By Noah Rubin
For the Forsyth County News
For the first time ever, the East Forsyth Broncos were under the Friday night lights for a regular-season football game.
Unfortunately, the scoreboard didn’t match the excitement of the night.
The Broncos may have lost to the Ridgeland Panthers 19-0, but they flashed plenty of potential that should make the East Forsyth community excited.
“I think we played our butts off in our first game in Broncos stadium ever,” East head coach Brian Allison said. “Our kids were excited about what was going on. We played against a pretty athletic team. I feel good about what we did. We obviously are making mistakes that ninth- and 10th-graders make. We’ve got to work on fixing those mistakes. I felt like the offense moved the ball pretty well, but we had three turnovers. You just can’t win when you’re making those mistakes.”
Despite the mistakes, there were still quite a few bright spots on both sides of the ball.
Dual-threat quarterback Will Moffit finished with 114 passing yards and 71 rushing yards. David Navarette had six catches for 40 yards, while Brandon Peoples had two catches for 61 yards, both of which came in dramatic fashion. The first was a 39-yard catch after Moffit rolled out right and found Peoples over the top of the defense. The second was a simple out route that led to Peoples breaking multiple tackles and gaining 22 yards.
Defensively, the team allowed a few big plays early, but they really settled in and got plenty of stops the rest of the game.
Ridgeland scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, but didn’t score again until three minutes left in the game.
The first touchdown came on a long ball from Judd Anderson to Jeb Broome. The final two touchdowns were scored on the ground by Ashton Turner. Aside from those three drives, the Panthers’ offense really struggled to get going, thanks to the Broncos’ defense.
The main difference to Allison between the scrimmage and this game wasn’t X’s and O’s, but a mental shift for his team.
“I felt like we played harder tonight,” Allison said. “I felt like we played with a little more intensity. We’re still making mistakes, but I felt like we did some things better.”
East will have the week to prepare for their matchup with a Rabun Gap squad that finished 7-2 last season. That game will be at East Forsyth again next Friday night.
Despite the opening loss, Allison continues to look at what the team can build off of and what they can improve on.
“I love this team,” Allison said. “They worked their butts off and put themselves in a position with a chance to win the ball game. Just a few mistakes to eliminate, and we’ll be good.”