JOHNS CREEK – Simon Holcomb’s four-touchdown performance led North Forsyth to a 37-27 win at region foe Chattahoochee on Friday night.
“Offensively we played our kind of game,” North head coach Jason Galt said. “Controlling the clock and keeping their offense off the field.”
North (1-1, 1-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) had the ball nearly twice as long as Chattahoochee (0-2, 0-1), winning the time of possession battle 31:25 to 16:35.
The game was delayed thirty minutes due to lightning, but the wait didn’t seem to have any negative effects on the Raiders.
North set the tone on its opening drive, going 78 yards on 15 plays while eating up 8:53 of game clock. Jacob Bailey punched it in from 1 yard out to give the Raiders an early 7-0 lead.
Chattahoochee’s opening possession didn’t go according to plan, to say the least. In just two plays, they botched two snaps, the first resulting in a 25-yard loss and the second resulting in a safety.
On the final play of the first quarter, Holcomb took a handoff 29 yards down the left sideline before finally extending the ball over the pylon for a Raider touchdown, making the score 16-0.
The Cougars got on the board in the second quarter when Chase Owens connected with Isaiah Sayles on a 40-yard bomb down the left sideline. Then they converted the 2-point conversion to make the score 16-8 in favor of the Raiders. Sayles finished the game with three receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
North’s offense was clicking in the first half, racking up 198 yards on the ground on their way to a 23-8 halftime lead.
“We just took what they gave us,” Galt said. “It was there so we kept running it. As a coach in the past I’ve made mistakes trying to get cute and get away from the things that are working. But it was working, so we just kept doing it.”
Chattahoochee battled back late, outscoring North 19-7 in the fourth quarter to make the game interesting, but North turned out to be too much for their north Fulton counterparts.
Galt was pleased with the way his defense played, stuffing the run and getting constant pressure on the Cougars’ quarterback. They finished with four sacks and forced two interceptions.
“We got a good pass rush without blitzing a whole lot, which is huge,” Galt said. “That quarterback is pretty dang good. He made some plays late, but our defensive line really got after it.”
The Raiders outgained the Cougars 394 to 327 on the night. They finished the game with 272 yards rushing, but they also utilized the passing game to perfection, keeping the Cougars’ defense off balance. Bailey finished 3-for-3 for 122 yards and a touchdown.
“The whole team came together and we played well as a team,” North’s Cody Dwyer said. “If it wasn’t for the offensive line and everybody on the offense, we couldn’t have done what we did.”
Dwyer and Holcomb were a two-headed monster for the Raiders’ rushing attack. Even though Dwyer failed to find the end zone, he still made a huge impact, finishing the game with 114 yards on 19 carries and 41 receiving yards. Holcomb finished with 120 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns on the ground. He also added a 55-yard touchdown catch in the final minutes to seal the victory.
“Any time you have two backs over 100 yards, that’s pretty strong,” Galt said. “And they made some clutch catches for us. I’m very pleased with the way they played, but of course they wouldn’t have that success if it wasn’t for the guys up front blocking for them. Those guys did a phenomenal job tonight.”