By Bob Christian
Dawson County News
On the heels of a disappointing 2018 season, North Forsyth’s football team opened the 2019 campaign well on Friday night, as they racked up 17 first half points on their way to a 35-15 victory over the visiting Dawson County Tigers in their annual scrimmage.
Junior Brady Meitz led an inexperienced Raiders offense onto the field and immediately displayed that he and his receivers were on the same page, as he connected with returning senior Nicky Dalmolin on a beautiful long pass that landed the team at the goal line in the opening seconds of the game.
A pair of penalties ended the drive without a touchdown and the Raiders settled for a field goal, but the opening drive made it clear that Dalmolin was eager to lead his team to a better record than their 3-7 finish of 2018.
“All of these guys have worked really hard this summer,” Dalmolin said. “There’s a different vibe to this team, not like last year, and after all of our hard work I’m excited to able to step up as a leader and mentor these younger guys.”
Dalmolin continued to make an impact throughout the game as he routinely outran the coverage of the Dawson County Tigers, but fellow wide receiver Tucker Hartsfield had the big play of the half, as he hauled in another long lob from Meitz for the game’s first touchdown late in the first quarter.
The Raiders were plagued by penalties in the first half and Meitz had occasional difficulty with the Dawson County secondary as he threw two interceptions in the half, with one being returned by the Tigers Braedon Hubbard for a touchdown. Despite that, North head coach Robert Craft was pleased with what he saw as the team headed into the locker room at halftime.
“They are playing really balanced right now, (Dawson) is giving us a lot of stuff over the top and we’ve dealt well with that,” Craft said. ““The goal tonight is to get plenty of reps and get better at what we do. That’s what it’s all about.”
The defense took over the second half of the game as the Tigers turned to a quick, outside passing game in an effort to work the ball downfield, but multiple Raiders, including seniors Samuel Tompkins and Zach Allison, broke into the backfield to put pressure on the quartet of quarterbacks Dawson County rotated under center.
In a major departure from last season, the Raiders forced multiple fumbles, recovering three, and turned all three turnovers into points, with a field goal and two rushing touchdowns in the second half. Running backs Jared Lucero and Tristan Graham took advantage of a solid offensive line that showed no difficulty moving the ball downfield.
Graham punching the ball across the goal line with just over a minute left to play, and although the game does not count towards the regular season, it answered a lot of questions for North Forsyth fans.