SUWANEE - North Gwinnett turned what looked like an early shootout into a rout with a 41-20 win over North Forsyth Friday night.
The Bulldogs maintained their perfect record in 7-AAAAA moving to 7-0 with most of the credit going to seniors Tyler Jarry and Mikey Tamburo, along with a second half-shutout by the defense.
"Jarry has been a guy who's put us on his back in times of need," said North Gwinnett Coach Bob Sphire. "And he's done it for three years."
North Forsyth (3-5, 2-4) set the pace early by jumping out to a early lead when Tyler Stanton broke free on a 43-yard touchdown.
North Gwinnett fired back on its first possession when Tamburo connected with C.J. Uzomah on a 36-yard touchdown strike that evened what had the makings of a shootout at seven apiece.
The Raiders regained the lead on the very next possession when quarterback Eli Chester found Jordan Totten with a 6-yard touchdown pass that capped a seven play, 91-yard drive.
Jarry and the Bulldogs bounced right back with 11:06 to play in the second quarter on a 2-yard run to put the score back to even at 14-14. After forcing a Raider three-and-out, the Bulldogs pulled ahead when Tamburo found the end zone on a 25-yard pass to Jarry.
North Forsyth rallied back with less than a minute to go in the half after blocking a North Gwinnett punt and recovering the ball on the Bulldog 19. Seven plays later, Chester broke a couple of tackles to score what would be the Raiders' final points of the night. North Gwinnett blocked the extra point to leave itself with a 1-point lead.
But it turned out to be all the lead the hosts would need. North Gwinnett scored again 30 seconds later when Tamburo found Jarry on the duo's second score of the half. The Bulldogs failed to convert on the two-point conversion leaving the score at 27-20 at the half.
And with the new half came what looked like a revitalization for the Bulldogs. The defense not only halted all North Forsyth scoring in the second half, but also limited the Raiders to 27 yards of offense.
"My defensive staff made all the adjustments," said Sphire. "Coach (Mo) Dixon and those guys, I don't have to worry about anything. That's really the kind of confidence I have in our defensive folks. They made all the right adjustments and I knew they would."
North Gwinnett padded its lead with one minute left in the third quarter when Tamburo broke free on a 55-yard touchdown run to put the score at 34-20. By night's end Tamburo tallied 114 yards rushing and 165 yards passing, completing 13 of 22 attempts for four scores.
Jarry found the endzone for the fourth time of the night by punching though on a 13-yard run for the final score of the game. By the end of the night the senior had connected with Tamburo on two scores and rushed for two more.
North Gwinnett 41, North Forsyth 20
North Forsyth: Tyler Slaton 43 run (Cory Reins kick) 8:52
North Gwinnett: C.J. Uzomah 36 pass from Mikey Tamburo (Jeff Hatley kick) 7:18
North Forsyth: Jordan Totten 6 pass from Eli Chester (Reins kick) 2:51
North Gwinnett: Tyler Jarry 2 run (Hatley kick) 11:06
North Gwinnett: Jarry 25 pass from Tamburo (Hatley kick) 8:05
North Forsyth: Chester 4 run (kick failed) :58
North Gwinnett: Jarry 13 pass from Tamburo (pass failed) :28
North Gwinnett: Tamburo 55 run (Hatley kick) 1:00
North Gwinnett: Jarry 13 run (Hatley kick) 7:13