Kiernen Hamilton threw four touchdown passes, Kwon Miller ran in two more and West Forsyth made up for early mistakes with quick-strike scoring drives to blowout North Forsyth, 48-17, at Raider Valley on Friday Night in the eighth rendition of the “Leatherhead Rivalry.”
West (4-2, 4-1 Region 6-AAAAAA) advanced its win streak to four games and set up a huge county matchup next week at home against undefeated South Forsyth. Meanwhile, the Raiders (1-5, 1-4) couldn’t produce different results, after falling 35-3 to South and 42-14 to Lambert in the two previous home games, despite making drastic changes to its offense coming out of the bye week.
North quarterback Jacob Bailey entered Friday with 47 pass attempts on the season but threw 28 against the Wolverines’ defense. The new look attack serviced North for the first half; the Raiders made the game as close as 21-17 late in the first half.
“We knew (North) was going to give us something (offensively) we couldn’t prepare for,” West coach Adam Clack said. “We just kind of prepared to play as well as we could play out of base alignments and were ready to adapt.”
After North cut the deficit to four, West wasted no time erasing the home momentum. Hamilton hit Austin Reid on a 40-yard score just 19 seconds later to make the score 27-17 at halftime.
West poured it on from there, scoring on the first drive of the third quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Hamilton to Garrett Broxson before finding the endzone on the first play of the fourth—a 31-yard strike from Hamilton to Reid.
“We played half a football game tonight,” North head coach Jason Galt said.
Galt attributed the new look to having an extra week of preparation, but also because injuries have forced him to make personnel changes.
“The offense was meant to get our athletes in more space. We’ve got a few really good ones, but eventually we got worn down,” Galt said. “We’re just banged up. We run a two tight end look but we were down to one going into this game, so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
West showcased nearly flawless balance on offense, complementing Hamilton’s 264 passing yards (23 of 32) with 252 yards on the ground. Grant Torgerson rushed for 111 yards on 13 carries, while Miller added 56 on five gives and the two scores—including a 33-yard run to give the Wolverines a 14-0 advantage.
Aside from a long offensive march delivered by backup quarterback Hank Flood for the game’s final points, when Flood snuck in from a yard out, no West scoring drive lasted more than two minutes.
When asked about the communication between Hamilton and the sideline that helped West’s offense to such a quick pace, Clack’s remark was brief: “It’s a secret.”
North defensive back Robert Bishop made sure to put a blemish on Hamilton’s day, intercepting the junior three times—twice in the first half.
Zach Burns caught the game’s first touchdown from 6-yards out, and West led 14-0 before North answered with an 11-yard run from Cody Dwyer (16 carries, 87 yards). After Miller’s second score, Jordan Palms recovered a fumble from Reid and returned it near midfield. North scored seven plays later when its own fumble was recovered in the endzone by J.T. Simonds.
West cornerback Reed Bagwell had two interceptions of his own, while Michael Rogers added an interception of Bailey later in the game. Bailey finished 14 of 28 for 103 yards.
Reid led West in receiving yards with 132 on five catches, while Burns had nine catches for 70 yards.
West Forsyth 48, North Forsyth 17
West Forsyth 14 13 7 14_48
North Forsyth 0 17 0 0_17
WF_Burns 6 pass from K. Hamilton (kick good), 7:44
WF_Miller 2 run (kick good), 3:44
NF_Dwyer 11 run (kick good), 10:12
NF_Boyzo-Medina 19 FG, 6:33
WF_Miller 33 run (kick good), 5:41
NF_Simonds 0 fumble recovery (kick good), 1:30
WF:_Reid 40 pass from K. Hamilton (kick blocked), 1:01
WF_Broxson 19 pass from K. Hamilton (kick good), 5:13
WF_Reid 31 pass from K. Hamilton (kick good), 11:54
WF_Flood 1 run (kick good), 5:16