By Josh Holland
For the Forsyth County News
North Forsyth exposed Kennesaw Mountain’s weaknesses straight from kickoff as the Raiders opted for the squib kick to get the game underway. Kennesaw Mountain muffed the arching kick and Tyler Hogan recovered it for the Raiders.
Two minutes later, Jared Lucero ran for 12 yards to score North’s first touchdown as the Raiders went on to rout Kennesaw Mountain 35-3 Friday night in Raider Valley.
Kennesaw Mountain was finally able to get its offense on the field after the touchdown but went three-and-out after an incomplete pass on third down.
They opted to punt to Nicky Dalmolin, who muffed it, allowing the Mustangs to recover the ball deep in North territory. Dalmolin hurt his shoulder prior to the muffed punt, but North head coach Robert Craft wasn’t concerned about the seriousness of the injury.
“He tweaked something and we just pulled him out to try to get him some rest and get some other guys involved,” Craft said.
Dalmolin’s muffed punt was negated immediately thanks to Jumel Lewis, who intercepted Kennesaw Mountain quarterback Luke Staggs on the 1-yard line.
The Raiders constructed an impressive 99-yard drive featuring a short pass from Brady Meitz that turned into a 43-yard play thanks to Anthony Herock’s run after the catch. Jared Lucero and Patrick Corrigan grinded the yards on the ground until Corrigan eventually finished off the 99-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
On the following, kickoff North tried to catch Kennesaw Mountain off-guard again with the squib kick, but they returned it all the way to North’s 14-yard line. They weren’t able to make any progress and settled for a 21-yard field goal.
North got the ball back with just over a minute left before halftime. A big run from Lucero set up Meitz to pass for an easy 5-yard touchdown to make it 21-3 with just 17 seconds left in the half.
North received the ball to start the second half and Lucero propelled the Raiders all the way to the goal line, where they were slowed until Corrigan punched in the touchdown on fourth-and-1 to go to extend their lead to 28-3.
North had another great chance to score on the goal line, but Lucero fumbled as he reached for the end zone. The running back explained that he had learned from his mistake after the game.
“Coaches always stress to us when we’re down at the goal line don’t stretch the ball out, but I was just trying to get another touchdown,” Lucero said.
To add to the suffering for the Mustangs (0-4), a bad snap on a punt in the fourth quarter allowed the North Forsyth offense to take the field on the Kennesaw Mountain 15-yard line. August Watkins scored off a 12-yard run to bring the score to 35-3.
After the game Coach Craft emphasized how important a quick start was to his team’s momentum in the game.
“We got after it right away with the opening kickoff and the offense going to put the ball down right away,” Kraft said. “A big emphasis for us was how we wanted to finish the first half and start the second half, and so we did both of them with scores.”
North Forsyth (3-1) will host Woodstock next Friday in its final non-region game of the season.