Zac Slaton scored on a 3 yard run with 2 minutes 24 seconds left and to give North Forsyth a 28-26 come-from-behind victory over Centennial on Friday in a Region 6-AAAAAA game at Raider Valley.
The win improved the Raiders to 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the region to keep its playoff chances alive with a game against Johns Creek (0-8, 0-5) next week and snapped a three-game losing streak after a 4-0 start.
"[The win] was huge," North coach Jason Galt said. "We knew it all week long. Every game going forward is a playoff game. If we don’t win, we don’t make the playoffs."
Slaton led North with 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Payton Holbrooks rushed for 57 yards on 13 carries, while Luke Slaton had eight carries for 36 yards.
Cody Gottberg was a perfect 5 of 5 passing for 110 yards and rushed 12 times for 46 yards, including a 5 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Zac Slaton’s touchdown culminated a frenzied finish.
With Centennial driving at North’s 29 late in the fourth quarter, the Raiders forced a fumble and recovered the ball at their own 22.
On the first play of the drive, Gottberg connected with tight end Jake Hubbard for a 53 yard pass that moved North to the Centennial 25 and injected life into the Raiders’ comeback attempt.
"We hadn’t run that played in about four to five weeks," Galt said. "Jake made probably only his second catch of the year."
But it was a crucial one. Five plays later, Zac Slaton scored, and Logan Cross thwarted one last drive by Centennial with an interception at the North 1.
"We ran the ball well and do what we do," Galt said. "I made some mistakes as a coach. I told the kids that that’s the way I am. I take chances. I’m kind of a gambler. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not.
"I was proud of the way they fought through it all. One thing we say around here is never to give up."