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THE BUZZ: Football and tragedy on minds of local students
TheBuzz web
"Buzzmakers" from six local high schools share what's happening around their campus in this new print and video series. Pictured, back row from left: South Forsyth's Erin Loggins, North Forsyth's Alli Prater, West Forsyth's Dori Butler and Lambert's Kevin Lee. Pictured, front row from left: Pinecrest Academy's Caitlin Randazza, Forsyth Central's Erica Fried and Pinecrest Academy's Dani Quintana.

Our new weekly print and video series - presented by Lanier Technicial College - where local high school students share “The Buzz” about what’s going on at their school - and compete for the most “buzzworthy” moment of the week.

Tell us who should win by sharing your thoughts with us on Twitter (@forsythnews). See the results in Friday’s paper and on

Erica Fried, Forsyth Central

Central football celebrated its first opening win this past Friday against Dawson County. Ironically, our last season-opening win was in 2002 against Dawson. Due to the offensive line, Shaun Deibel shined Friday night running for 189 yards and three touchdowns. Sabrian Howard had a 73-yard touchdown run. The defense was solid only letting up one touchdown late in the fourth quarter. After the game, the entire student section stormed the field and celebrated our team on their 27-7 win.

Kevin Lee, Lambert

The loss of a former South Forsyth student, Michael Gatto, was felt county-wide last week. Losing a teenager at such a young age makes me sick to my stomach and I send my deepest regards to his family his friends. The great part about the community we live in is Forsyth County bands together in times of tragedy and our county turns into one big family. It’s great to see everyone get past rivalries to help support a school and community in need. Michael was a great kid and there’s no doubt in my mind that his impact on our community will live on forever. Rest in Peace.

Alli Prater, North Forsyth

The North Forsyth drama program held auditions for their play based off of the 2002 movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio, "Catch Me If You Can." Brody Grant will star as Frank Abignale Jr., Jason Gardner will play Frank Abignale Sr., and Alexandria Bagwell will portray Paula Abignale. Be sure to come out and support Troupe 5368 on December 4-6. Go Raiders!

Caitlin Randazza, Dani Quintana, Pinecrest Academy

The Pinecrest Paladins football team defeated North Springs with a 21-14 victory – a great way to start off the season! This was the first time the Paladins had faced a team above Class AAA. The three touchdowns were made by Mitchell Ojeda, Adam Guard and Matthew Walters. Coach Todd Winter was undoubtedly proud of his team as he spoke to them at the end stating, "We kept battling, and battling and battling." The student body was pumped for the game as they decked in tropical gear for this week’s theme "Tropic Like Its Hot." Way to go Paladins!

Erin Loggins, South Forsyth

As many of you may already know, South lost one of its own this week. Michael Gatto graduated last year from South. Gatto was the true definition of a War Eagle. Throughout his high school career he was not only an outstanding student but also was not scared to show his pride in the War Eagles. You probably remember him in the stands every Friday night with his face painted and cheering his heart out. You also would never see him without a smile on his face. Friday morning over 300 people gathered at War Eagle stadium to pray for Michael and his family. Michael, you will always have a place in the stands and in our hearts. You will never be forgotten. Rest easy. Everyone please take a moment to pray for Michael’s family and friends during this time.

Dori Butler, West Forsyth

Scoring in the first 10 seconds of our first home football game Friday seemed to be the culmination of a week’s worth of spirit built up in the student section, a.k.a. the Gulo Gang. Banners posted throughout the hallways, T-shirts donning the Gulo Gang emblem sold and worn every day and the pre-game tailgate featuring an impressive crowd of neon-wearing, adrenaline-pulsing students. Our school spirit blazed in every conversation and corner of the school, and it made an impact. In addition to a new spirit standard, West also has a newly appointed head football coach, Adam Clack. Wanting to be "ready to go that first game" made Clack set conditioning over the summer as a major priority, "We ramped [conditioning] up a little bit over the summer, so I guess you’ll have to ask the guys about if they liked that," he joked. He also said that the spirit in a school is a huge factor in the football players’ experiences. "We do it as coaches because we remember the experience we had and we want these guys to have the best experience they can have," Clack said. "It makes every message that we’re trying to get across better when it’s a collective group, and we’re just trying to get that [school spirit] to be a more consistent thing." West may have lost to Mill Creek on Friday when it came to points, but our student section taught theirs a lesson when it came to energy and school spirit.