MOUNT AIRY -- All season the Duluth Wildcats have been putting themselves in very tough situations.
They faced more than a 20 point deficit against both Norcross and Peachtree Ridge earlier this season but came back to give both opponents a scare. Their first win of the season against Berkmar also required two fourth quarter touchdowns to seal the victory.
However, on Friday night the roles were reversed as the Wildcats scored on four straight possessions in the first half en route to a 56-14 win over Habersham Central.
"It felt good to get ahead in one ball game this year," Duluth head coach Corey Jarvis said. "Our kids came out with a little more focus on defense and performed well which allowed our offense to make some big plays and put points on the board."
Duluth's defense did a tremendous job of wrangling the Raider's triple option attack in the first half as they held their opponents to just 52 yards of total offense and didn't allow a first down until 6:10 remaining in the second quarter.
After holding the Raiders to consecutive three and outs, Duluth opened the scoring on their second drive when quarterback Thaddeus Bell found Gregory Blackshear for a nine yard touchdown pass.
With the Wildcat defense playing one of their best halves of the season, the Duluth offense was left to do what it does best, make big plays. Myles Campbell, one of the county's most electric players, scored on a touchdown run of 45 yards and caught a 54 yard touchdown pass. He finished with 219 all-purpose yards. Not to be outdone by his older brother, Tyler Campbell also scored on a 23 yard run to give the Wildcats the 28-0 halftime lead.
"I am certainly glad those two play for Duluth," Jarvis said. "They are two very special players."
The Raiders had their chances to seize the momentum and turn the game around. Duluth turned the ball over in its opponents red zone on its final drive of the first half and its first drive of the second half. However, after intercepting a pass from Bell, the Raiders would make a mistake of their own as Rashod Thomas intercepted Habersham quarterback Jake Tench and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.
Duluth scored again on a defensive touchdown when Michael Long recovered a fumble and returned it 20 yards for a score.
However, Duluth made two costly errors of their own when two personal foul penalties extended opponent drives which would end with Habersham Central's only touchdowns.
"Those two penalties were just the result of being undisciplined," Jarvis said. "We know we can't do that next week against Collins Hill and win."
Bell completed 14 of 20 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats. Duluth finished the game with 558 yards on 56 plays. Will Delorenzo, who began the year as the starter, scored a seven yard run to end the scoring.
Habersham would score on a 5 yard run by Sydnee Mulligan and a beautiful 26 yard run by Tench. The Raider quarterback led the offense as he finished with 155 yards rushing on 20 carries.