North Gwinnett 38, Mountain View 14
The Bulldogs spanked upstart Mountain View, knocking the Bears from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 38-14 win at Tom Robinson Stadium in Suwanee.
“All four of our games have had a lot of emotional roller coasters to them, play good in spurts and then sputter,” North Gwinnett coach Bob Sphire said “I wouldn’t say we put 48 minutes together tonight, but that first 24 was pretty solid.”
North Gwinnett improved to 3-2 and warmed up for next week’s showdown against No. 2-ranked Mill Creek. Mountain View (4-1) will try to regroup next week against Duluth.
North Gwinnett set the pace in the first half by scoring on five of its six first-half possessions. The Bulldogs did it by an effective running game and a barrage of short catch-and-run passes out of the shotgun.
“We did a good job of getting them off the field. but want to give our offense a lot of credit because we had 16 first downs in the first half and almost 300 yards,” Sphire said. “We didn’t give them much chance to get in any rhythm.”
North Gwinnett quarterback Cade Fortin completed 12 of 17 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns and rushed five times for 60 yards. Ricky Reed caught five passes for 69 yards and one touchdown.
Mountain View quarterback Matthew Edwards completed 16 of 36 with one interception for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Dhante Hill caught eight passes for 90 yards and Malachi Carter had six catches for 94 yards. Jasen Johnson rushed 13 times for 79 yards.
“We were being patient, not letting them have any big plays, keeping it in front of you and tackling that running back and not letting them have a series of big plays,” Sphire said “I thought we tackled well early.”
North scored first on a 65-yard drive that was completed when Brian Eberhardt powered in from the 1.
Mountain View answered by moving to the North Gwinnett 28. On first down, quarterback Matthew Edwards connected with Malachi Carter for a 10-yard gain. But the receiver fumbled and Turner Cho was there to recover the ball and return it to the 40.
The Bulldogs then drove to the 18 before the drive stalled and they settled for a Zaniel Phillips’ 35 yard field goal, giving them a 10-0 lead with 1:30 left in the period.
After forcing a three-and-out, North Gwinnett got the ball back and drove 49 yards for a score, which came on Ryan Lovelace’s 1-yard run
The Bulldogs defense, sparked by Eberhardt’s second sack, forced another three-and-out and the offense took advantage by driving for a touchdown. Cade Fortin threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Goodson for the score, which gave North a 24-0 lead.
The Bulldogs executed an onside kick, which was recovered near the sideline by D.J. Turner. Despite owning the momentum, North could not move the ball and had to punt for the only time in the half.
Mountain View responded with a scoring drive of its own. The Bears got on the board with 2:46 left when Edwards threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Dhante Hill to cut the lead to 24-7.
But North Gwinnett wasn’t through and hurried downfield for another touchdown. Fortn threw downfield to Ricky Reed for a 34-yard score with 24 seconds left.
North Gwinnett’s only second-half score came on a 60-yard punt return from Javonni Cunningham midway in the third quarter.
Mountain View scored its final touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Edwards to Hill.