CUMMING, Ga. — A stout North Forsyth defense halted sophomore quarterback Ashton Evans and the rest of the Alcovy offense Friday night as the Tigers dropped their season opener to the Raiders by a score of 35-3.
Following a 2-8 record in his first season coaching the Tigers, head coach Jason Dukes would have to open up his second season against a tough North Forsyth team that finished 7-5 last season, including a trip to the state playoffs.
The Tigers and Raiders both struggled on offense to start their first quarter of the campaign, as both groups were stopped time and time again.
After recovering a North Forsyth fumble inside the 10-yard line, Evans fumbled the snap inside the end zone, and the ball was recovered by Raiders’ linebacker Carson Smith for North Forsyth’s first touchdown of the year. They took a 7-0 lead over the Tigers with 2:30 left in the first quarter.
The turnover bug would bite Alcovy once again early in the second quarter as running back Melvin Mapp fumbled the ball around mid-field, giving the ball back to the Raiders at their own 42-yard line.
North Forsyth capitalized quickly on the Tigers’ second turnover. The Raiders marched down the field and capped off the short drive with an eight-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jared Lucero, extending the lead to 14-0.
Despite losing three fumbles of their own in the first half, the North Forsyth offense continued to march down the field. They eventually broke through on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Brady Meitz to Austin Colon. The big play from the two seniors extended the lead to 21-0 going into halftime.
Heading into the locker room, Alcovy only accrued 35 yards of total offense. The Tigers were struggling to get into any rhythm, whether it was in the air or on the ground.
After receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, Meitz and Lucero slowly marched down the field, taking the majority of the third quarter with them. After driving down to inside the five-yard line, Meitz would hand the ball off to junior Patrick Corrigan for the two-yard touchdown run to extend the Raiders’ lead to 28-0.
As the final two quarters tracked on, the North Forsyth offense continued to run the ball downhill against the Alcovy defense. With 3:46 left in the third quarter, Meitz took the quarterback keeper for a 17-yard touchdown, making it a 35-0 lead over the Tigers.
Down by 35, Evans took it to the air immediately on the next drive, catching the Raider defense in a bad spot. A big 58-yard reception to former quarterback MJ Stroud set the Tigers up in outstanding field position.
After a 17-yard pass to junior Mathias Height that put the Tigers on the 1-yard line, back-to-back false start penalties pushed the offense back and they would eventually have to settle for a field goal.
A successful field goal trimmed the Tigers’ deficit to 35-3 entering the fourth quarter.
After stopping the Alcovy offense one more time, North Forsyth offense ran out the clock the rest of the way.
Despite a loss to a tough opponent such as North Forsyth, Evans showed late signs of how good he can be through the air, as most of the total offensive yards from the Tigers came from his passes late in the game.
The schedule will not get easier for Dukes and the Tigers as they go back home to play their county rival Newton High School next Friday, Sept. 11, at Sharp Stadium.