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Football: North defense dominates, Raiders blank Etowah
North Forsyth seniors Eli Tompkins, left, and Patrick Corrigan, center, celebrate Friday during the Raiders' 14-0 win against Etowah. Photo by Sydney Jarrard for the Forsyth County News

By Noah Rubin

North Forsyth's defense has truly been what the Raiders can hang their hat on night in and night out.

North continued that trend Friday in a 14-0 shoutout victory over Etowah. It was a fight the entire game, but head coach Robert Craft and his the Raiders were ready for it.

“Our guys played really, really tough,” Craft said. “That’s what I told them in the locker room. Really physical team that we played tonight. Man, what a great feeling when you shut a team out. That goes to the full team. That goes to the service team, the scout teams all week long, giving us a great look, and our guys coming out and executing. Hats off to our defensive coaches for having a great plan.”

The Raiders truly shut down the Eagles’ offense, holding them to only 70 yards of total offense. Only seven of those yards came through the air.

“I think it goes back to our preparation all week, starting with our coaches,” Craft said. “They had a great plan, and our kids bought into that plan. Working really hard in practice, watching film, preparing themselves, going over scouting reports, and then executing that out here. I thought our guys ran to the ball, wrapped up, and tackled really good. It’s a great feeling when you shut somebody out.”

Quite a few North defenders had excellent games. Logan Curry had an interception in the first quarter. Aaron Redd and Chris Herock each had a sack. Collin Miller had two tackles for loss and tipped a punt in the fourth quarter.

Miller brings a lot to the football field, some of which won’t show up on any stat sheet.

“Energy,” Craft said. “He practices like that every day, too. Always around the ball. He got his hand on that punt late in the game. He blocked two punts against Alcovy in our first game. He’s just always around the football. He plays with an incredible, tenacious effort every snap. When you run to the football, good things happen. He always seems to be around it.”

Miller agreed that the key to their defensive success has been the energy the team brings.

“The hype behind the defense is great,” Miller said. “Me and Dylan [Lyerly] always bring it. That helps with momentum a lot, especially when we’re on the field a lot. We just go out there and know how to do our jobs. We go out there, and we play hard. Never let off the gas.”

Another factor for Miller is the chemistry the defensive players have established both on and off the field.

“We work together really well,” Miller said. “We’re all really close friends outside of football. A lot of us are on the wrestling team. That’s really built our relationship. We understand each other, and we play together well.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Patrick Corrigan led the way with 78 rushing yards and both of the team’s touchdowns. Lake Heffington added 50 rushing yards and Drew Aucoin added another 43.

The hard-nosed, smash-mouth style of football that North has played over the past few weeks is exactly what Craft knows they’ll need to continue to do in order to be successful.

“We have to,” Craft acknowledged. “That was my message to our guys. We’re going to enjoy this, but I know we’re all anxious and looking forward to the start of region play next week.”

North will open region play next week by traveling to play at Denmark at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16.