By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
Midway through the fourth quarter, North Forsyth football coach Robert Craft told his defense to win the game. They elected to punt inside Northview territory, clinging to a 15-14 lead.
His defense answered the challenge as Anthony Herock sacked Titans quarterback Beau Lark with 1:29 left to seal the victory for the Raiders.
“We’re very confident in our defense,” Craft said. “(Northview) has a grind-it-out offense and we weren’t at our best offensively tonight. You’re going to have those games sometimes, and I’m proud of our guys figuring out a way to win on the road like that.”
The Raiders (2-1) pinned the Titans (1-1) inside the 1-yard line on Northview’s final drive. Lark found a few receivers and converted on the first of two fourth downs during their possession. Lark got another first down on a 25-yard pass to Travis Buchanan.
The game appeared to be over after a third-down sack by the Raiders’ Jumel Lewis. Lark kept the drive alive on a generous spot on fourth-and-10 right around midfield.
North’s defense and Herock delivered the final blow with his first game-winning sack of his career.
“We were dropping our linebackers because they were only passing because it was late in the game,” Herock said. “I saw the quarterback scrambling because he had no one to go to. I saw his back and I just ran after him and got him down.”
“Anthony played just about every snap of this game,” Craft said. “He played on both sides of the ball and I’m really proud of him. He came up big time and time again tonight.”
The Titans marched right down the field on the opening possession. A few completions by Lark allowed the signal-caller to read the defense and score on a 7-yard keeper.
After fumbling inside the red zone on their first possession, the Raiders got on the board thanks to a 35-yard pass from Brady Meitz to senior Nicky Dalmolin.
North took a 9-7 lead on a 30-yard field goal Will Peltz.
Northview took the lead back on the ensuing possession on an eight-play, 67-yard drive that was capped off by Lark’s 13-yard touchdown toss to Patrick Hester for his only reception of the game.
On a night where his offense wasn’t consistent, Craft is proud of his defensive unit that willed his team to the win. The Raiders held Northview to 274 yards of total offense, including just 121 total yards in the second half.
“(Lark) is a great player,” Craft said. “Their receivers, especially (Travis Buchanan), made a bunch of key plays. But, like I said, our defense responded and that’s the message tonight. They responded really well.”
Meitz was 11-of-16 passing for 169 yards and a touchdown. Dalmolin finished with 86 yards on three receptions.
Jared Lucero led the rushing attack with 50 yards on 12 carries.
Lark was 17-for-26 passing with 198 yards, and 37 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Buchanan had eight receptions for 103 yards for the Titans.
North Forsyth has its bye week before hosting Kennesaw Mountain on Sept. 20.