MONDAY MUSINGS FROM THE GOLDEN ARMCHAIR
I’m still catching my breath after the amazing events from last Friday night at South Forsyth’s Eagles Nest Stadium. Both teams left it all on the field in South’s thrilling come from behind 35-34 victory over North Forsyth in the 2018 Civil War. Couple that with my brother Richard Golden, the legendary Sports Freak, joining me on the call for the first and only time this season, and that could quite possibly have been the most fun I’ve ever had calling a football game. And I’ve called a bunch. Congratulations to both North Forsyth and South Forsyth, Head Coaches Robert Craft and Jeff Arnette, and the players and fans of both schools who lit up Forsyth County like it has seldom been lit up before in a first class showdown of a couple of proud football programs.
I’ve been asked more than a few times as I promoted the return of the Sports Freak: Why hasn’t Rich called more games with you this season? After all, he was the guy at my side when this all started back in 2015. He called every game with me in season one, including the playoff wins as South topped Norcross and Tucker heading to the quarterfinals. He even called the Civil War a couple seasons ago solo when I was called out of town. What happened? Back in July, Rich made a tough decision, but the right one. His son Joshua is a talented musician, and as a Freshman at West Forsyth, he’s joined the Marching Band. Family First. Rich has been following Josh’s first year and loving every minute of it. For his part, Josh is looking pretty good in uniform, and he’s performing extremely well, to the point of creating a studio at home to hone his musical talents. I’m very proud of my nephew, and proud of my brother for being there for him. So to have Rich back for even a single game was beyond thrilling for me.
And what a game! North Forsyth came in with every bit of the attitude of their namesakes, the Raiders. Their defense pounded the gaps, stuffing the rushing attack of Jordan Brunson and Drew Morris. Offensively, the hype of the return of Senior Running Bryson Trigg was not over hype. Trigg rant over, around and through the War Eagles’ defense en route to a hundred yard first half. His 59 yard touchdown reception of a sweet screen pass from his quarterback Chase Mullikin helped the Raiders to a 24-10 halftime lead. A Raider field goal midway through the third quarter made it 27-10, and South was looking for a way to stop the bleeding. South then began to work from the spread formation and found the endzone, making the score 27-17 and the near sideline was again noisy. But seconds later, another Mullikin to Trigg screen pass resulted in another beautiful play, this time a 79 yard touchdown for North, and it got quiet again. Time was dwindling down. When a 65 yard run by South’s Brunson to the North 10 yard line was called back for holding, the groans could be heard all the way up in Blue Ridge. The War Eagles settled for the field goal. 34-20. On the sideline, South’s Defensive Coordinator Trevor Williams gathered his squad together and told them they were pulling out the stops. Pressure on every play, force some mistakes, get the ball back. They held and forced a North punt. Meanwhile, Offensive Coordinator Troy Morris knew he had to loosen the defense that had been so stifling. Morris stayed with the spread on the ensuing drive, completing a few passes out of the formation. That opened up a little room and led to a touchdown. A two point conversion later and it was a six point game, 34-28. Coach Arnette was thinking the next series could decide it if they could keep the Raiders off the board. On the next series South’s defense came roaring out, but they had a little help. Both teams had been plagued by mistakes all night. In fact, South suffered no less than EIGHT false starts. A holding penalty and a false start pushed North back, and South’s pressure forced two incompletions and another punt. The next South possession belonged to the running game, as South pounded away for first down after first down. Brunson’s six yard touchdown run with two minutes left tied it, and with the extra point just squeaking through, South had is first lead of the game, 35-34. You could hear the stadium rumbling from the booth. But had South left too much time on the clock? A North field goal would win it. In the end, pressure, pressure and more pressure led to a sack on 4th down and the victory formation for the War Eagles, who won their sixth straight in the rivalry. And the moment was a picture captured in time. One of the best games ever. Too bad somebody had to come up on the short end. North Forsyth performed brilliantly. No reason to hang their heads. They forced South over and over again to begin their possession at their own 20 yard line. They did everything they could. But South Forsyth never quit. And they ended up on top in an all timer.
If you missed the last post and you want to relive the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, catch the replay, featuring the return of the Sports Freak, HERE:
South Forsyth improves to 5-3 overall, 2-1 in Region 5 – 7A, and an inch closer to a home field playoff game. North falls to 3-5 overall, 1-2 in Region 5 – 7A. North next matches up with West Forsyth, who upset Forsyth Central to improve to 2-1 in the region. South travels to the inner city to play Central, now at 1-2 in the region after that tough loss, their second in a row. The Bulldogs have scored 3 points in their last 8 quarters. A win by West and South would set up the finale between the two November 2nd at South for the second home playoff game, assuming Milton doesn’t fall to pieces in their final two games against Lambert at home and North in Raider Valley. Odds are Milton will go into the playoffs the #1 seed out of Region 5 at 6-0. Wins by either Central or North or both will just send everything into a mixing bowl and who knows what would come out of it?
Our Game of the Week Friday night will be at Forsyth Central, where the vastly improved Bulldogs will host South Forsyth, looking for a win to put each team at 2-2 in the region going into the final week. A win by South would improve them to 3-1 and reward the War Eagles with the inside track to the second home playoff game for Region 5. Join me and Doug Thomas on the call starting at 7 from the Dog House, where we’ll ask Doug what happened to his Buckeyes at Purdue. “Just sayin”, said the Michigan fan. 🙂
As always, thanks for logging on to Forsyth Sports 365!!