GASTONIA — The opening game of the 2013 football season for the Nation Ford Falcons looked like a prize fight between two heavyweights as the Falcons and Forestview Jaguars slugged it out, with Nation Ford converting a two-point conversion with 20.3 seconds left to win 57-56.
Falcons senior quarterback Dalton Helms hit senior Brandon Cureton for a 34-yard touchdown and Andrew Bruce converted the two-point conversion as Nation Ford came from behind to win.
Helms and sophomore wide receiver Josh Shade connected five times for 224 yards as Helms threw for 466 yards in the win, an unofficial school record. Helms went 20-39 with two interceptions and six touchdown passes.
That game went forever, said Falcons head coach Michael Allen. We beat a good football team. We knew they could score, but our offense kept coming back. The kids played their hearts out and kept fighting. In the fourth quarter, Forestview tied the game at 42 with a 37-yard field goal by kicker Colton Rouse with 8:10 left in the game.
Nation Ford went back on top with 6:46 to go in the game as senior Marcus Coleman ran in untouched from 12 yards out. Shade and Helms connected on a 34-yard pass to set up the touchdown strike.
Forestview came back to tie the game with 3:02 in the game as senior quarterback Logan Bradley took the Jaguars down the field on seven plays and ran it in from three yards out.
Nation Ford needed a big drive, but failed to pick up a first down and was forced to punt.
Forestviews junior running back Bishop Ford raced up the left side of the field on the Jaguars first play on its next drive and scored to go up for just the second time in the game at 56-49.
In this game, the beginning foreshadowed the end.
Leading 28-20 at the half, Nation Ford took the second-half kickoff and turned the ball over on an interception by Helms. That gave Forestview the momentum swing for the time being as Ford raced 58 yards for a touchdown to get the Jags back into the game on the third play of the drive to open the third quarter.
Nation Ford didnt drop its head and came right back to extend its lead as Helms hit Shade for a 72-yard score on the third play of the Falcons second drive in the third quarter.
Like the pesky gnats flying around, Forestview kept hanging around as junior Montavis Rogers would score after a seven-play drive which saw a huge run from Ford to get the Jaguars in the red zone.
Nation Ford struggled in the second half, grabbing just three first downs in the third quarter after totaling 15 in the first half. Added pressure on Helms led to him being picked off for the second time in the game giving the Jaguars good field position with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
That led to a Bradley pass to senior Mykelti Armstrong for a 31-yard touchdown which gave the Jaguars a 39-35 lead right before the fourth quarter.
Nation Ford 57, Forestview 56
Nation Ford 14;14;14;15 - 57
Forestview 7;13;19;17 - 56
NF Dalton Helms to Colt Taylor 21-yard pass (kick failed)
NF Helms to Riley Hilton 24-yard pass (2-point conversion)
F Moe Neal 85-yard kickoff return (Colton Rouse kick)
F Montavis Rogers three-yard run (kick blocked)
NF Marcus Coleman one-yard run (Lexi Dressing kick)
F Rogers one-yard run (Rouse kick)
NF Helms to Hilton five-yard pass (Dressing kick)
F Bishop Ford 58-yard run (kick failed)
NF Helms to Josh Shade 72-yard pass (Dressing kick)
F Rogers one-yard run (kick blocked)
F Logan Bradley to Mykelti Armstong 31-yard pass (Rouse kick)
NF Helms to Shade 80-yard (Dressing kick)F Rouse 37-yard field goal
NF Coleman 12-yard run (Dressing kick)
F Bradley three-yard run (Rouse kick)
F- Ford 32-yard run (Rouse kick)
NF Helms to Brandon Cureton 34-yard pass (Andrew Bruce 2-pt. conversion)
Nation Ford; ForestviewFirst downs;26;20Rushes/yards;29-174;41-284Passing;20-39-2;18-28-0Passing yards;466;173Fumbles/lost;0-0;2-0Penalties/yards;7-50;3-25
RUSHING Nation Ford: Dalton Helms 9-18, Marcus Coleman 16-135, Andrew Bruce 1-13, Keshawn McClure 3-8 . Forestview: Bishop Ford 21-187, Logan Bradley 10-59, Montavis Rogers 8-24, Isaiah Sanders 1-4, Moe Neal 1-10.
PASSING Nation Ford: Dalton Helms 20-39-2 466. Forestview: Logan Bradley 18-28-0 173.
RECEIVING Nation Ford: Josh Shade 5-224, Riley Hilton 6-72, Colt Taylor 7-102, Marcus Coleman 1-34, Brandon Cureton 1-34. Forestview: Bishop Ford 4-21, Mykelti Armstrong 4-84, Moe Neal 5-9, Caleb Mills 4-40, Isaiah Sanders 3-19.
RECORDS Nation Ford 1-0; Forestview 0-1.