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North Forsyth overpowers Lambert for first win in rivalry

North Forsyth senior Cedric Touchstone scores one his three touchdowns against Lambert on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. - photo by Ben Hendren

Sports Staff 

For the Forsyth County News

Updated: Oct. 14, 2017, 1:59 a.m. 

By MacKenzie Bates

For the Forsyth County News

They say that bad things come in threes.

For Lambert, it came in the form of North Forsyth’s offense.

Senior wide receiver Cedric Touchstone hauled in 10 receptions for 149 yards with three touchdown catches, and Tristan Howard and Charlie Aiken both went over the century mark as well to help the Raiders defeat the Longhorns 45-21 Friday night in Cumming.

“We’ve got four really good receivers, and they alternate which one’s going to have the big night,” North head coach Robert Craft said. “Tonight, it was Cedric’s night.

“The yards after contact were big and credit our offensive line. They gave Ben the protection to make those passes.”

Touchstone had never caught three scores in a game. He gave all the praise to his quarterback, Ben Bales. Bales was 27-of-35 for 413 yards and four touchdowns.

“All of us worked together tonight,” Touchstone said.  “Ben and I have played together since fourth grade so we have a lot of chemistry and it showed tonight.”

North Forsyth running back Bryson Trigg breaks away for a score against Lambert on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. - photo by Ben Hendren

Aiken caught six passes for 117 yards and a touchdown.  Howard had 105 yards on six receptions.

The game started with a score by both teams. A big kickoff return by Lambert’s Marcus Chatelain deep inside Raider territory gave way to a 35-yard screen pass from Bobby Gabriel to Peyton Rich who found Drew Dockter for a score on the game’s first play.

North (5-2, 2-0 Region 5-7A) had an answer on their first play from scrimmage. Bryson Trigg broke through several tackles and showcased his speed with an 80-yard touchdown.

 

After a Chatelain 57-yard score at the end of the first quarter, North took over, scoring 35 straight points, starting with a Trigg 66-yard score, who broke upwards of five tackles along the way. Bales tossed two touchdowns, a 48-yard score to Aiken and a 2-yard pass to Touchstone.

Trigg gained 227 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns. The Raiders had 641 yards of total offense, 419 of them in the first half.

“We played horrible,” Lambert head coach Louis Daniel said.  “They came out and had a great game-plan, and they took it to us. We don’t tackle and we don’t defend the pass. It’s hard to play football when that’s going on.”

Chatelain produced 144 yards on the ground on 16 attempts with two touchdowns. Rich was 9 of 18 passing for 108 yards.

Craft said after the first play of the game, his defense settled in to the game.

“It just came down to who is going to execute better,” Craft said. “We battled through the early touchdown and a lot of emotion to start the game. We settled in during all three phases.”

“Tackling takes heart and want a lot of teaching,” Daniel said.  “We didn’t tackle tonight.  We tackled in the fourth quarter but not the first, second and third.”

This was North’s first win over Lambert (2-5, 0-2) since the school opened in 2009.

“We’ve never beaten Lambert in football, and it was a big region win,” Touchstone said. “This puts us in a position to make the playoffs, and that was a big goal for us this year.”

North fails to contain Woodstock's offense in loss

Photo by Lily McGregor Photography

FCN staff

Updated: Sept. 23, 2017, 1:01 a.m.

By MacKenzie Bates

For the Forsyth County News

There are a lot of famous quarterback-wide receiver tandems.

Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are just a few of them. 

On Friday Night in Cumming, it was Woodstock’s Garrett Bass and Noah Frith, who connected on three touchdowns in a 49-17 win over North Forsyth.

“The offensive line and the wide receivers made plays all night long,” Bass said.  “The line didn’t give up any pressure.  I was able to get the ball where it needed to go on time.  We just made great plays.”

Bass would get the best of North’s (3-2) Ben Bales, going 33-for-45 for 451 yards and five touchdowns yards. Frith grabbed 10 receptions for 109 yards and three scores.

“I like any matchup with Frith,” Bass said.  “Any corner that’s lined up on him, I’ll take a shot with him.  Tonight, we took advantage of it and he just made plays.”

“That’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Woodstock Coach Brent Budde said.  “He’s a had a couple of games where things didn’t click. …Tonight it clicked.”

In a game of pass-happy quarterbacks, Bass found Frith for two scores in the second quarter, one for 45 yards and a 20-yard strike just before halftime.  Frith would get a third score in the 3rd quarter on a five yard pass.

From there, it was all Louis Hall.  He reeled in touchdown passes for 75 and 49 yards en route to a 12 reception, 223-yard performance for the Wolverines.

Bales, who came in to the night No. 8th in the state in terms of passing yards with 1,097 yards, was 22-for-38 for 317 yards and two touchdowns.  He connected with Tristan Howard for a 60-yard touchdown pass just before the end of the first quarter.

Howard had five catches for 141 yards.

