Archer celebrates after defeating North Forsyth 34-7 in the first-round of Class AAAAAA state playoffs in Lawrenceville Friday. Lead by Archer’s Robbie Armstrong (5) the Tigers “break it down” in a chant. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
LAWRENCEVILLE — Archer went three-and-out on its first series of Friday’s state playoff football game.
Maybe the Tigers had a little rust from a bye last week. Or maybe they were a little nervous from hosting their first playoff game.
They shook those jitters pretty quickly.
Archer scored on three of its next five possessions and rolled to a 34-7 win, its first ever in the postseason, over North Forsyth in the Class AAAAAA playoffs.
“Our week off showed a little bit. We weren’t ourself early on,” Archer head coach Andy Dyer said. “Our defense kept us in it. You have to play great defense when you get in the playoffs.”
The Tigers will host North Gwinnett (10-1) in next week’s second-round playoff game. It’s a rematch of the 2011 playoffs, when North Gwinnett won 49-3.
“They’ve got an outstanding football team,” Dyer said. “We think we have a pretty good team, too.”
Archer (11-0) is in its fifth year and went undefeated through the regular season to claim the Region 8-AAAAAA championship. The Tigers are the only undefeated team in Class AAAAAA, but they didn’t look that way early in the game.
“You play 10 games in a row and then you have a week off. It’s hard to simulate that,” Dyer said.
Quarterback Gabe Tiller completed his first nine passes and was 16 of 19 passing for 152 yards with three touchdowns. K.J. Parmer caught four passes for 54 yards and Dylan Singleton had four catches for 30 yards, including a 12-yard TD catch.
Randy Nails was the game’s leading rusher with 102 yards and one touchdown.
Archer’s defense made three stops on fourth down in the red zone and forced three turnovers. Quinn Miller and Chad Bird had interceptions and Dylan recovered a fumble. Miller led the defense with eight tackles, while Singleton had five and Duane Lee had five and a sack.
The Tigers’ defense allowed 225 yards and only three big plays — a 31-yard pass on a fake punt, a 26-yard run and a 48-yard touchdown pass.
“We didn’t play quite like we wanted to. We didn’t get the shutout like we wanted,” Archer linebacker Duane Lee said.
North Forsyth (7-4) reached the Archer red zone three times, but couldn’t score. The Raiders used a fake punt to keep their drive alive on the opening possession, but the Archer defense forced a field goal attempt. A bad snap on the field goal attempt gave Archer the ball.
The Tigers went 63 yards on six plays and Nails scored on a 10-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Archer’s Lee hit North Forsyth’s Cody Gottberg as he was throwing and Miller intercepted the pass. That set up Tiller’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Singleton and after the PAT failed led 13-0.
Gottberg was 2 of 8 for 79 yards with two interceptions and one TD.
North Forsyth recovered an Archer fumble at the 18, but the Tigers’ defense came up with another stop on fourth down.
The Tigers offense got the ball with 3:02 left in the half and turned in an 84-yard scoring drive. Tiller completed four passes on the drive and Singleton scored his second TD on two-yard run to put the Tigers ahead 20-0 at the half.
Archer scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 23-yard touchdown catch by Kyle Davis.
Bird’s interception at the 18 set up Connor Redmond’s four-yard TD catch to put the Tigers ahead 34-0 with 9:22 left in the game.
North Forsyth’s biggest play of the game was a 48-yard touchdown pass by Gottberg to Zach Slaton with 5:38 left in the game do erase the shutout.
“I just wanted the win,” Dyer said.
ARCHER 34, NORTH FORSYTH 7
North Forsyth 0 0 0 7 — 34
Archer 7 13 0 14 — 34
Archer: Randy Nails 10 run (Michael Frye kick) 3:25
Archer: Dylan Singleton 12 pass from Gabe Tiller (kick failed) 9:52
Archer: Singleton 2 run (Frye kick) :29
Archer: Kyle Davis 23 pass from Tiller (Frye kick) 11:53
Archer: Connor Redmond 4 pass from Tiller (Frye kick) 9:22
North Forsyth: Zach Slaton 48 pass from Cody Gottberg (Joseph Bailey kick) 5:38
NF --- Archer
First downs 9 --- 15
Rushes-yards 42-146 --- 29-164
Comp-Att-Int 2-8-2 --- 16-19-0
Passing yards 79 --- 152
Penalties-yards 4-20 --- 2-15
Fumbles-lost 1-1 --- 2-1
RUSHING — North Forsyth: Payton Holbrooks 8-26; Zach Slaton 12-29; Cody Gottberg 10-17; Noah Bieber 3-13; Jamal Davenport 7-49; Trey Wagner 2-12. Archer: Gabe Tiller 8-35; Randy Nails 13-102; Kyle Davis 1-6; K.J. Parmer 1-3; Dylan Singleton 1-2; Lawrence McCullough 3-13; Blake Woods 2-3.
PASSING — North Forsyth: Gottberg 2-8-2, 79. Archer: Tiller 16-19-0, 152.
RECEIVING — North Forsyth: Matther Ciancolo 1-31; Zach Slaton 1-48. Archer: K.J. Parmer 4-54; Dylan Singleton 4-30, Randy Nails 3-17; Connor Redmond 2-15; Kyle Davis 2-30; Austin Arnold 1-6.