By Caleb Byrd
For the Forsyth County News
MILTON — Patrick Corrigan busted through the line of scrimmage.
He sprinted untouched for 40 yards before being caught from behind with just over a minute left in the game. It was his 11th run of the night, and it sealed a 28-14 victory for the Raiders against Hapeville Charter in the Freedom Bowl on Friday night.
North Forsyth played a balanced game, as Corrigan and Brady Meitz led the offensive attack. Corrigan rushed for 78 yards on 11 carries, providing a rush for a two-point conversion as well.
Despite suffering several drops from his receivers, Meitz maintained composure and delivered 74 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Both passing touchdowns were perfectly placed to two different receivers. The first was a 39-yard rope that connected with senior Chris Dixon. The second was a 24-yard redemption catch in the fourth quarter for senior Tucker Hartsfield, who suffered a drop that would have led to a score in the first half.
Meitz provided two more scores for North on two quarterback sneaks after leading impressive 80- and 65-yard drives.
The Raiders didn't score a touchdown on the night without Meitz being involved.
“You know (Meitz) had a few drops early, but he just kept his composure,” North Forsyth head coach Robert Craft said. “They had such a great pass rush, so we knew that was gonna be really challenging, but our guys were able to battle through and we ended up hitting a couple big ones there that really opened it up for the win.”
Maintaining the Raiders' balanced attack, the defense looked impressive yet again.
Corrigan and Tristan Graham provided two sacks, and an onslaught of tackles for loss from the Raider defensive line kept Hapeville’s offense at bay, allowing fewer than 30 yards of total offense before halftime.
The Raider defense allowed two successful scoring drives in the second half, both ending with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Hapeville backup freshman quarterback Rashad Render.
But North allowed only one big play, a 60-yard pass from Render that put Hapeville within 5 yards of the end zone late in the fourth quarter. But the North Forsyth defense built a goal-line wall, and Hapeville couldn’t overcome it, turning the ball over on downs after Colin Blackwell broke up the fourth down pass.
“I mean, (Hapeville) hit a couple big ones, and they’re a good football team,” Craft said, “but I was proud of our guys for battling. Those couple of corners, Colin Blackwell and Jumel Lewis, they kept taking shots at them all night and they just kept responding. I can’t say about about them, they just keep playing so hard week after week.”
The Raider defensive backfield fought hard to keep a potent Hapeville passing attack at bay. Blackwell and Lewis contested nearly every pass thrown their way. And Bentley Wheeler came up with an interception that led to a crucial Raider offensive touchdown right before halftime.
On special teams, the Raiders recovered a muffed Hapeville kick return late in the fourth quarter that set up the 24-yard finishing punch from the Raider offense to seal the win.
Penalties plagued Hapeville the entire game, as they committed 13 penalties for a combined 65 yards lost.
North Forsyth seems to have honed their balanced attack, and looks ready to face 0-2 Etowah heading into next week.