CUMMING, Ga. – The Alpharetta Raiders took early control of the playoff race in 6-AAAAAA, knocking off defending champion West Forsyth 31-17 in the region opener for both teams.
The Raiders (2-2) led 31-10 in the second half, getting 225 passing yards from quarterbacks Vito Priore and Austin King and 185 yards rushing from Lem Cobbs.
“Cobbs had a big game,” said Alpharetta coach Jason Dukes. “He ran extremely hard and the line blocked well. That allowed us to be more balanced and take some time off the clock.”
The Raiders, who have struggled to run the ball while piling up some impressive passing stats in recent seasons, had 192 yards rushing and 417 total yards against the Wolverines.
Alpharetta drove to a touchdown on the team’s first series, scoring on an 11-yard pass from Priore to Andre Harton. King, who was injured in the Raiders’ second game after beginning the season as the starter, connected with Daniel Clements for 7 yards to make it 14-3 early in the second period. Clements had six catches for 92 yards.
The Raiders expanded their lead on Thomas Waller’s 38-yard field, but the Wolverines scored in the closing seconds of the half, recovering an Alpharetta fumble in the end zone.
King hit Harton for 49 yards and scored on a 1-yard run as the Raiders took a 31-10 lead after three periods. King’s touchdown run was set up by Chase Stratton’s blocked punt. West Forsyth scored its lone offensive touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders overcame three turnovers, with the Alpharetta defense coming up with a number of key stops on third and fourth down. Linebacker Bryce Grauss led the defensive effort with nine solo tackles and five assists.
“We played well as a whole team,” Dukes said. “Offense, defense and special teams.”
The Raiders play at home Friday against South Forsyth, which is 4-0 after a 21-14 win last week over Lambert in the War Eagles’ region opener.