JOHNS CREEK – In a modern era of football defined primarily by a team’s ability to pass, North Forsyth coach Jason Galt proved to the rest of the region that running the football can still get the job done as his team traveled to Chattahoochee on Friday and won convincingly 24-6.
North (4-0, 1-0), Region 6-AAAAAA) snapped a 12-game region losing streak with a strong performance against the Cougars. Undefeated in their first three non-region contests, the Raiders showed that their early victories could translate into regional success.
North attempted only two passes the entire game, relying on an unrelenting rushing attack to fuel their offense. The Raiders focused on using heavy personnel throughout the game, replacing wide receivers with bigger blockers to help open up more running lanes.
The run-happy North offense never allowed the Chattahoochee defense to catch its breath. Long drives forced Cougar defenders to remain on the field for extended periods of time. In the second quarter, the Raiders held the ball for nearly 10 minutes, finishing a 14-play drive with quarterback Harris Roberts sneaking across the goal line for a touchdown.
"I’ve been running this offense for six years, ever since I coached at Dutchtown," Galt said. "Any successful football team has to do two things well: play defense and run the football. It’s an offense that creates so much power, but it has to be an unselfish, team effort."
Jamal Davenport and Zach Slaton served as the primary rushers for the North offense, racking up chunks of yards as they continually battered down the Cougars’ defense.
Davenport provided the muscle (15 carries, 93 yards, one TD) while the elusive Slaton produced on the ground (12 carries, 71 yards) and starred in the Raiders’ sole passing highlight, burning a bewildered defense for an 80-yard touchdown reception.
"I love it," Davenport said about the Raiders’ offensive style. "It’s perfect for the group of guys we have. The defense ends up getting confused; they never know if it’s going to be me bringing the power or Slaton with his speed."
Despite the staggering power of Norths’ offense, the Raiders’ defense deserves its fair share of credit. Chattahoochee tried relentlessly to develop a consistent passing attack, but it was unable to move the ball against North.
Cougars quarterback Tasleem Wilson completed only 12 of 33 passes for 67 yards, translating into a 36 percent passing efficiency while netting only two yards per pass attempt. To make matters worse, Wilson was intercepted in the fourth quarter by North defender Kansas Mullins, effectively ending any chance of a Chattahoochee comeback.
With its first region win since 2011, North can finally shake off the memories of past struggles and focus completely on the future ahead.
"It’s a great start for us," Galt said. "The first three games were basically tune-up games, the region is where it really counts. To beat Chattahoochee at home is really special and it’s our first region win. You have to win the games in your region, and now we’re one step closer to the playoffs."