No quit in top-ranked North Forsyth boys

Raiders take pride in complete-game efforts

If there’s one thing to know about the North Forsyth Raiders, it’s that they don’t quit.

Under second-year coach Chad Whitlow, the Raiders (11-1) are working to build on the winning culture he installed last season, and the results thus far have been ideal. They’re ranked No. 1 in 5A-6A heading into Tuesday’s Area 3 opener at No. 8 Alpharetta (10-2, 2-0).

Against Creekview in February, they fell behind 4-1, but rallied to win 13-10. Even in their only loss to Marietta Friday, they fell behind 5-1 and rallied to force overtime, falling short 15-14. In most cases, they don’t have to rally. They beat 7A’s No. 10 Mountain View 15-3, 5A-6A’s No. 9 Chattahoochee 17-8, and A-4A’s top-ranked East Forsyth 18-4 and No. 10 Hebron Christian 12-4.

“We play four quarters,” Whitlow said. “There’ve been some games where we fell behind early, but I’m proud of the way our guys fight. They enjoy playing together, and they play selflessly. We look at it as one goal, one family, and we’re trying to win as many games as possible and be the best we can be.”

The Raiders are led by senior attack Brayden Cifreo’s 37 goals, followed by junior attack Logan Martucci (35), senior midfielder Bob Dennis (34) and sophomore attack Emory Dennis (33). Senior midfielder Devin Goelz has an 81% win percentage on face offs. The defense is led by senior Chase Goelz and senior keeper Matthew Adkins, who has a 65% save percentage.

In addition to Alpharetta, the Raiders play two other ranked opponents in 5A-6A’s No. 5 Sequoyah on April 9, and A-4A’s No. 5 Whitefield Academy on April 16. In total, they have five remaining games, with their regular season closing April 18 at home against Lanier (3-8, 1-1).

Whitlow said the plan is to stay the course in these final regular season games.

“We want t o keep doing what we’ve been doing all year,” Whitlow said. “Play all four quarters, play for the guy next to you, and play selflessly, as a unit, on both sides of the ball. We’re excited for the challenge of playing more ranked teams.”

The Raiders will look to make a run in this year’s playoffs after a first-round exit last year, and Whitlow said that starts with an area title. Should they clinch the No. 1 seed, they’ll host at least the first two rounds. The Raiders are undefeated at home this season.

“We’ve yet to lose in our home stadium and we feel like we have an advantage when we play at Raider Valley,” Whitlow said. “Our goal is to host in the first round, and we’re excited for the opportunity to play for that. We’ve improved every game, every week and we’ve battled through a lot of tough games. We’re hoping for a deep playoff run.”