It wasn’t a full-blown case of deja vu, but West Forsyth put on another dominant performance against its biggest rival.
Vince Sciorrotta’s field goal with 18.8 seconds remaining prevented No. 5-ranked West from posting its second consecutive 38-0 win over North Forsyth, but the play was a footnote in a game where six different Wolverines scored points en route to a 38-3 victory over the Raiders on Friday at Raider Valley. West now leads the all-time series 3-2 and retains the rivalry series’ Leatherhead Trophy for another year.
The Wolverines (7-0, 4-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) took a 24-0 lead into halftime behind 17 second quarter points and put the game away by adding touchdowns on each of their first two drives in the second half. West finished with 472 yards of offense to North’s 135.
"We were just trying to come out fast," Wolverines senior tight end Ty Anderson said. "We had what we were going to do down and we stuck with it and it clicked."
Though the outcome was as black and white as the contrasting uniforms worn by the Raiders (3-4, 0-4) and Wolverines, there was plenty of yellow involved, too.
The two teams combined for 15 penalties during a testy first half, including three personal foul infractions apiece.
"It absolutely is [a war]," said Wolverines nose guard Brett Anderson, who sacked North quarterback Harris Roberts on two consecutive plays in the first half.
"You’ve played with these guys since you were six years old and you’ve played against them and it’s tough. There’s a lot of smack talk, but you’ve just got to stay focused and keep getting after it."
West held North to a three-and-out on the opening series and began its first drive at the Raiders’ 44.
Sophomore running back Trevor O’Brien carried the ball down to the 22 on the first play, and a late hit out of bounds gave the Wolverines a first down at the 11.
Ty Anderson caught passes from quarterback A.J. Erdely (16 of 26, 208 passing yards, 3 TD; 12 carries, 78 rushing yards) on the next two plays, with the second coming on a four-yard strike in the end zone that put West ahead 7-0 with 10:12 remaining in the opening quarter after Timmy Hartshorn’s extra point.
The next three series — two by North and one by West — ended in turnovers, keeping the score 7-0 early in the second quarter.
But the Wolverines turned North’s second turnover into points after Josh Salo recovered a fumble at the Raiders’ 38. Jake Wieczorek (12 carries, 114 rushing yards, TD) atoned for an earlier fumble and capped the short drive with a 16-yard touchdown run around the left side, putting West ahead 14-0 with 9:33 remaining before halftime.
West forced North into another three-and-out on the ensuing series with the help of consecutive sacks by Brett Anderson on second and third down.
"It’s awesome, especially against North," Anderson said of the sacks. "I give a lot of credit to the outside linebackers, they ran the [quarterback] straight to me and I just happened to be there to make the plays."
Hartshorn increased the lead to 17-0 with a 28-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, and after another North punt, the Wolverines got the ball back with one more chance to boost the lead before halftime.
On third-and-goal from the Raiders’ 9, Erdely scrambled to the left side of the field, then ran all the way back to the right side — barely keeping his balance after a tackle attempt — before finding wide receiver Tanner Bridges, who made a diving catch in the end zone as time expired.
"They’re a good football team, both sides of the football," North head coach Blair Armstrong said. "They don’t play anybody both ways; we’ve got half a dozen guys that have to.
"We’re probably where they were three or four years ago. We’re a two-year program; they’re a five- or six-year program and we’re getting there. I was real proud of our kids — I thought we hit [West] harder than anybody’s hit them all year."
West drove 80 yards in 12 plays on the opening drive of the second half and increased the lead to 31-0 on a three-yard run by Mohamed Camara.
After holding North to another three-and-out, the Wolverines scored their final points on a four-play, 63-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Erdely to sophomore receiver Hampton McConnell (5 receptions, 89 receiving yards, TD).
The game was played under a running clock in the fourth quarter, but Sciorrotta’s 32-yard kick got the Raiders on the board before time expired.
"It’s a good rival game and the big thing was a region win," West head coach Frank Hepler said. "I give our guys a lot of credit for getting that region win."
The Raiders will try to pick up their first region win at Centennial on Friday. The Wolverines can move one step closer to a region championship when they travel to Chattahoochee on Friday.