JOHNS CREEK — Seven turnovers and the first shutout in school history may have cost seventh-ranked Lambert a region title Friday night.
Johns Creek capitalized for a 23-0 home victory, recovering three fumbles and intercepting quarterback David Broadus three times.
“[Johns Creek] had a really good game plan, and we just didn’t execute like we’re supposed to tonight,” said Broadus (12-of-28 for 133 yards passing). “Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way, and tonight, it didn’t bounce for us.”
The Gladiators, Longhorns and Chattahoochee now form a three-way tie for first place in Region 7-AAAA with one loss apiece. Should all three teams go unbeaten the rest of the way, the region championship could be decided by a third or fourth tiebreaker.
Lambert fumbles on its first two plays from scrimmage led to 10 first-quarter points for Johns Creek (6-1, 6-1 region). Running back Daniel Myers (78 yards on 15 carries) coughed it up on the Longhorns’ first snap, and Kyle Fowler hit a 42-yard field goal moments later.
A botched kickoff return set up the Longhorns (5-1, 5-1) at their own five-yard line, where wingback Brock Maxwell rushed around right end and fumbled straight into the hands of Gladiators defensive back Jack Pomerantz.
Running back Chase Solomon (53 yards on 16 carries) scored one of his two rushing touchdowns the next play on a sweep right to make it 10-0.
Johns Creek quarterback Skye Overton (8-for-10 passing, 107 yards, 39 yards rushing on 12 carries) hit slot receiver Matt Azemar on a go route for a 69-yard touchdown pass on the Gladiators’ first possession of the second half.
It would be a night to remember for Azemar, who picked off Broadus twice.
The Horns actually gained 20 more yards of offense than Johns Creek (239-219), making the giveaways loom even larger.
Lambert will look to rebound at home next Friday against Woodland (Bartow).
Forsyth Central 28, Cass 0
Central recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and shattered a scoreless tie with 22 points in the third quarter, keying a 28-0 victory over Cass at home.
“We thought we left some points on the field in the first half,” Central head coach Chris Bennett said. “Our defense played phenomenal [and] the turnover right there at the beginning of [the third quarter] was ... a huge momentum swing.”
Central (2-4 overall, 2-4 Region 7-AAAA) was on the Colonels’ side of the field three times in the first half but lost a fumble inside the 5-yard line and missed a 48-yard field goal.
A hit by Lyle Caballes popped the ball loose when Central kicked off to begin the third quarter, allowing Robert Curry to leap up and snag it at the Cass 30-yard line. Running back J.T. Locke scored moments later to make it 7-0.
The Bulldogs (241 yards rushing) also got two rushing touchdowns from Alex Taylor and one from quarterback Spencer Transue (5-of-10, 108 passing yards).
Cass (0-7, 0-7) quarterback Nate Short completed 13 of his 26 pass attempts for 191 passing yards but was picked off twice. The Colonels finished with 10 rushing yards on 15 attempts.
Central is home again this Friday, hosting Northwest Whitfield on homecoming night.
West Forsyth 39, Northview 22
West blew open a scoreless game with a 26-point second-quarter barrage, racing to a 26-7 halftime lead on the way to a 39-22 homecoming victory over Northview at The Den.
Junior running back Jake Wieczorek scored three touchdowns during the surge, and junior quarterback A.J. Erdely passed for 89 of his 181 yards in the quarter. West finished with 469 yards of total offense, 252 coming in the 12 minutes before halftime.
“Everybody worked hard in practice this week, and we came together and executed,” said Wieczorek, who rushed for 70 yards on seven carries and caught three passes for 58 yards.
One week after suffering its first loss of the season at Alpharetta, the Wolverines (6-1, 2-1 Region 6-AAAAA) remained in second place in the region standings, one game behind Alpharetta.
Northview fell to 2-5 and 1-2 in region play.
Creekview 28, South Forsyth 23
CANTON — Key defensive plays made the difference in the second half, as Creekview eked out a 28-23 win over South at The Grizzly Den.
The victory ended the Grizzlies' (2-5, 2-5 Region 7-AAAA) five-game losing streak.
Two touchdown saving tackles by Creekview in the second half, coupled with an interception return for a touchdown, ultimately made the difference.
Trailing 21-17 in the third quarter, War Eagles quarterback Jantzen Jeffrey (182 yards passing, 102 yards rushing) connected with Brandon Fehr (3 receptions, 85 yards receiving). Fehr took off and looked clear to score, but Creekview’s Zach Henson made a diving tackle to prevent a touchdown and the War Eagles failed to score on the possession.
The Grizzlies’ second touchdown saving tackle came in the fourth quarter.
Now facing a 28-17 deficit, South (2-4, 2-4) was looking to narrow the gap when Jeffrey took off running and looked to have a wide-open field.
But Creekview’s Riley Davis found another gear and caught Jeffrey from behind and once again, the War Eagles failed to score on the possession.
South eventually added a late fourth quarter score on a one-yard run by Isaiah Williams to get within five points, but the two-point conversion attempted failed, and Creekview's offense ran out the clock to end the game.
Davis finished with 156 yards receiving and a touchdown. He also grabbed an interception and ran it back 31 yards for a touchdown to give the Grizzlies a 28-17 lead.
For all the latest in Forsyth County sports, follow sports writer Phil Ervin on Twitter @PhilErvin_FCN.