“Our guys came out ready to play but we missed some opportunities early,” Raiders coach Robert Craft said.  “When you play good teams, you have to cash in.  The plays were there, and in the last few weeks we’ve been making them.  Tonight, we did not.”

Ryan Martin extended Woodstock’s lead to 28-10 after back-to-back rushes of 17 and 16 yards to begin the fourth quarter.

“We lost some of our fundamentals,” Craft said.  “We had a few big turnovers and we can’t do that against a good playoff football team.  We didn’t tackle as well as we needed to.”

Tight end Nicky Dalmolin had North’s final touchdown, a 46-yard pass from Bales in the fourth quarter.

After Hall’s long touchdown pass, Martin ran for a 67-yard touchdown to take a 42-17 in the final 12 minutes.

“We have three running backs we have confidence in,” Budde said.  “They did a great job and Ryan came in fresh and he made plays.  We want to run the ball late in the game and he allowed us to do that.”

Despite the outcome, Craft is confident his team is on the right track as the Raiders open Region 5-7A play in two weeks at Forsyth Central.

“Our offense is ready to go,” Craft said.  “Our defense played lights out for a few quarters.  We got a little tired. … I am really excited about where we’re going. Everything is right in front of us with region play.”

North Forsyth offense erupts against Pickens

Sports Staff 

FCN staff

Updated: Sept. 16, 2017, 1:18 a.m.

JASPER – A year ago, it was one of the season’s most thrilling games, a nail-biter that ended with a late touchdown pass.

This time, North Forsyth prevented any drama by the end of the third quarter.

Quarterback Ben Bales threw four touchdowns, tailback Bryson Trigg ran for four more and the Raiders’ defense held Pickens’ potent offense to seven points in the second half for a 58-38 victory Friday in a non-region game on the road.

North (3-1) was coming off a bye week, but the Raiders’ practice schedule leading up to Friday was abbreviated by Tropical Storm Irma, which caused Forsyth County Schools to close Monday and Tuesday. Upon their return Wednesday for practice, six days had passed since varsity players last hit the field.

Raiders head coach Robert Craft said his message to players was influenced by last season’s meeting with Pickens. North fell behind in that game by 14 points and needed a touchdown pass with 16.7 seconds left to pull out a 35-31 victory at home.

“It was the focus all week that we’ve got to set the tempo of the game,” Craft said.

So they did. Trigg rushed for two touchdowns, including a 70-yarder, and Cedric Touchstone caught the first of his two touchdowns to give North an early 21-7 lead. Pickens responded to tie the game, 28-28, but Trigg got loose for a 70-yard score and Arthur Boyzo hit a field goal to put North up 38-38 at the half.

North then scored 20-straight points – a 49-yard touchdown pass to Touchstone, a 35-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Aiken and Trigg’s last touchdown – to take a commanding 58-28 lead.

“Pickens is really talented offensively, so we knew we were going to be challenged and have to play well offensively,” Craft said.

North piled up 658 yards of offense. Bales completed 22 of 33 passes for 328 yards. Touchstone had nine catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while Tristan Howard caught five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.

But Trigg’s big night was perhaps the most encouraging development for North. Expectations were high for the junior running back after leading the team in carries as a sophomore and a standout season on the track team this past spring. Instead, Trigg entered Friday’s game second on the team in rushing.

Not anymore – Trigg finished with 242 yards on 20 carries.

“We kind of knew it was in Bryson. It was just a matter of time,” Craft said. “Our offensive linemen have had four games under their belts, and they’ve started to become better as a group. Bryson did a good job of trusting what was in front of him.”

Yaw Parry and John Allen Whitacre each had interceptions for North, and Honus Wagner had 11 tackles and forced a fumble.

After scoring the second-most points in a single game in program history, the Raiders enter next week’s game against Woodstock on a three-game winning streak.

“Next week’s going to be a big week,” Craft said. “A (Class 7A) playoff team coming in. It’s Homecoming for us. Raider Valley is going to be at its finest. Woodstock is a team we really respect. We feel confident, but we want to come out and play well.”

Football: North dries off, pushes past Loganville for comeback win

Colin Ochs

For the FCN

Updated: Sept. 1, 2017, 11:59 p.m.

North Forsyth got off to a rocky start in a rain-filled first half, but quarterback Ben Bales was able to right the ship for the Raiders with three touchdown passes en route to a 24-17 win over Loganville on Friday night in Raider Valley.

“We told our guys at halftime that was about as bad of a first half as we could’ve played,” North head coach Robert Craft said. “It wasn’t our best night, but tough teams find a way to win.”

The Raiders jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first quarter after Bales (17-for-23, 245 yards, 3 TDs, INT) found receiver Tristan Howard across the middle for a 16-yard touchdown pass on the second drive of the game, but it was turnovers in the second quarter that swung the momentum in Loganville’s favor.

A strong rain started late in the first, which may have led to some of North’s miscues.

