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Football: Raiders roll in finale, set stage for playoffs
North Forsyth graphic 11-04-22

In its final game of the regular season, the North Forsyth defense outscored Apalachee 2-0 Friday in Region 8-6A play. The Raiders offense did its part, as well, to ensure the locals entered the playoffs on a high note following a 44-0 shellacking of the winless Wildcats.

"We were able to play a lot of guys on both sides of the ball, which was great," North Forsyth head coach Robert Craft said. "I can't say enough about our defensive staff and our players. ... Big night for those guys."

The Raiders entered the game with their postseason seeding already set in stone. Whether North Forsyth won or lost, the Raiders would still be the No. 2 seed after falling in a de facto region championship game the week before at Gainesville.

"We wanted to finish the regular season in a big way," Craft said. "There were some challenges after last week, with the playoff seeding already done and an hour-and-a-half bus trip. I was just glad our guys jumped out on them quick."

West Roberts completed 14 of 16 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Zach Shirley, Logan Curry, Cole Smith and Walker Roberts each caught a TD pass.

"I thought quarterback West Roberts was extremely efficient in the passing game," Craft said. "We were able to spread the ball around to a number of different receivers. ... In the middle of the second quarter and into the third quarter, I thought our offensive line opened up some big holes. I thought we were very efficient offensively."

Karson McBrayer scored twice on the ground, starting off each half with a rushing TD.

After McBrayer's initial score, North Forsyth's defense put its 2 points on the board through a safety. West Roberts followed with his trio of touchdown passes to build a healthy 30-0 advantage.

Craft wanted to give his offense one more series to begin the second half, and the unit marched down the field, with McBrayer capping the drive. An 8-yard TD pass from Parker Smaltz on his only attempt of the game rounded out the scoring.

North Forsyth (7-3, 5-1) will open the Class 6A state playoffs next week with a visit from Region 7-6A No. 3 seed Blessed Trinity.

"Proud of our team for earning the opportunity to host a playoff game," Craft said. "That's a big deal. We really like playing in Raider Valley. We're going to need all of Raider Nation to pack that place out. I know our student body and the community of Coal Mountain will get behind us.

"We've got a big challenge. Blessed Trinity is a historically great program that has made quite a few runs over the last decade. They were in a very good region, and I know we will get their best."