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Football: Wolverines' rushing attack too much for Bulldogs
Raleigh Herbert
West Forsyth senior middle linebacker Raleigh Herbert collects a sack of Forsyth Central quarterback Brady Smith in the win. - photo by Derrick Richemond

On Friday, the West Forsyth Wolverines ended their three-game losing streak and delivered their first shutout of the season with a 40-0 home victory over the Forsyth Central Bulldogs.

“I’m just pleased that our team came out and played hard,” Wolverines’ head coach Dave Švehla said on breaking the losing slump. "We’ve had three tough weeks in a row and things haven’t gone our way. This is the time of the season, if you have a team full of kids that don't have that high of character, this is the time when they quit, and they haven’t."

After the Wolverines made the Bulldogs punt on their first series, West Forsyth wasted no time getting its offense clicking. As soon as Peyton Streko took a handoff on the team's second play, he burst through the hole and accelerated downfield for a 56-yard touchdown run.

The Bulldogs' second series started more productively. Quarterback Brady Smith passed to his favorite target, Cam Yeager, on a screen pass that moved the chains. Then, two plays of running back Justin Taylor running the football only gained 2 yards, making it third-and-8.

Peyton Streko
West Forsyth running back Peyton Streko stiff-arms Forsyth Central's cornerback Bailey Johnson in the win. - photo by Derrick Richemond

Central decided to go with its passing attack, but as Smith was looking to avoid the heavy pressure that the Wolverines brought, senior middle linebacker Raleigh Herbert chased him down for a 4-yard sack.

Central punts the ball to the Wolverines 19-yard line, and again Streko does what he does best, juking defenders and stiff-arming defenders. On the first play, Streko demonstrated how explosive he can be when he gets the ball. With one Bulldog standing in his way, he hits Bailey Johnson with a stiff-arm to the ground and dashes 81 yards to the end zone. 

Central went back to the play that earned them a first down with Yeager on a screen pass, but Mercer University commit Grey Brockman reacted to the play early and tackled Yeager for a 1-yard loss.

On third-and-13, Yeager is again targeted by Smith. He nearly hauled in the pass, but Herbert swatted his arm down to knock the ball loose, falling incomplete.

On the Wolverines' ensuing drive, freshman quarterback Max Walraven — filling in the role of Jack Tomlinson, who didn’t play due to an ankle injury — threw his first touchdown of the game to junior tight end Henry Delp for a 4-yard touchdown reception. 

Though the PAT was blocked by the senior lineman Luke Sacchetti to make the score 20-0.

The Wolverines' next offensive series began with Walraven on a read option. He took the ball up the middle and flashed his quickness to the 2-yard line. The Bulldogs got a penalty that tacked onto the run, moving the ball to the 1-yard line.

Streko finished the drive by bouncing outside towards the left side of the field for his third touchdown to grow the lead to 27-0 with 7:44 left in the second quarter.

Streko ended his remarkable night with 156 yards on six carries.

After a second-down sack by defensive end Brady Gillis resulted in a loss of 7 yards, Smith came back with a pass complete to Yeager to the 40-yard line.

The Bulldogs tried to fool the Wolverines' defense with a reverse, as Taylor handed the ball to Jayce Todaro, but Herbert only allowed it to go 4 yards. On the following play, Smith rolled right to throw the ball to his wide receiver, but it bounced off his hands and landed in the hands of Herbert for an interception.

Herbert took the interception to the 2-yard line, but an unsportsmanlike conduct pushed the Wolverines back some.

It took all of two plays for the Wolverines to strike again. This time with sophomore running back Foster Orris taking advantage of the turnover to score from 6 yards out to make it a 34-0 lead for the Wolverines.

The Wolverines were able to gain yet another turnover, with Gillis' second sack of the game for a turnover on downs.

“Our defense has been pretty good all season long [and] kept us in games,” Švehla said, regarding the shutout. "I’m hoping we can do that one more week."

With 1:05 left to spare before halftime approached, the Wolverines were dealing with a third-and-12. Walraven again kept the ball on a read option and got his second touchdown of the game, this time with his legs from 29 yards out for the final score.

Walraven ended the night with four carries, and he accumulated 112 yards. Through the air, he went 5 for 8 for 58 yards.

“Max did a great job,” Švehla on Walraven's debut. "We try to do things not too complex for him and let him do things he does well. He managed the game well, made some plays in the run game, and a couple [of] good throws. I’m sure he was nervous, but he didn’t show it."

Coming out of the locker room, the Wolverines decided to play it safe and let their second and third units get some action on the field.

The Forsyth Central Bulldogs' rough season continued with their fourth consecutive loss and the third straight time ending the game scoreless, dropping to 2-7 and 0-4 in Region 6-7A. They will head back to their home field on Nov. 4 for their season finale against Denmark at 7:30.

Meanwhile, West Forsyth (4-5, 1-3) pickup its first region win of the season. They will look for their first road win against South Forsyth the same night.