EAST BEND — Elkin battled back from an early deficit and a bigger deficit late before falling 36-26 to host Forbush in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
“We made too many mistakes tonight,” Elkin Coach Scott Wood said.
Forbush Coach Chris Johnson lamented his team’s mistakes as well. “We had turnovers and bad snaps we’ve got to correct,” he said.
Game time temperature was 83. That was at least five degrees cooler and less humid than it had been an hour earlier. At the start of the second half it was 84 and it seemed muggier.
The weather cost Forbush Brady Williard, who plays tight end and linebacker, early in the second half. “We had many kids cramping,” Johnson said, adding, “it goes both ways.”
Just 1:14 into the game, Williard ran 50 yards with a pass he caught over the middle form Carson Fulp to complete an 81-yard touchdown play. Fulp escaped a sack before finding Williard. Fulp also ran the two-point conversion in.
Tyler Holden scored from seven yards out to give the Falcons a 14-0 lead with 7:24 to play in the first quarter. The two-point conversion failed.
With 3:32 left in the first half, Forbush added two points when the ball was snapped out of the end zone on an Elkin punt attempt. Up 16-13, the Falcons went up 24-13 when Jordan Sawyers scored from seven yards out following a 27-yard catch-run featuring Holden. Fulp then scored again on a two-point conversion.
With 18 seconds left in the first half and the Buckin’ Elks trying to run out the clock, Forbush’s Dex Bray recovered a fumble at the Elkin 10.
Three plays later, Fulp escaped the rush and scored from 10 yards out on the last play of the first half to put the Falcons up 30-13. Then, in the third quarter, the Falcons used up six minutes during an 11-play, 94-yard drive to go up 36-13.
Fulp scored the touchdown on a six-yard run. A 28-yard run and a fourth-down conversion by Sawyers; and a 24-yard run by Fulp highlighted the drive.
“That drive in the third quarter used a lot of clock,” Wood said. “That’s the one that really hurt us.”
“Carson Fulp put us on his back,” Johnson said. Fulp was 4-of-9 for 141 yards, including a backbreaking 29-yard completion after avoiding a sack to keep a fourth-quarter drive alive. Fulp also had 71 yards on the ground.
Fulp said his team had to overcome adversity to win. “We are not deep,” he said. “People who aren’t playmakers had to be playmakers and they fulfilled that duty.”
While the Falcons scored only six points and through only one pass in the second half, Fulp said his team was not sitting on the lead. “Mainly the strategy was to keep pushing, ball security, and not let up,” he said.
Sawyers had 121 yards on 20 carries. Ninety-eight of those yards came on 15 second-half carries.
There were several bright spots for the Buckin’ Elks, including the play of defensive lineman Jay Blackburn. “He’s playing his butt off right now,” Wood said. Blackburn had several tackles for losses in the game.
Daniel Brinegar caught eight passes for 235 yards and a touchdown for Elkin. The first touchdown came on a slip screen and covered 56 yards to cut the Forbush lead to 14-13 midway through the second quarter.
Brinegar, on almost the same play at the same position on the field, scored from 56 yards out with 8:25 to play in the game to make it 36-19 Forbush. He then hauled in a Josh Strickland pass at the Forbush 30, breaking two tackles down the sideline to complete a 65-yard scoring play and help Elkin close to within 10 at 36-26 with 6:13 to play.
Strickland finished his night 11-of-17 for 304 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions. His first touchdown pass - a 23-yarder to Haji McDaniels - came with 8:06 to play in the second quarter.
“They are well-coached,” Johnson said. “[Wood’s] got some state championship rings on his fingers for a reason.
“We’re tickled to be 1-and-0,” Johnson added. “We’re not tickled in every phase of what we did. But we need to enjoy it and celebrate it.”
“It was very important,” Fulp said of the win. “Last year we changed Forbush football. We’re here to compete.”
Elkin travels to North Surry next Friday night. Forbush is at North Iredell.