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Football: Raiders win defensive struggle to start region play
North Forsyth graphic 09-16-22

The North Forsyth defense put together a strong performance from opening kickoff to final horn, but it took until the second half for the offense to crack the scoreboard and push the Raiders to victory.

Competing in its Region 8-6A opener, North Forsyth overcame a slim 3-0 halftime deficit with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns for a 14-3 win Friday at Jackson County.

“A lot of credit to coach Wag [Chris Wagner], our defense coordinator, and our defensive coaches,” Raiders head coach Robert Craft said. “They did a great job. Our defensive players really stepped up to the challenge and played a great game for four quarters on defense.”

Despite forcing a turnover and racking up three sacks in the first half, North Forsyth found itself behind due to offensive struggles over the first two periods. Things started to turn around in the third quarter, but the Raiders still hadn't scored by the time the final stanza started.

“We really had some unfortunate things happen on offense,” Craft said. “… We came into halftime and didn’t have any points but felt like we were right there. We tried to keep our guys focused.

“We were able to run the ball really successfully at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth.”

North Forsyth (3-2, 1-0) went ahead within the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Collin Miller.

Four minutes later, the Raiders returned to the end zone. Facing a fourth-and-6 at the 35-yard line, North Forsyth quarterback West Roberts found an open Logan Curry for the touchdown.

“We felt like, with how well our defense was playing, that was a chance for us to put the game away,” Craft said of the decision to go for it on fourth down. “… At that point, it was a chance to get the first down and really put the game away. We were able to get behind them in the secondary for the touchdown.”

The victory not only got the Raiders off to the perfect start in their new region but also helped bury the memory of last week's 35-7 defeat at Creekview.

“I was really proud of how hard our guys worked," Craft said, "bouncing back, putting last week behind us, going to work all week and knowing the new season was upon us with the start of region play.”

Having concluded a first half of the season that featured three road games, one neutral-site matchup and only one home contest, Craft is looking forward to not having to travel again until Oct. 28.

“We’re excited to finally get back to Raider Valley here for the next month and get in front of our home crowd in Coal Mountain,” he said. “Really excited about this. To win on the road in the region, can’t say enough about how hard that is.”