West Forsyth 40, Cherokee Bluff 7
When you’ve run two offensive plays and lead 20-0 with barely six minutes left in the first quarter, you could say it’s a pretty solid start to the season for the offense, the defense or the special teams.
But a well-balanced mix of all three facets helped West Forsyth outlast Cherokee Bluff 40-7 in the nightcap game of the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic Thursday at West Forsyth.
Fielding a young team, and starting sophomore quarterback, Max Walraven, West Forsyth coach Dave Svehla was not sure exactly what to expect.
“It can be pretty intimidating to come out in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic on a Thursday night on television in front of everybody and play a bunch of young kids,” said Svehla. “You don’t know how they’re going to react. But I didn’t think the moment was too big for them.”
Any questions of nerves were answered when Topher Delp returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and Foster Orris rushed for 41 yards for a touchdown with 9:12 left in the first quarter, settling the Wolverines into a rhythm.
With 6:13 left in the first quarter, Ryder Stewart scored on a 71-yard punt return to give the West Forsyth the 20-0 lead. Hunter Green scored on a 5-yard reception from Walraven to cap an 8-play, 38-yard drive and put West Forsyth up 26-0.
“I am proud of Max,” Svehla said of his sophomore quarterback, who finished an efficient 5-of-9 passing for 27 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s fifteen years old, so to come out here in this kind of situation and he did a great job. He’s got a lot of different skills, a pretty good skillset. He’s got a great arm and obviously he has pretty good feet. He got himself out of trouble tonight and when he did, he either ran for first downs or made some big plays in the passing game.”
West Forsyth expanded the margin to 33-0 on an 18-yard pass from Walraven to Stewart with 3:28 left in the first half and with 1:33 left, Orris scored on a 47-yard run to extend the Wolverines’ lead. Cherokee Bluff scored on an 8-yard run from Conner Hulsey with 2:41 left in the game capping an 8-play, 71-yard drive for the Bears.
Foster finished with 136 yards and two touchdowns on five carries to lead the Wolverines on the ground. Asher Wilson was 8-of-14 passing for 53 yards for Cherokee Bluff. Hulsey had 14 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown for the Bears.
“We have some things that we definitely have to get better at,” Svehla said. “But I thought we generally executed pretty well, and we were organized, and I thought that was important.”
Archer 35, North Forsyth 16
Archer opened its season with a victory for the first time since 2019 after moving past North Forsyth 35-16 in the opening game of a double-header in the Corky Kell + Dave Hunter Classic Thursday at West Forsyth.
“I just saw the tenacity and the hunger,” said Archer coach Dante Williams. “They all claimed they wanted to make that change right after we lost the Newton game last year. It was a long offseason with no playoffs and the seniors just made the commitment to build our connection and build on this culture and having brotherhood. The x’s and o’s will take care of themselves.”
The Tigers were nursing a 28-16 lead following a 24-yard touchdown pass from North Forsyth quarterback Elijah Seaney to Cole Smith with 11:52 left in the game but the Raiders couldn’t find answers for the Archer defense. With 2:50 left in the game, Jason Fisher scored on a 19-yard run to secure the victory for Archer.
Opening the game, Archer missed a field goal attempt on its first drive but took the lead on a 27-yard pass from Jordan Do to 5-foot-10, 165-pound junior wide receiver Jonathan Stafford Jr. with 5:40 left in the first quarter.
“It wasn’t a perfect game,” Williams said. “We left some points on the field. But we noticed in our scrimmage that we didn’t come out with the best in the second half and a lot of that is first game, game shape and fatigue. But there’s no excuse. We have to mimic it in practice and that starts with me and our structure. That way we come out playing as hard and fast and physical as we can in the first half.”
The Archer defense put the Tigers up 14-0 after senior Kendall Lee, a 6-1, 183-pound middle linebacker, intercepted Seaney with 10:34 left in the first half and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. Stafford caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Do with 5:21 left in the first half to extend the margin to 21-0.
North Forsyth got on the board with a 27-yard field goal from Caden Macias and then cut into the lead 21-10 on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Seaney to Brady Holbrook with 4:31 left in the third quarter. With 55 seconds left in the third quarter, Do passed to Isaac Michel to put Archer up 28-10.
Do was 28-of-47 passing for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Stafford had 13 receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Michel made four catches for 14 yards and a touchdown. Fisher had 10 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Seaney was 18-of-35 passing for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Smith made six catches for 58 yards and a touchdown and Holbrook had four receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.