FORNEY, Texas — North Forney, who came into the Unity Bowl having won 2 out of the last 3 contests against the Jackrabbits, wasted no time opening a big lead thanks in part to a lockdown defense and three first quarter touchdown drives that totaled 204 yards.
The first 2 touchdowns were created through the air from senior quarterback Jacob Acuna to junior wide receiver Lemarcus Kirk via 11-yard and 49-yard strikes. The third touchdown came upon the legs of senior running back Ty Collins from 13 yards out after the Falcons had called 22 straight passing plays to start the game. After one quarter of play the Falcons led the Jackrabbits 21-0.
In the second quarter the Jackrabbits came to life. Taking advantage of a North Forney miscue on an unsuccessful punt snap, the Jackrabbits pounced on the loose ball at the Falcons 9-yard line. Two plays later, junior running back Jon’Richard Washington punched in the 7-yard touchdown run for the first Forney points of the night early in the second quarter.
On the following North Forney possession, it was the Jackrabbit defense who came up with the big play on 3rd down and 8. Senior defensive lineman Cade Crawford sacked Acuna to force back to back Falcon punts.
Trailing 21-7 and starting the ensuing drive from their own 38-yard line, the Jackrabbits only needed one play to again cut into North Forney’s lead. Senior quarterback Noah Garcia completed a beautifully thrown pass to senior wide receiver Braden Benjamin in between two Falcon defenders just along the sideline. Benjamin eluded those defenders and raced the rest of the way for the 62-yard touchdown. It was a well-designed play call that saw Benjamin run a wheel route down the sideline after lining up in the backfield as a running back. North Forney led the Jackrabbits 21-14.
Then the Falcons found their groove.
North Forney scored the final 17 points of the first half as part of 40 unanswered points from the middle of the second quarter until early into the fourth quarter.
Both Falcons second quarter touchdowns were scored on the ground with 41-yard and 14-yard runs from senior linebacker Akanimo Asuquo and junior safety Demarcus Kirk, respectively. Senior kicker Ricky Cortez would knock home a 21-yard field goal just before halftime giving the Falcons a 38-14 lead.
Forney took the opening possession of the second half into North Forney territory but unfortunately couldn’t complete a 4th down pass attempt from Garcia to running back Jalyn Phillips turning the ball over on downs to the Falcons close to midfield.
The Falcons would take advantage of the opportunity to go up 45-14 a few plays later when Acuna found senior wide receiver Collyn Shipley in the middle of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown pass. Shipley displayed tremendous body control and concentration going high into the air and back across his body to making the leaping grab.
A couple of possessions later the Jackrabbit defense would force a Falcons punt from near midfield, but Cortez would pin the Jackrabbits inside their own 1-yard line with an incredible kick.
On the very first play of the drive Phillips was tackled in the end zone by North Forney defensive lineman Rod Brown for the 2-point safety.
The Falcons tacked on one more touchdown in the third quarter and one in the early fourth quarter to take a 61-14 lead thanks to touchdown runs of 9 and 3 yards from senior running back Jermaine Oakley.
The Jackrabbits showed their determination and grit by finding the end zone one last time late in the fourth quarter when Garcia found Benjamin who beat the North Forney defense in route to a 35-yard touchdown pass for the second of their two touchdown connections on the night.
The final score showed the North Forney Falcons defeating the Forney Jackrabbits 61-21.
The Falcons move to 4-0 (1-0 in district) on the season and will take on the Crandall Pirates at home next Friday.
The Jackrabbits move to 0-4 (0-1 in district) on the season and will travel to Corsicana to take on the Corsicana Tigers next Friday.