And as the dust settles on the Civil War, a 48-10 South Forsyth victory over North Forsyth, we have some truths that must be filtered through.
1) South Forsyth’s defense is the real deal. The main story line seemed to be North Forsyth’s offense vs South Forsyth’s defense. North QB Ben Bales was having a season to remember. His stats for the season going in were 21 TD to just 6 ints. After the game the line read 22 TDs to 10 ints. South intercepted him 4 times, including two pic sixes, one a 90 yard td return as North was poised to score at the end of the first half.
2) South QB Cal Morris can throw the ball down the field. It seems the South coaching staff also took something away from the film of South’s narrow victory over Milton two weeks ago. In that game, Milton stacked the box in the second half and dared South to beat them any other way than with RB Jared Honey. South didn’t adjust, going scoreless in the second half and surviving for a 21-13 win. North Coach Robert Craft said he saw the film and did in fact stuff the box to try and stop Honey. But Jeff Arnette’s staff made some adjustments, too. They unwrapped the arm of Morris. The Senior signal caller was 7/12 for 145 yds. That’s 20 yards per catch. This opened the running lanes for Honey and his running mates, who tallied 200 yards on the ground. Morris’ passes were tight and on the money, and spell trouble for defenses in the future trying to bottle up the South running game.
3) The South Forsyth forfeit to Pinecrest Academy for the use of an ineligible player, while painfully costing the team a chance at an undefeated season, will have no effect on this team moving forward. Even their biggest rivals admit that South’s move to report the error and take their lumps immediately was a classy and selfless move that removes any spectre of untoward management. They’ll still be highly ranked, which will matter less and less as the playoffs and a home opener near. And there’ no underestimating the use of the penalty as a motivational tool by Coach Jeff Arnette.
And so, on the east side of the stadium, a big, energized, enthusiastic crowd with high hopes left Raider Valley disappointed. But on the west side, the crowd that followed South Forsyth in was dancing in the bleachers as the clock ticked down. The War Eagles are 3-0 in Region 5-7A, with a home game vs Forsyth Central and a road trip to West Forsyth the remaining challenges. Here’s how the Region shapes up after Friday’s action.
1) South Forsyth 7-1 overall, 3-0 in Region 5-7A. NEXT: Home vs Forsyth Central (0-8, 03). It’s Senior Night in the Eagle’s Nest. There’s no chance for an upset. Or so you’d think. Central kept it close last week against Milton. Will it be a fine way to wrap the home season, or a gut check for one of the state’s best teams?
2) Milton 6-2 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-7A NEXT: At Lambert (2-6, 0-3) Last year’s Region champs have been offensively challenged this season. Milton’s only Region 5 loss is to South Forsyth, which puts them in solid position for second place and the second home playoff opener. Expect the Eagles to withstand a furious effort from the Longhorns to get the W.
3) West Forsyth 6-2 overall, 2-1 Region 5-7A. NEXT: at North Forsyth
Coach Shawn Cahill’s Wolverines definitely have the toughest finish of the contenders this fall, travelling to Raider Valley this week and finishing at home against South Forsyth next week. If they can top the Raiders they’ll likely come in with the third of four playoff spots for Region 5.
4) North Forsyth 5-3 overall, 2-1 in Region 5-7A. NEXT: vs West Forsyth.
North’s lone region loss is the one they suffered Friday at the hands of South forsyth, a truly disappointing shellacking after the pregame hype and ceremony. Raider Nation was sure they were poised to give South a game and maybe even steal a win, but South jumped on the emotion of the forfeiture to Pinecrest and played a nearly perfect game. These two will likely finish 3-4 in the region barring a collapse at the top. The determinator will be the winner of this contest at North Forsyth Friday night.
5) Lambert 2-6 0verall, 0-3 Region 5-7A Last season’s region champs benefitted from a late season surge and injuries to the teams they were competing against. Coach Louis Daniel’s charges won’t have that advantage this year. It doesn’t get any easier this week either as the Longhorns host a Milton squad that features the region’s leading rusher (Solomon Vanhorse, 872), and second leading passer (Jordan Yates, 1322). It’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep up with the offensive difficulties they’ve had this year, which means Milton will inch closer to the second home playoff game. Lambert still has a shot at the playoffs, although it’s a long shot. They need to beat Milton Friday, then beat Forsyth Central next week and hope Milton loses to North Forsyth at the M. You’d probably have better odds of being struck by lightning
6) Forsyth Central (0-8 overall, 0-3 Region 5-7A. We wrote here back at Fall Break that the coaching effort by Frank Hepler and his staff would be one of the best in his career if he kept this team together going into Region 5 play and didn’t let it disintegrate into the red Georgia clay. Coach Hep has done better than that. He’s gotten some great performances by several athletes, including his Senior QB Brad Thiltgen, who’s thrown for a thousand yards this season. Trouble is his TD to INT ratio is 3 to 14. But the Bulldogs to their credit have continued to battle, including a much closer than expected 17-0 loss to Milton last week, a game that was a two score contest until late in the 4th quarter. At this point in the season, however, the best thing about playoff football for Central is that it brings us that much closer to baseball season, where the Dawgs are expected to challenge for a region title.
Our game of the week Friday night will be the aforementioned Forsyth Central Bulldogs at South forsyth, where it will be the War Eagles final regular season home game and Senior night. This group of Seniors deserves special recognition as they have led this team through a harrowing schedule to a top five ranking in the state 7A Class, and an undefeated-on-the-field season, the only loss an unfortunate forfeit to Pinecrest Academy after uncovering the fact that the team played an ineligible player 3 or 4 plays in the contest. It’s without a doubt one of the finest Senior Classes in Forsyth County history.  But Coach Frank Hepler’s squad is not going to come into the Eagle’s Nest and stare in awe at the home team. This is their chance to right the ship for a lost season.  Will this be the celebration South wants, or will Central have the home fans wheezing in distress as the clock winds down? Catch the pregame at 6:30, with lots of festivities and a visit from our good friend and SFHS pregame producer Doug Thomas.  Kickoff follows at 7:30.  Don’t miss it LIVE on, and our simulcast on YouTube’s War Eagle Nation channel, with video streaming from MTech Pro Media. We promise a big time as we honor this amazing group of athletes who’ve provided our county with a glimpse of what’s to come as we grow up and play with the big boys in Georgia.