North Gwinnett running back Joseph Jones (2) runs past Mountain View's Cameron Tootle (43) and Andrew Mozingo (46) during Friday night's game.
SUWANEE -- North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire spent the week following the Bulldogs' big comeback win over Norcross praising his defense's resilience to keep North Gwinnett in the game.
With two fumbles early in the first quarter against Mountain View, the North defense again faced early challenges Friday.
All it did was dominate.
After the Bears' first play went for 21 yards, they spent the rest of the first quarter going backward. Running back Marvin Elam's first seven carries went for minus-23 yards and it wasn't until he ripped off a 34-yard run late in the second quarter that broke into positive numbers. And he was falling forward, reaching the line of scrimmage on his first three carries after getting hit by North defenders in the backfield. Quarterback Chris Bartlett was under pressure every time he dropped back, taking enough sacks to account for minus-22 yards rushing in the first half alone and minus-34 for the game.
Just like last week, the North defense gave the offense time to come around. And when it did, North rolled to a 35-7 win over Mountain View.
"Their defense is good," said Bears head coach Tim Hardy after watching his team collect just 115 yards of offense.
The third possession got things moving for the Bulldogs' attack. North went 57 yards in eight plays and Scott Hosch found Chad Scott for a 9-yard touchdown. North scored on its next two drive to with Hosch finding Johnathan Lewis from 12 yards out and Joe Jones diving in from two yards out.
Hosch ended the game with 317 yards on 25 of 33 passing and no interceptions. He was rarely under any pressure. Scott was the big winner on the receiving end, catching eight of Hosch's passes for 101 yards and two scores. His third touchdown came on a fade to the corner of the end zone with perfect touch from Hosch and good footwork from Scott.
But it wasn't a perfect game for the Bulldogs, who racked up more than 100 yards off 18 penalties, most false starts. They also turned the ball over four times.
The second two, like the game's beginning, started the second half.
This time, Mountain View took advantage, finally putting together an strong drive. The Bears drove 75 yards in nine plays spurred by a big run from Elam and capped off when Bartlett found Tim Hill from five yards out. The score made it 21-7 with less than three minutes in the third quarter.
"We've got a lot of fight in this team," Hardy said. "I am proud of the way they represented Mountain View High School."
But just like the first half, the two turnovers jarred loose the Bulldogs' offense. North followed the Mountain View score with a pair of quick scoring drives of seven plays in less than two minutes each. Jones, who rushed for a game-high 119 yards on 18 carries, scored his second touchdown of the night to start the second half scoring and Hosch's catch on the fade put the game away.
In the final minutes, North worked in three quarterbacks, driving down to the 5-yard line before running the clock out for the win. In all three different players through a pass and 11 caught at least one ball. Nine different players ran the ball for the Bulldogs.