JOHNS CREEK – A one-hour lightning delay, two blocked punts and a quarterback catching his own pass-- three different happenings you don’t see every day in a football game all happened Friday night when the North Forsyth Raiders were unable to hold off John’s Creek in a 28-21 loss Friday night at The Colleseum.
North Forsyth (1-1) built a 21-15 lead heading into the fourth quarter thanks to big plays on defense, and blocking a Gladiator punt inside the Gladiator 10. After the block Raider quarterback Ben Bales snuck in giving the Raiders the six-point lead. That score held steady until halfway through the fourth quarter, when the Gladiators (1-1) scored 13 unanswered points (including their own blocked punt that led to their game-tying score) to get their first victory of the year.
The contest started when Johns Creek took their opening drive down the field inside the 20, and the drive eventually stalled when John’s Creek quarterback Zach Gibson threw a pass that was batted up in the air and landed in his arms, but was immediately tackled for a five-yard loss. The Gladiators would end up settling for the first of four field goals made by their kicker Jake Friant.
John’s Creek’s offense amassed only 151 yards in the season opener, but broke out against the Raiders for 258 yards. They were led by a strong ground game that accumulated 137 yards, 92 of which came from running back Matthew Taylor. Gibson finished the game with 121 yards through the air on 13 of 28 passing with one touchdown (caught by Tommy Tremble) and no interceptions.
North Forsyth’s first-year head coach Robert Craft knew this would be a tough game coming in and said he was proud of the way his guys played, despite the loss.
“You know, great atmosphere,” Craft said. “We knew it was going to be a region-type game for us. That is what we want. We want to get ready for our region games in late September and October. I am really proud of our kids. They did a great job of putting themselves in position to make a big play at the end of the game, and unfortunately, John’s Creek made a few more plays in the end, but I am really proud of our kids.”
North was led offensively by Bales and receiver Simon Holcomb. Bales threw for 174 yards on 17 of 30 from the air with three touchdowns as well as one rushing touchdown. Bales, despite his success through the air, added three interceptions giving him five on the year. Holcomb was impressive with 108 yards on six catches and caught both of Bales’ touchdown passes.
Holcomb knows they have more to work on and need to get ready for Loganville next week.
“As a team we need to work and get better,” Holcomb said. “We need to forget about tonight and get ready for next week.”