After 11 straight seasons of futility in season openers, Forsyth Central finally started the schedule off on the right foot.
Junior Shawn Deibel rushed for 189 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries in his varsity debut, and Central defeated Dawson County 27-7 on Friday in Cumming.
The ground and pound running attack of Central (1-0) slowly and surely overwhelmed the Dawson County (0-1) defense. The Bulldogs ran the vast majority of their plays out of the Wishbone formation, lining up three running backs behind the quarterback and attacking the Tigers with a barrage of running plays.
Deibel used quickness and tough running to repeatedly break through a defense that was geared up to defend the run on every play. Although Deibel had some trouble securing the football during several runs, his overall body of work was nothing short of impressive.
“I felt like I played all right,” Deibel said. “I know I scored, but dropping the ball was what really upset me about the game. There was great blocking by my teammates, but I still think I should do better next time out.”
On the other side of the football, the Central defense put forth a strong effort, disrupting and frustrating the Tiger offense all night. The Bulldogs defense was most impressive on fourth down, halting four Dawson County four times.
The Bulldogs took their first lead on the first play of the second quarter, when Deibel tallied the first of his three scores on an 8-yard touchdown run. Central then doubled its lead to 14-0 with one minute remaining in the second quarter, as Deibel broke through the scrum at the line of scrimmage and ran through several Tigers defenders on his way to a 50-yard score.
“After I hit the hole, I felt like all my ribs were breaking,” Deibel said, laughing. “When I broke away and stepped over that last guy, I felt great. It was the greatest moment of my life.”
The second half of the game varied little from the first.
The Bulldogs padded the lead to 27-0 before allowing a two-yard touchdown run by Dawson County’s Luke Martin early in the fourth period.
Dawson County hosts Gilmer at 7:30 p.m. Friday.