By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Pigskin primer
Bulldogs, War Eagles hone play in scrimmage
FC vs SF FBscrimmage 1 es
South Forsyth's Brett Charron tries to jump over a tackle from Forsyth Central's Denver Franks in the early going of a scrimmage Friday night. The regular season starts Friday. - photo by Emily Saunders
Scrimmage or not, this one felt like it mattered.

Cheerleaders with large homemade signs, the War Eagle band and a packed house of spectators set the stage as Forsyth Central and South Forsyth renewed the county's oldest rivalry in a preseason meeting at War Eagle Field Friday night.

The top varsity players pounded away for two quarters, with South and Central each getting equal possession time under the scrimmage rules. The War Eagles blanked the Bulldogs 21-0 in that stretch, before halftime yielded to overtime simulations and opportunities for backups, freshmen and junior varsity players to take the field with no score kept.

"You know, it's a crosstown rivalry and all that kind of thing, but it was a very controlled scrimmage and I think [Central] did some good things, they really did," South coach Wendell Early said.

"They exposed a couple things for us that we really have to look at, both offensively and defensively. Coach [Chris] Bennett and his guys, they work hard at it and I think they're going to be fine. They're going to be good."

Bennett said it was a mixed verdict for him after watching the action.

"We saw some good things. We saw a lot of bad things. We've got some things to work on. The best thing about tonight is nobody got hurt, I don't think, on either side. Coach Early's done a great job with those guys. We got kids on film, we need to go watch it this weekend and make some corrections," Central's coach said.

"We had spurts where we did some good things. Our effort was great. We had some mental mistakes, and we're going to fix that this weekend and next week."

South opened the game by controlling the ball for six consecutive minutes under the rules, and scored twice during that stretch. The opening drive went 70 yards in 13 plays, with starting quarterback Brian Adams running 11 yards for a score on fourth down.

Adams racked up 107 total yards with his arm and legs in just about a quarter of work, running for two touchdowns.

South's ensuing possession lasted two plays, with backup Nick Belyew hitting receiver David Knorr on consecutive passes to cover 50 yards and notch another score.

Early seemed happy with the performance of his quarterbacks across the board afterward.

"Both Brian and Nick did a great job and even our sophomore, [JV quarterback] Joe Outlaw, really ran the offense well in his quarter," the coach said.

Early made it clear that he sees Belyew — who threw for 131 yards playing for roughly a quarter — as an important part of the offense and not just a backup.

"Nick's going to play a lot, he really is. Nick can run the offense, he did a very good job. He's just a 10th-grader, but he's a very talented, very poised youngster and I tell you what, right know if Joe Outlaw had to go in the game, I wouldn't bat an eyelash."

South added another score during its half of the second quarter, with Adams running 29 yards to finish off a 70-yard march that only lasted two plays.

Central ended up with a punt and a missed field goal on its two full possessions in the first quarter. A lost fumble and a missed fourth-down conversion were how the Bulldogs' two complete second-quarter possessions ended.

Some bursts of optimism came from running backs Phillip Ray and Michael Gravitt, who gave the Dawgs a combined 71 yards on the ground in the first half.

"They had spurts and we've got to be more consistent," Bennett said. "Of course, that starts up front with the quarterback and it goes all the way back. We've just got to be a little more consistent than that."

Early said the night confirmed to him that he's on the right track bringing in a spread-oriented attack as a new coach, and that he has the personnel to run it effectively.

"I think this is the right offense for us, we've just go to get better at it. ... I think what we did is we kind of proved to ourselves that we can run this thing. You know, we go against our defense every day in practice and it's brutal. They have absolutely caved our heads in sometimes."

Friday night marks the start of real action, with both teams on the road to open the season. South travels to Alpharetta, while Central will take on McIntosh in Peachtree City.