A muffed punt gave Loganville the ball on North’s 26-yard line. Five plays later, Red Devils quarterback David Smith was in the end zone to make it 10-7 Loganville.

The next play from scrimmage for North was a fumble recovered by Loganville. A 30-yard touchdown pass from Smith (19-for-34, 131 yards, TD, INT) to Blake May and suddenly, it was 17-7.

The following drive for North was crucial, and Bales delivered. Six plays into the drive, the senior quarterback aired it up for Howard (3 catches, 81 yards, 2 TDs) who won the jump ball, broke a tackle and pranced the rest of the way into the end zone.

“Ben’s our leader,” Craft said. “Ben’s a guy who’s very consistent every week. We know what we’re going to get out of him. He took control of the football game really well.”

NF_CJansen_090317_web.jpg

North Forsyth's Cade Jansen makes a tackle against Loganville on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. /// Photo by Lily McGregor Photography

It was only a three-point deficit at half due in large part to the strong tackling performance from the Raider defenders. Thirteen of the Red Devils’ completed passes were for five or fewer yards, four were tackled for a loss.

“Early in the season, tackling’s usually one of the things you struggle with,” Craft said. “(We’re) trying to get better at that every week. Other than a couple big plays, I felt like we limited them all night.”

The defense was consistent throughout and shut out the Red Devils in the second half.

Early in the fourth quarter, North took the lead back following a five-play, 30-yard drive that started with a kick-catch interference call on Loganville. Bales hit Cedric Touchstone (6 catches, 93 yards, TD) on a post route in the end zone for the 18-yard touchdown completion to put North up 21-17.

“(My receivers) performed really well tonight,” Bales said. “I’ve played with Cedric and Tristan since I was in seventh grade so I know kind of their tendencies and stuff like that. It just helps a lot having that previous team experience with them.”

Two drives later, North added a field goal following a 17-play, 78-yard drive for the final score of 24-17.

“It’s a really big confidence booster,” Bales said about the win. “Going into the bye week, this is definitely going to help us a lot.”

Late field goal spoils North Forsyth's season-opener

 

For the FCN

FCN staff

Updated: Aug. 19, 2017, 1:51 a.m.

CANTON – Sequoyah jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter of their opening game against North Forsyth, and then won the game on a go-ahead 20-yard field goal from Wesley Potter that put the Chiefs in front 30-28 with 2:37 left in the contest.

Sequoyah had failed to tie the game on their previous possession when they scored a touchdown, but Potter's extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 28-27.

"We knew it was going to be one of those back and forth things" said Sequoyah coach James Teter. "We didn't hang our heads when we fell behind, and we found a way to fight back into it. Our kids played really well."

Both teams focused on the running game in their offenses, and it was North (0-1) that gained more yardage on the ground, totaling 230 rushing yards to Sequoyah's 166. The Raiders' Jonathan Perez led all rushers with 121 yards.

Non-offensive scores are a great equalizer in football though, and the Chiefs got one from their secondary in the first half. Trailing 7-0, North faced a 3rd-and-6 at their own 24-yard line. Quarterback Ben Bales saw an open man downfield, but Potter, who plays on the defensive side of the ball as well, jumped in front of the route and intercepted the pass, returning it 36 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

On the following possession, North got back in the game. Perez took a handoff and raced 28 yards up the middle of the field to the end zone, cutting the Sequoyah lead to 14-7 with 7:26 left until halftime. The play capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive.

The score stayed that way at the break, and on their first possession of the second half, North tied the game at 14. After four straight carries by Perez, tight end Clayton Bardall broke away for a 44-yard touchdown halfway through the third quarter.

Sequoyah answered quickly with a long touchdown run of their own, a 54-yard scoring run by Luke Jensen. Jensen finished with 78 yards on 12 carries.

Later in the quarter, North caught a break on a bobbled snap by Sequoyah punter Tyler Price, who was tackled before he could kick the ball away at the 7-yard line. Three plays later, Bales found Tristan Howard in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 21.

The Raiders took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter when Bales again threw a score, this time to a wide-open Charlie Aiken for 23 yards for a 28-21 lead.

On the following drive, Sequoyah faced a 4th-and-1 near midfield when Cameron Gales took the handoff, broke through a crowded line, and went 58 yards for a touchdown. Gales led the Chiefs with 88 yards on 18 carries. Following the run by Gales, Potter's extra point was blocked, setting up the game's final sequence.

"When we missed that extra point we could have crumbled," Teter said. "We all said it's just one point, and we still had about eight minutes left. We just needed to get a stop and not let them eat up too much time."

Sequoyah's defense indeed stopped North on the following possession, forcing a three-and-out. When the Chiefs got the ball back, they put Potter in position to win the game with a 9-play drive that started at their own 39-yard line and moved to the North 3.

“It feels good (to win the opening game),” Teter said. "It's been a while since we've done that, three years since we started the season with a win."