Now it’s getting the kids to trust the process the same way the older kids did for us."
His coach has seen a difference, too.
“A lot of these guys mention team chemistry, and that's something that’s undervalued,” Craft said. "You can’t place a price tag, so to speak, for how much team chemistry means. The amount of time these guys spend together as a group is so important. You see that pay off on the football field. You see the relationship, and the trust in one another due to the fact of how tight they are as a group."
Fierce competition will be present in the secondary and along the offensive line, according to Craft.
“We do defensively have several new starters," he said. "The secondary is one specific spot. In our secondary Logan contributes a bit. Then we have some guys coming in for their junior and senior years, and they’re ready to play."
Against North Atlanta at 5:30 p.m. August 18, the Raiders will be one of the Forsyth County teams competing in the annual Corky Kell Classic.
“We were excited and flattered to be invited,” Craft said. "It shows a lot about our program and our school going. It’s a great opportunity for us as a program to showcase our football program across the whole state."
Coverage of the Raiders during spring football gave a glimpse of what might be for North Forsyth, but now they will be able to see what they have learned throughout this offseason, as a means of proving that they will be a contender for the region title in the near future.