By Noah Rubin
For the Forsyth County News
This week was a very different showing for the Raiders.
After only scoring six points last week at Harrison, North Forsyth exploded Friday with six touchdowns in their 42-10 victory over Dalton.
Head coach Robert Craft was thrilled with the way his team improved this week.
“Really proud of the way our team responded after last week,” Craft said. “That was a tough, physical battle in the rain. It didn’t come up our way, so it was so important for our guys to be able to handle that adversity. I just told them that tonight was a product of all their work all week. The ability to respond after a loss and just get back to work. Super proud of how hard they came out. That’s a sign of a good football team to put that behind you after a tough loss and come back and respond in that fashion.”
Drew Aucoin was a big part of the dominant offensive performance for the Raiders. He finished with 120 passing yards, 161 rushing yards and two total touchdowns. Craft thought he did more that wasn’t included in the stat sheet.
“He did a great job controlling what we did,” Craft said. “I thought we owned the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football [and] took away their run game. Our ability to put five seniors on the offensive line. We didn’t really do anything tricky, just ran it right at them.”
Aucoin attributed the team’s performance to the play of his teammates.
“Our offensive line really stepped up this week, and we were able to run the ball really well,” Aucoin said. “That’s basically all we did the whole game. We were able to just run it down their throats. Everything goes through our offensive line and our defense. Our defense was able to hold them to only 10 points. Our running backs and our offensive linemen were able to carry us all the way.”
Aucoin wasn’t wrong. The team ran for 428 yards, including 130 yards from Patrick Corrigan and 76 yards from Lake Heffington. Corrigan also ran for two touchdowns and Heffington added another. Ashton Green had the lone receiving touchdown, which was an 11-yard strike from Aucoin that capped off a 9-minute drive to open the game.
On the other side of the ball, North was just as dominant, specifically on the defensive line.
“We’ve been doing a great job of defending the run, and on the flip side of that, you’ve got to be able to get to the quarterback and pressure the quarterback,” Craft said. “A couple of our edge guys, Dylan Lyerly and Collin Miller, were in the backfield a lot, making plays.”
Lyerly had two sacks and Miller added another. Dalton struggled to get any sort of offense moving. Aside from a 79-yard touchdown from Journey Boston in the second quarter, the Raiders prevented the Catamounts from getting any momentum.
“You’re going to give up something,” Craft admitted. “Bad things are going to happen at some point in games, so the ability to respond to that is great. We had a special teams play there. I thought we were very solid in all three phases.”
That special teams play occurred halfway through the third quarter, when Will Peltz recovered his own onside kick, allowing North to put the game away early in the second half.
The Raiders will look to keep this momentum going into next week when they host Etowah [0-2] at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10. That’ll be the final game for North before starting region play the following week at Denmark.