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Football: Peltz's last-second FG helps North upend No. 7 West
North Forsyth players celebrate Friday after beating West Forsyth 30-27. Photo by Sydney Jarrard for the Forsyth County News

Usually, defenses don’t hold West Forsyth to zero positive offensive plays in the fourth quarter.

Usually, offenses don’t improve this drastically between games.

What’s usual didn’t matter to North Forsyth on Friday.

The Raiders got their first region win by defeating No. 7 West Forsyth for the second straight year. The win means the Leatherhead Trophy will stay in Coal Mountain for another year.

Head coach Robert Craft was pleased with the way his team fought all four quarters.

“So proud of how our guys just continued to battle,” Craft said. “We got down there a couple scores at one point. Our focus all week, with how explosive they are, such a good football team, was we've just got to be ready to play the next play and respond. It’s not what you do that play, it’s how you respond. That’s what I felt our guys did. They just responded, kept playing, and good things continued to happen defensively, and also with our quarterback and our offense. They just kept chopping, kept pounding it, and were able to finally chip away and make a big play there at the end.”

Two weeks ago, North lost to Denmark 20-17. The Raiders turned the ball over four times, including two pick-sixes.

On Friday, quarterback Drew Aucoin’s offense looked like a different unit. Aucoin threw for 170 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 30 yards and a touchdown. Patrick Corrigan had two touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air.

The main difference tonight was that they didn’t turn the ball over.

“These guys gave us something different than Denmark was,” Craft said. “I thought Drew was really accurate tonight. Really took what the defense gave him. Didn’t force things. It was big for us. After such a disappointing loss, close game like that at the end, to be able to respond for two weeks of practice, they fought hard. They competed so well in practice, and it showed tonight.”

North’s defense continued to be as dominant as it has been all season. West has one of the best offenses in the state, but they still managed to force two turnovers and block a PAT. Collin Miller led the way with two sacks and the late fumble recovery that set up Will Peltz’s last-second field goal.

“That is one of the best offenses [in the state], but we feel like we’ve got one of the best defenses,” Craft said. “Coach [Chris] Wagner, our defensive coordinator, and their staff, every week they’ve had a great plan. Our kids have believed in it, executed it week in and week out. They just didn’t blink with that stuff. Every week they give us a chance to win, and they did again tonight.”

Peltz, who hit the 18-yard game-winning field goal as time expired, credited his teammates for getting him in position to finish it off.

“None of it could’ve happened without the whole team being able to do what they did throughout the whole week and throughout tonight,” Peltz said. “They were there every step of the way and nothing would happen without them.”

Peltz hit three field goals and three extra points in the game. On the last kick, he didn’t feel any added pressure.

“Obviously, it’s real fun to be able to make a game-winning field goal,” Peltz said. “But I’m not treating it like anything different. It was just like a PAT, so I just treated it like one.”

Peyton Streko, who is the county’s top rusher, led the way for West with 145 yards and three touchdowns. Keegan Stover passed for 193 yards and threw a 35-yard touchdown to Jaycen Harris.

For West, 0-1 in the region isn’t the position they want to be in. However, they’ll be thrilled if this season plays out like last season did.

After losing to North in their first region game last year, the Wolverines won out and claimed the Region 6-7A title. All eyes will be on West and how they respond next week as they travel to play at South Forsyth, which is 1-0 in Region 6-7A.

West was ranked seventh in Class 7A before the game and favored by 29 points, but that wasn’t at the forefront of Craft’s mind.

“I know we were a huge underdog,” Craft said. “People told me how big of an underdog. We don’t really talk about that stuff. We just worry about ourselves. Top 10 — I couldn’t tell you what they’re ranked. I know they’re a good football team, and we really respect them. We knew we had to come play well. I think our guys know they can play with people. They just continue to work hard. They can compete at a high level. So proud of them, cause it was such a full team effort. Special teams, offense, defense.”

North [4-2, 2-1 Region 6-7A] will host Forsyth Central Oct. 8.