South Forsyth’s defense forced a fumble at the goal line and an 80-yard touchdown run on the very next snap vaulted the War Eagles to a 24-6 victory over visiting Forsyth Central in the season opener for both teams.
South, which held a 15-6 third-quarter lead at the time of defender Eddie Mirynowski’s big play, rode a strong second half to pull away from its county rival.
And Mirynowski’s strip and quarterback Jantzen Jeffrey’s ensuing score, occurring during a dizzying 15-second span, gave the War Eagles the breathing room they needed.
“Eddie’s play changed the game,” said South head coach Jeff Arnette. “That would have made it a one-score game and the momentum would’ve been on their side.”
South’s first points of the season came on a safety from its defense midway through the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, running back Hunter Beeghley outraced the Bulldogs’ defense 68 yards for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard with 7:46 left before halftime. Quarterback Spencer Transue hit Alex Taylor on a 31-yard scoring strike.
“I can’t fault our effort,” said Central head coach Chris Bennett. “The effort was phenomenal. There were just too many little mental mistakes.”
Central (0-1 overall, 0-1 Region 7-AAAA) is off next week, then opens a two-game homestand starting Sept. 9 against defending Class AAAA state champion Chattahoochee.
South (1-0, 1-0) plays Friday at Woodland before an off date Sept. 9.
* Lambert 28, Northwest Whitfield 7
Though Lambert never trailed, the team spent most of the night in recovery mode.
The Longhorns pounced on seven fumbles — including five of their own — in a 28-7 win over Northwest Whitfield in the season opener at The Horn.
Lambert bested the Bruins in a second straight season opener, capitalizing on first-half opportunities then milking away the last two quarters.
“It comes down to turnovers,” said Lambert head coach Sid Maxwell. “We made more than our share of mistakes, but we were able to make up for them.”
The Longhorns’ offense was paced by quarterback David Broadus, who ran for one touchdown and threw for another, and running back Daniel Myers, who tallied 84 yards and one score on 14 carries.
Lambert (1-0, 1-0 Region 7-AAAA) travels to Chattahoochee on Friday.
* Woodstock 14, North Forsyth 8
WOODSTOCK — North Forsyth’s defense was solid all night, but the offense couldn’t finish off a late charge.
The Raiders closed within six points of Woodstock in the fourth quarter, but a late interception allowed the Wolverines to hold on for a 14-8 victory.
“It was tough, but I am real proud of our staff and our players,” said North head coach Blair Armstrong. “We really worked hard tonight and fought and stayed in the game. We need to execute better on offense, but it is all an evolution and tonight is another step.”
North’s defense shut out Woodstock in three of four quarters, allowing just 236 total yards to the Wolverines while forcing three fumbles and one pick.
North’s touchdown came on fourth and nine with 9:51 to go in the game. Quarterback Mitch Gutierrez (37 yards rushing, 47 yards passing) hit Branson Marks (2 catches for 26 yards) for a 29-yard score.
Next up for the Raiders (0-2) is a bye week, followed by a visit from Hillgrove on Sept. 9.
* West Forsyth 21, Harrison 13
West Forsyth used a trio of big plays to overcome an early 10-point deficit and rallied behind three touchdowns of at least 61 yards for a 21-13 victory over Harrison.
Playing at the Den, the Wolverines began their scoring in the second quarter as Lance Bellue returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
On West’s next possession, running back Blake Roberts (11 rushes, 102 yards) tore down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown and 14-10 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Wolverines’ Jake Wieczorek took a screen pass 61 yards for a touchdown.
“We tell our kids … if we’re having kind of a down day ... just keep working,” said West head coach Frank Hepler. “Things will turn our way, and [they] did. We didn’t panic, our kids didn’t panic.”
With a season-opening victory under their belt, the Wolverines (1-0) will head on the road for three games beginning Friday against Cherokee in Canton.
* George Walton 28, Pinecrest 0
Two costly Pinecrest errors helped visiting George Walton Academy defeat its old Georgia Independent School Association rival 28-0.
Both teams moved to the Georgia High School Association last year.
While the Paladins were held off the scoreboard, they remained in contention until the fourth quarter.
Pinecrest head coach Charles Wiggins praised his players’ effort.
“They come to play,” he said. “We’re not intimidated by anybody, and they’re not going to give up. That’s the character of our team.”
The Paladins (1-1) are off this week, returning Sept. 9 when they play host to Trion.
For complete coverage of all of Friday night’s action see the next editon of the Forsyth County News.