EAST BEND — In a game that had playoff consequences for both teams, the Forbush Falcons and the North Surry Greyhounds put on a show for a packed crowd in East Bend Friday night. Both teams came into the game in a must-win situation as playoffs are on the horizon. The Falcons came into the game looking to snap a three-game losing streak, but the Greyhounds got the best of Forbush as they took a 27-23 win.
The Greyhounds received the kickoff to start the game, but their drive didn’t last long as Forbush intercepted the ball at the 46-yard line. Forbush’s Shane Hutchens came up with the interception after North Surry quarterback Avery Smith tried to throw the ball into double coverage. Hutchens returned to the Hounds’ 33-yard line to give Forbush great field position for its first drive of the game.
On second down from the 17, Jackson Cooper decided to take the play into his own hands, finding the end zone for Forbush’s first touchdown of the night. Cooper faked to the right, then rolled to the left before running into the end zone. The Falcons attempted a two-point conversion and made it to take an 8-0 lead with 8:33 left in the first quarter.
On North Surry’s next drive, the Hounds made up for the interception. North came up on a fourth-and-4 situation. As they lined up their offense, Forbush jumped offside to give North Surry the first down. The offside call on the Falcons ultimately led to a touchdown, as Smith pitched the ball back to Reid Stanley, who threw the ball into the end zone to find a wide-open Casey Hull. Hull grabbed the ball and scored the first North Surry touchdown. The Hounds attempted a two-point conversion of their own, and tied the game at 8.
Forbush started its next drive with a 34-yard run to the 20-yard line courtesy of Austin Mendenhall. Mendenhall’s run lit the Falcons’ fire as Cooper came up with another touchdown for Forbush. On the touchdown play, Cooper looked to be in trouble as North Surry’s defense almost came away with a sack, but he dodged three defenders to make his way to the opposite side of the field. As Cooper was running, his offensive line made three great blocks to help Cooper find the end zone for his second touchdown of the night. Forbush went for another two-point conversion, but was stopped this time. With 3:10 left in the first quarter, Forbush had a 14-8 lead over North Surry.
As the clock continued to wind down in the first quarter, the Greyhounds’ next drive started off with a 40-yard completion to Darius Duncan. The completion took North Surry to the Forbush 36, The Hounds reached the 20 when Smith dodged two Forbush defenders. As the first quarter came to an end, North Surry was on the 8-yard line with four downs to go. The Falcons’ defense made three huge stops to take the Greyhounds to fourth-and-goal from the 8. North Surry decided to go for the touchdown, and once again Forbush’s defense made the stop and the Greyhounds turned the ball over on downs.
As well as the Forbush defense played on North Surry’s drive, the offense had no such luck as Omar Montalvan fumbled at the 36-yard line and North Surry recovered. The Falcons’ defense knew it had to make another big stop as halftime was approaching. They did their job once again, as Cory Evans immediately sacked Smith for a loss of eight yards to take the drive to second-and-18. On the next play, the Greyhounds got back to the original line of scrimmage, but they were unable to convert on third down as Mendenhall made another sack for Forbush and forced the Hounds to punt.
The tide changed from an offensive game to a defensive game, as both team’s defenses started to come out of the woodwork. The teams exchanged defensive stops and punts on the next two possessions.
Just as it looked like the first half would wind down without another touchdown, North Surry outsmarted the Falcons’ defense on the final drive of the half, and earned another touchdown courtesy of Stanley, who scored on a 58-yard catch-and-run play. Stanley’s touchdown gave North Surry a 15-14 lead going into halftime after Izzy Garcia drilled the point-after.
The third quarter started off on a bad note for the Falcons, as Mendenhall fumbled on the kickoff and the Greyhounds recovered the ball on the one-yard line. North Surry duly opened up the third quarter with a touchdown by Smith, who ran the ball into the end zone to give North Surry a 21-14 lead after just 19 seconds of play in the second half.
Thirty-three seconds later, Forbush answered back with a touchdown of its own as Cooper ran the ball in for his third touchdown of the night to make the score 21-20. The Falcons faked an extra point attempt, but came up unsuccessful.
The Hounds’ ensuing drive lasted just three plays before they fumbled and Forbush recovered at the 48-yard line. The Falcons drove down the field until they moved into field-goal range. Joel Guadarrama nailed the field goal from 30 yards out, and gave the Falcons a 23-21 lead.
Time was now running short for both teams. The Hounds started their next drive at the 32-yard line and quickly drove for a ended with a North Surry touchdown courtesy of Chase Chandler.
Now the Greyhounds led 27-23, but Forbush had one drive left in the tank before time ran out.
Starting at their 30, the Falcons quickly advanced into the red zone. Montalvan gave the Falcons two first downs in a row to take Forbush to the eight-yard line. Forbush tried to drive the ball in, but North Surry came up with two stops before the Falcons took the ball to the air. Blake Winebarger tried to make a pass to Evans but came up short, and North Surry took over on downs. The Greyhounds ended the game with a knee and took a 27-23 win over the Falcons.
Forbush ends its season with an overall record of 5-6, and a conference record of 1-4. North Surry also completed its regular season with a 5-6 mark, but has a conference record of 3-2. The Falcons are not expected to make the playoffs due to their conference and overall record, while the Hounds should make the playoffs. Playoff brackets will be released next week.