ALPHARETTA — The War Eagles’ mistakes didn’t kill them, but where they made them likely did.
Forsyth ran into some costly miscues on both sides of the ball in a 24-14 setback to Alpharetta in the season opener for both teams on Friday night. The game marked the debut for head coach Wendell Early in his new role at South.
Despite numerous turnovers, the Eagles (0-1) still had a late chance to tie the game at 21 when they got the ball back with 3:44 left, even though they had to start from inside their own 5-yard line.
But misfortune struck again, in the form of another turnover. Sophomore Nick Belyew evaded pressure but, while moving to his right, threw across his body, resulting in an interception for Anthony Guarcello.
The Raiders (1-0) added a field goal on their way to ending an eight-game losing streak dating back to last season.
“Nick made some mistakes, but he is going to be a great quarterback and he is a very good passer,” Early said. “I’m excited about him, nobody is disappointed in him. He worked hard, he’s got the right spirit and attitude and he’s going to get better.”
South started committing turnovers at inopportune times in the second quarter. With the Eagles ahead 7-6, a Belyew lob pass was picked off in the end zone, denying South a field goal and at least a four-point cushion.
After the halftime break, Brian Adams, who split time at quarterback and wide receiver, had his screen pass taken the other way for a 31-yard Alpharetta score.
Things appeared to be getting out of hand after Michael Bennett fought off two Eagles’ tacklers for a 67-yard touchdown reception, placing South Forsyth in a 21-7 hole early in the fourth.
“It’s not what we were doing that was bad, just the way we were doing it, but we’ll get better,” said Early about the mishaps.
But the Eagles didn’t hang their heads in the fourth quarter, and Brett Charron capped their ensuing drive with a nice run up the middle for his second touchdown of the game, cutting the margin to seven before any hopes of a win were put to rest.
Early enters on the heels of Greg Slattery and aims to outdo a 3-7 Eagles’ record last season. Early, who implemented a spread offense and a two-quarterback system, said the offense will come around after some adjustments. He also said he was proud of the defense.
South will attempt to bounce back at home against South Gwinnett this Friday.