The Bulldogs came into the game searching for their first win of the season, while the Colonels sought to end their slide, having dropped three straight contests and four of their last five.
In the end, Cass (3-4 overall, 3-4 Region 7-AAAA) used a high-powered spread offense and a pair of critical Forsyth Central turnovers in the second half to post a 30-10 victory to stop its skid.
"Every time we'd score and get to within one score of Cass, we'd make a mistake," said Forsyth Central head coach Chris Bennett. "I'm proud of our effort, but we have to stop making mistakes at critical times."
Cass took a 14-3 lead into halftime following a pair of short touchdown runs by Jay Stephens, but Central (0-6, 0-6) -- which had played just one team with a losing record in its first five games -- didn't go away quietly.
The Bulldogs got a 30-yard field goal from freshman Anel Ramic on the final play of the first half, then got a stop on the Colonels' first possession of the second half and marched 80 yards in 10 plays to score on a 31-yard pass from Spencer Transue to Lyle Caballes. Ramic's extra point got Forsyth Central back to within 14-10 with 5:28 to go in the third quarter.
Cass responded by going 61 yards in five plays to re-establish a two-score lead. Quarterback Elijah Windom -- who was 4-for-5 on the drive -- hooked up with Jozell Payne on a 35-yard touchdown pass, and Guadalupe Rangel's extra point increased the Colonels' advantage, 21-10, with 3:40 remaining in the quarter.
Central moved the ball on its next possession, but a fumble at the Cass 29-yard line stopped the Bulldogs' momentum cold. After forcing Cass to punt the ball, the Bulldogs started from their own 20-yard line. But on their fourth play from scrimmage, Albert Catron stepped in front of a Transue pass and returned the interception 45 yards for a touchdown as Cass extended its lead to 28-10 with 8:28 left in the game.
Cass got its last points on a safety with 3:18 to go after a Windom punt was downed inside the Bulldogs' 1-yard line and the Colonels stopped Central's Alex Taylor in the end zone on the next play.
Cass rolled up 368 yards of offense and 19 first downs in the game. Windom was 17-for-32 through the air for 226 yards and one touchdown, along with one interception. He also had 48 yards on eight carries and Michael Sanders had 13 carries for 90 yards for the Colonels. Stephens had five catches for 76 yards and Sanders added four catches for 24 yards in the win, as six different Cass receivers caught passes.
"We didn't just win ... we played well. We played with intensity and inspiration tonight," said Cass head coach Rick Casko.
"When we answered Forsyth Central's score with one of our own, it was so big. We showed our character and were able to finish the game at a high level."
For Central, Transue finished the game 19-for-29 for 229 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Jeremy Kovach was his main target, grabbing four passes for 86 yards, while Caballes had four catches for 43 yards and a score.
Transue hit seven different receivers in the game. Taylor led Forsyth Central's rushers with 29 yards on 16 carries.
"We're competing, but we just need that spark to get us over the hump," said Bennett. "People talk about how a win cures all ills and we'll get that win as long as our kids keep working hard and doing what they're doing."
Central makes the long road trip to Tunnel Hill to face Northwest Whitfield (1-5, 1-5) on Friday.
SCORING BY QUARTER
1 2 3 4 F
FCE 0 3 7 0 10
CAS 7 7 7 9 30
CAS -- Jay Stephens 2-yd run (Guadalupe Rangel kick)
CAS -- Stephens 2-yd run (Rangel kick)
FCE -- Anel Ramic 30-yd FG
FCE -- Lyle Caballes 31-yd pass from Spencer Transue (Ramic kick)
CAS -- Jozell Payne 35-yd pass from Elijah Windom (Rangel kick)
CAS -- Albert Catron 45-yd interception return (Rangel kick)
CAS -- Safety