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THE GRIND: Out of nowhere, North Forsyth's Dwyer has become playmaker for Raiders
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North Forsyth senior Cody Dwyer has become something of the Swiss army knife of the Raiders offense, contributing at running back, wide receiver and even completing four passes at quarterback. - photo by Micah Green

He’s 5-foot-10 when he’s on cleats, and a lean 162 pounds, but if you’re going to try to spot North Forsyth senior Cody Dwyer in a crowded huddle, there’s an easier way than looking for one of the smaller players on the field.

Instead, look for the helmet covered in star and skull decals. Dwyer has nearly run out of room to place another sticker on his lid—the stars, for big plays, while the skulls are for being named “player of the game.”

Dwyer counts 10 skulls.

“Wait, this is all from one season?” the FCN asked.

“Yeah. One year. I have more than one from a few games,” Dwyer replied.

The explanation: Dwyer, who played sparingly in his first three seasons at North, has gone from a body on the bench to the Swiss army knife of the Raiders’ new and constantly evolving offense. This offseason the Raiders implemented a new “tank” offense, which features quarterback Jacob Bailey, running back Simon Holcomb and Dwyer. Though, all three could be described as quarterbacks. All three could be described as running backs. Holcomb and Dwyer definitely fit the mold of receivers.

The offense, which added even more wrinkles after the bye week two weeks ago by adding more pass options, has become a dancefloor for Dwyer—nay, a playground.

He leads the team in carries with 101 for 434 yards (4.3 yards per carry), has 16 catches for 179 yards and has completed four passes for 60 yards.

Holcomb, just a junior, has bettered Dwyer in production in all three categories, but that wasn’t a surprise—he was projected by his head coach, Jason Galt, as “one of the best athletes in the county” before the season began. That rings true, but nobody saw Dwyer’s complementary role coming.

That includes Dwyer.

“I didn’t see it coming at all,” Dwyer said. “The first few years I really didn’t play. I guess this year I just found that opening and I’ve had to show people what I have.”

It’s the quickness, determination and finish on Dwyer’s touches that makes him stand out in any given ball game. He’ll make a 5-yard dash feel like 7. But he humbly admits he is just that—only quick—and not fast.

“I’ve got competition on this team. Shota Bardeau runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. I run a 4.6, maybe 4.7,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer’s helmet stickers aren’t the only part of his game day get up that stand out. He also memorializes his childhood hero, Jeff McBryant—the late father of Horizon Christian Academy football player Elijah McBryant—for getting him into football. Dwyer writes initials and phrases on his wrist tape.

“I always play for him,” Dwyer said of McBryant. “He got me into it a lot. When I played for Central Park in the seventh grade he was just like a father to me and showed me a lot.”

So Dwyer stuck with football. Each workout. Each early morning. Each afternoon recovering. This season’s production on the field has been an unexpected plus, but he’s also had to learn to lead a team as a senior who is suddenly a focal point of the football team.

Although North is 1-6 on the season, the Raiders’ goals are still in front of them. This weekend they hope to best last year’s one-win mark by defeating Centennial to get to two wins. Then they hope to finish with four.

“We want to win out. We don’t want to finish like we did last year,” Dwyer said. “None of us ever give up. We are upbeat in practice, we don’t get down. We’ve had tough losses, but we never ever give up, and that’s what is important.”

Dwyer hopes his blip on the football spectrum gets him a shot to play football at West Georgia, which is currently ranked No. 2 in the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll.

Now Dwyer has the tape to send them.