North Forsyth senior running back Griffin Heffington scored four rushing touchdowns and North Forsyth scored with 16.7 seconds left to cap a 14-point comeback in their 35-31 victory against Pickens County on Friday at Raider Valley.
Heffington’s fourth score gave the Raiders (3-1) their first lead of the game with less than 6 minutes left. Then Pickens (1-3) had its last full drive continue when North committed a roughing the punter penalty on fourth and 12. Pickens quarterback Jacob Brumby eventually found receiver Zach Goss Jr. for a 5-yard score with less than 50 seconds left to give them the lead back.
With under 50 seconds left in the game, North began another comeback. Raiders quarterback Ben Bales completed three consecutive short pass plays to move the Raiders 25 yards. After an incomplete pass, Bales launched a 43-yard bomb to receiver Charlie Aiken for the game-winning touchdown with just 17 seconds remaining.
It was a compelling finish after a slow start for North, but Raiders head coach Robert Craft was proud of his team for pulling out the victory.
“We didn’t play our best,” Craft said. “Our hats off to Pickens County. They came in here ready to play. We lost a close one a few weeks ago in the last minute, but the last two times out, we have found ways to win in the end. I’m really proud of our guys because sometimes you are not at your best, but you find ways to win, but I am excited for our guys. The work that goes in makes the wins a big deal.”
Heffington finished the game with 106 yards on the ground to go along with the four touchdowns, and fellow running back Bryson Trigg finished with 90 yards of his own. Bales threw for 209 yards on 13 of 25 passing with a touchdown and no interceptions. Defensively, the Raiders were led by Robert Bishop, who had an interception, and Griffin Hughes, who made two sacks.
“I loved it all,” Heffington said. “Every second of it. I know I am truly blessed to be able to go out there and play, regardless of the score. I don’t have anything to say but, thank you God.”
North did commit nine penalties for a total of 75 yards.
“We have to be smarter,” Craft said. “We have to play more disciplined football from the very beginning. As you go, those are going to cost you a football game. Fortunately, we were able to come out with a win with as undisciplined as we played.”
Pickens was led on offense by running back Chris Pittman who ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Brumby completed 50 percent of his passes for 98 yards and a touchdown to go along with his interception.