Friday night was a mixed bag for local high school football teams, as two of the four Forsyth squads in action recorded big region victories, with South Forsyth taking down Cass at home and West Forsyth blowing out Centennial in north Fulton.
On the other hand, North Forsyth fell in the Raiders' region opener at Roswell, while Forsyth Central suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to Woodland of Bartow County at home.
Pinecrest Academy was set to take on Holy Innocents in north Atlanta Saturday night.
Lambert had the week off.
West Forsyth 43, Centennial 7
ROSWELL - If West Forsyth's players were looking to send a message to Region 6-AAAAA Friday, the other teams might not be happy to hear what they had to say.
The Wolverines started life in their new region by making big plays in all three phases of the game, spoiling Centennial's homecoming with a dominating 43-7 victory.
Blake Roberts was the workhorse for West (4-1 overall, 1-0 region). The junior didn't score on the night, but ended up with 101 yards on 15 carries, most of them earned right up the middle while fighting through tackles.
"[This game said] that we're here in the region. We're here to play. We're not backing down or anything. We're a strong team this year. We're clicking as a team, and we're going to keep it moving. We're going to keep it rolling," Roberts said.
On the other side of the ball, West's defense made life much easier for the offense with two fumble recoveries, an interception and a first quarter safety against the Knights (2-3, 0-1).
Recovered turnovers, solid field position and a big 53-yard return on special teams for Ethan Shirley in the first quarter resulted in five West possessions starting past midfield.
"It's three phases of a game. Sometimes you can watch a team and say 'Oh, they're great because of their offense,' but it's three phases no matter how you look at it," Wolverines coach Frank Hepler said.
"The defense does have to set up the offense from time to time and the special teams has to set up the offense, and I thought we did do that well tonight."
West is home Friday to take on Alpharetta.
South Forsyth 31, Cass 7
After last week's shutout loss to county and Region 7-AAAA rival Lambert, the War Eagles were back on cloud nine Friday night.
In what South coach Jeff Arnette called the best game of the season, the hosts rushed for 305 total yards and demolished Cass 31-7 at War Eagle Field.
"What a game, what a game," said an excited Arnette as he received postgame congratulations. "We played so good tonight, so good. Holy cow, it was just flawless out there."
South's Brett Charron rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and Joe Outlaw's 91 yards receiving included a 58-yard score. On the other side, the Colonels (2-3 overall, 2-3 Region 7-AAAA) managed just 20 yards rushing and six first downs, with quarterback Elijah Windom sacked six times.
"The boys did exactly what we asked them to do," said Arnette. "It was just a big win for
South (3-1, 3-1) travels to Sequoyah next week for another crucial regional head-to-head.
Roswell 38, North Forsyth 17
ROSWELL - North Forsyth's upset bid against Roswell was within reach Friday night, with the Raiders holding a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter.
The Hornets came alive from that point on, though, scoring 31 unanswered points in a 14-minute stretch to sting the Raiders 38-17.
"We had momentum at the end of the first half," North head coach Jared Zito said. "We just did not bring the same focus level out in the second half and it hurt us. We have got to do a better job of playing the whole game with the same intensity we had in the first half."
It was the Roswell (2-3 overall, 1-0 Region 6-AAAAA) passing attack that really did the damage to North late, as Hornet quarterback J.P. Douglas threw for 179 of his 191 yards in the second half - including 133 in the fourth quarter alone.
North (1-4, 0-1) will try to rebound on the road at Northview Friday.
Woodland 36, Forsyth Central 35 (OT)
Back and forth for four quarters and then some Friday night, Forsyth Central's search for a victory came down to one final play.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the last moment belonged to Woodland.
Quarterback Ashton Shelton sprinted in on a two-point conversion run in overtime, allowing the Wildcats to hand the Bulldogs a bitter 36-35 loss at the Dawg Pound.
"I'm at a loss for words," said Central junior running back Alex Taylor, whose 204 yards rushing and four touchdowns couldn't mask the pain of such a close loss. "We played our hearts out."
In the end, it was almost enough to win a game where both teams came in looking for their first victory. Before it ended, the Bulldogs (0-4 overall, 0-4 Region 7-AAAA) and Wildcats (1-4, 1-4) had combined for 679 yards of total offense. There were four lead changes, a tie, three touchdown runs of 60-plus yards, and a 40-yard field goal attempt that bounced off the upright with time expiring in regulation, plus overtime.
In the words of Central coach Chris Bennett: "It was the type of game you hate to see anybody lose."
The Bulldogs play host to Lambert Friday night at the Dawg Pound.