Forsyth Central forced Rome turnovers at three critical points in the game and capitalized each time, keying a 29-20 home victory.
“This was a big win for our program,” said Central head coach Chris Bennett said. “[Rome] was a playoff team ... last year. Our kids did a great job on both sides of the ball.”
Central never trailed in the game.
The Bulldogs recovered a fumble on Rome’s 18-yard line late in the first quarter, setting up an 11-yard Shay Hollis (24 carries, 75 yards rushing, 2 TD) scoring run.
Rome struck back to tie it, but later saw a high snap sail over the punter and out of the end zone for a safety that put Central back on top 9-7.
Hollis tacked on his second touchdown of the night with a 1-yard run with 2:05 left in the first half, extending the lead to 15-7.
“We had a great week of practice and they’ve worked so hard,” Bennett said. “I told our kids that we won this game on Tuesday.”
Next up for Central (1-2) is a visit Friday to Cartersville to face Woodland.
* Lambert 48, South Forsyth 7
Visiting Lambert scored three touchdowns in the first 4 ½ minutes of the third quarter en route to a 48-7 victory over South Forsyth.
The Longhorns gained 416 yards of offense to the War Eagles’ 115, and the Lambert defense was nearly flawless against its county rival.
After Lambert took a 14-0 lead into the break, back Brock Maxwell (125 yards on six carries, 51 yards on three receptions) took a pitch around the right side for an 80-yard score on the Longhorns’ first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Defensive end Glen Minor stripped quarterback Jantzen Jeffrey (2-for-8, 10 yards passing, 25 yards on 10 rushes) on South’s initial snap, and fellow end Jacob Kinder fell on the ball at the War Eagles’ 14 yard-line.
Two plays later, Maxwell went in untouched on an option play, giving Lambert (4-0, 4-0 Region 7-AAAA) a 28-0 lead.
South (1-2, 1-2) then put together its lone response of the night. Mike Hovanetz brought back the ensuing kickoff to Lambert’s 44, running back Hunter Beeghley ran off right tackle for a 42-yard gain, and fullback Isaiah Williams punched it in from two yards out for the War Eagles’ first ever points against Lambert.
But Maxwell shot back by returning South’s kickoff to the 50-yard line, and Horns quarterback David Broadus (8-for-12 passing for 136 yards, 100 yards rushing on 11 carries) scored four plays later on a 40-yard keeper to make it 35-7 with 8:49 left in the third quarter.
South travels to Cartersville on Friday to face Cass, while Lambert will has a bye week before facing Forsyth Central at home on Sept. 30.
* West Forsyth 28, Rockmart 6
ROCKMART — Big yardage by West Forsyth spoiled homecoming for Rockmart in a 28-6 victory.
West out-ran the Yellow Jackets, picking up 198 yards on the ground compared to their 43.
The Wolverines were led by Blake Roberts’ 154 yards rushing on 18 carries and three touchdowns.
“Anytime you get a victory it’s good, but [a long road trip] is something we needed to experience,” said West head coach Frank Hepler.
“When they came to us last year we knew the next year was going to be a good learning experience for us.”
After three straight weeks on the road, West (4-0) begins its Region 6-AAAAA schedule this week at home against Centennial.
* Etowah 44, North Forsyth 0
CANTON — Any hangover from Etowah’s recent slump was long gone at halftime Friday night against North Forsyth.
The Eagles put an emphatic end to their recent struggles, forcing five turnovers and blanking the Raiders 44-0 to snap a two-game losing streak.
They led 38-0 at intermission behind four touchdowns — two rushing and two passing — from quarterback John Oliver and a 70-yard interception return for a score by Ben Rowell.
The Eagles held the Raiders to just 74 yards of offense. North Forsyth was shut out for the second straight game and was unable to capitalize on four Etowah lost fumbles.
“They played fast and hard,” said North head coach Blair Armstrong. “They played by far the best game I’ve seen. We just haven’t played our game yet.”
The Raiders (0-4) welcome Roswell to Coal Mountain on Friday in their Region 6-AAAAA opener.
* Mount Pisgah 35, Pinecrest 3
ALPHARETTA — The Pinecrest Paladins have gone as far as their defense has taken them in the young 2011 season.
But while that pattern held true at Mount Pisgah’s Savior Field, the defense wasn’t the stingy unit that allowed the Paladins to squeeze out wins in two of their first three.
Rather, Pinecrest was gashed by Pisgah’s balanced attack, giving up 442 total yards in a 35-3 defeat to open the Region 5A North slate.
“Tonight Mount Pisgah played great,” said Pinecrest head coach Charles Wiggins. “When we don’t play defense like we did, we’re going to lose.”
The Paladins got on the board when Christopher Birozes hit a 38-yard field goal early in the second quarter to cap a 12-play drive. But that was as close as they would get.
Pinecrest fell to 2-2 overall, with a tough home game Friday against Holy Innocents, which upset No. 8 Wesleyan 14-0 to win its region opener.
For complete coverage of all the games, see the next edition of the Forsyth County News.