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West Forsyth football loses in heartbreaker at Alpharetta in region opener
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West couldn't hold on in the final seconds Friday night against Alpharetta. - photo by Brenda Roper`

JOHNS CREEK — West Forsyth surrendered a touchdown with 13 seconds left to fall 43-39 to fellow Region 6-AAAAAA Alpharetta on Friday.

Two-time reigning 6-AAAAAA champions Alpharetta led 21-7 at halftime before things got interesting. West scored the next 25 points to take a 32-21 advantage. However, Alpharetta answered by scoring 15 unanswered points to take a 36-32 lead with just under four minutes left. Then the teams traded touchdowns, starting with seven from West with just over two minutes to go, and followed by the game-clincher from Alpharetta—a 7-yard touchdown carry by sophomore running back Nolan Edmonds.

Despite the loss, West head coach Adam Clack had a lot of positive things to say about how his team handled the early deficit.

“They responded exactly how I knew they would respond,” coach Clack said. “This is a young team that makes mistakes right now. When we correct mistakes, we play great football. They are building into a really good football team.”

The Wolverines were led on offense by a stellar performance from their junior quarterback Kiernen Hamilton, who completed 12 of 16 passes for 314 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. Junior running back Grant Torgerson had a big game on the ground, rushing 26 times for 155 yards.

Hamilton was proud of the way his team played, but he knows that they gave the game away.

“We just had penalties at the end,” Hamilton said. “We had mistakes. We came out in a dog fight. It was 21-7 at the half. We came out and scored 25 unanswered points I think it was, but we just had some penalties and they got to us at the end of the game right there.”

Each team committed nine penalties, with the Raiders adding up to 70 yards and West’s adding up to 90. Two of those penalties that West committed came in Alpharetta’s final drive; both were personal fouls that gave the Raiders 30 more yards, and two new first downs.

 West also turned the ball over twice, the first an interception returned for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead, late in the first quarter.

“I just need to make my reads,” Hamilton said. “I’ve got to stand tall in the pocket. When [the pocket] is collapsing, I just need to step up and make the right decision.”

The Wolverines were led receiving-wise by senior receiver Austin Reid who finished with four catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively they were led by Preston Sanders who had two sacks.

Edmonds finished the game with 21 carries for 93 yards and the one touchdown, while Alpharetta’s sophomore sophomore Matthew Downing threw for 234 yards on 21 of 28 passing. Senior receiver Darryl Bivens had five catches for 86 yards and two touchdowns, and defensively junior middle linebacker Harry Cokley had a 38 yard interception return for a touchdown.