Posted: Thursday, September 26th 2013 at 5:33pm
North Forsyth keeping it simple, strong in rebound
By Morgan Lee Editor
COAL MOUNTAIN -- Jason Galt says there's no magic formula or big secret as to why North Forsyth football is off to its best start in eight years -- in his first season in charge.
"We're not making many mistakes right now," said Galt, whose Raiders are 4-0, 1-0 in Region 6-AAAAAA. "We're playing consistently and we're playing together."
It is a style of play forged during grueling weight-lifting sessions and in the team's physical practice periods.
“Any time you take over a program and change things it’s all about establishing a mindset,” Galt said.
That tough-minded attitude, like their play on the field, is one that Galt feels is essential to his team’s success -- especially considering the styles of offense and defense that the Raiders now employ.
After years of trying to make the most of its speed, Galt has brought power football to North Forsyth, installing a double-wing attack that he spent six seasons fashioning into a deadly weapon at his previous job in Dutchtown.
“Funny enough when I first came out of college I was a spread guy,” Galt said. “That was back when everyone was running the wing-T it seemed, but the longer I coached, the more I saw that the best programs -- the ones that were in the playoffs every year -- all played great defense and ran the football. And I came to see that you have to do that. I learned from some really good coaches.”
That realization led Galt to the double-wing, an offense designed to overpower opponents at the point of attack with multiple blockers.
“There’s nothing more powerful than the double-wing, and I got to know it well at Dutchtown,” Galt said. “It really is a coach’s offense, because you can do a lot of things out of it and make it work for you. We tweaked it there and know what works for us. And once the kids here (at North Forsyth) saw it worked, they bought in quick.”
The Raiders are averaging 30 points per game through their strong start -- almost a touchdown more than at the same point last season. And while North Forsyth’s biggest challenges still lie ahead, the Raiders have already busted a winless streak in Region 6-AAAAAA that lasted through all of 2012 and have raised pulses throughout the silver and black fanbase.
“Parents and fans are the most excited,” Galt said. “Just the fact that we’re playing well is a big deal. But the key is we’ve got to keep the kids humble. It’s great what we’ve done so far, but that’s not the ultimate goal.”
Those aspirations are much higher than a 4-0 start, and Galt says that he aimed high from the moment he set foot on campus in March -- despite some growing pains and the inevitable setbacks.
“There are always realizations that come into play when you take over a program, and we lost four-five players pretty quickly,” Galt said. “That’s part of the process. When there’s change there’s always going to be some pushback. But you have to have discipline and accountability, and that’s what we’ve installed.”
The group of Raiders that committed to Galt’s approach are certainly enjoying some early fruits of their labor, including a core group of talented leaders that includes senior quarterback Harris Roberts, a returning starter that has transitioned smoothly into his new responsibilities in the double-wing.
Good running backs are also a deep commodity for the Raiders, including standout junior Jamal Davenport and brothers Luke and Zach Slaton.
“Jamal runs so hard, and he’s stout at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds,” Galt said. “And the Slatons have a nose for the game. The biggest thing is that they’ve had holes because our offensive line is winning and dominating.”
The same could be said for North Forsyth’s defense, which is allowing just 8.25 points per game.
“Our defensive coordinator, Drew Fowler, I brought from Carrollton, and he was at Peach County when they won state too; he does a great job preparing our kids,” Galt said. “There are no stars on that unit, but they all fly around and hit people.”
That attitude stems in large part from the demands placed on Raider players in the weight room -- a place where Galt stresses utmost focus and commitment.
“If we see that you’re mentally tough there, it can only help you on the field,” Galt said. “If you’re not tough there, we’ll see that too. The weight room is the foundation of our program.”
That and the weekly “power hour” sessions in which Galt sets his 11-man offense against a 17-man defensive unit each Tuesday.
“It just helps establish that mindset even more and makes things tougher on our guys, so they know what to expect each Friday,” Galt said.
The way things are going, victory is also quickly becoming an expectation around North Forsyth.
LAMBERT at NORTH FORSYTH
-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
-- WHERE: Raider Valley, Coal Mountain
-- LAMBERT (1-3, 0-1 Region 6-AAAAAA): Lost to South Forsyth 21-14 last week.
-- NORTH FORSYTH (4-0, 1-0 Region 6-AAAAAA): Defeated Chattahoochee 24-6 last week.
-- HISTORY: Lambert won the last, and only previous, meeting between the two teams, 21-7 in 2012.
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