With the Chiefs (3-3, 1-1) and the Bulldogs (2-4, 2-0) both coming off of dominant victories over sub-region opponents, the winner of this tonight’s matchup could secure itself a chance to play for a state playoff berth in the season-ending play-in game three weeks from now.
Sequoyah coach James Teter sees the game as a must-win if the Chiefs want to finish as one of the top two teams in the region.
“For both teams this is a critical game,” Teter said. “Whoever loses it is probably out of the running for the second seed in the region play-in. It’s going to be a hard-fought game, because neither team can afford to lose.”
After starting the season 0-4, Forsyth Central has outscored its last two opponents — Cambridge and North Springs — 82-22 to put itself in a tie with Creekview for first place in the subregion. Those wins, however, came against two winless programs.
“When you look at their scores from the last few weeks, you can tell that they have gotten better as the year has gone on,” Teter said. “They worry us quite a bit.”
Though the Bulldogs sometimes operate out of the same Wing-T offensive formation that the Chiefs employ, they also use the option frequently as well.
Last week against Cambridge, it was out of the option that quarterback Michael Branigan rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, with one of those scores coming on a 69-yard run.
Of the 395 yards Forsyth Central gained against Cambridge, 367 came on the ground.
“They have a good group of running backs, and a quarterback that knows how to run the option very well,” Teter said.
Sequoyah is also coming off of a strong rushing performance against North Springs, with the Chiefs running for 462 yards in a 50-8 rout.
Top running backs Blake Ingleton, Stuart Glassic, and Dustin Dawson accounted for 295 of those yards — despite all three only playing in the first half.
With such an emphasis on running the ball for both teams, Teter expressed his concern over Forsyth Central’s physical nature at the line of scrimmage.
“They are a very strong team, physically, up front,” Teter said. “If they are really physical on the line, it could create some problems for us. How our kids react and respond to it will be important.”
Teter also stressed how crucial it was for the Chiefs to hang on to the ball and not beat themselves with avoidable mistakes.
“I really think that, in the next three to four weeks, turnovers and mistakes on special teams are going to cost someone a place in the region play-in,” Teter said. “We have been preaching to our kids just how important these things are. For us to win, it is key that we not make mistakes.”