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War Eagles face Alpharetta in opener
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South Forsyth's Charles Stout runs through a drill during a recent War Eagles practice. Hitting him with pads are teammates Trey Renner, left, and Joe Outlaw, right. South opens its season Friday at Alpharetta. - photo by Emily Saunders

Following a successful scrimmage last week, South Forsyth coach Wendell Early is feeling good heading into Friday night’s season opener at Alpharetta.

Early said that getting a chance to take the team’s new spread offense for a test drive against Forsyth Central was a great confidence booster after a hard summer of practice.

“There’s no doubt about it. We go up against our defense every day and they just knock our heads off every day. It was nice to go up against someone else,” Early said.

“Anytime you install a new offense, particularly one that’s just radically different than [players are used to], you expect some miscues ... and we didn’t have any of that.”

The South coaches have been breaking down the film from Alpharetta’s scrimmage at North Forsyth last Friday, looking for any advantage they can find against Alpharetta’s Raiders.

“We think it’ll be a great first game for us and feel like North was able to do some things against them ... coach [Jared] Zito really had his kids ready to play,” Early said.

While Alpharetta gave up 281 rushing yards to North, the visiting Raiders also rolled up over 200 passing yards in the scrimmage, and Early says his staff will be looking closely at that air attack as they enter Friday’s showdown.

“I think they like to throw it some. They’ve got some good-looking skill guys on the outside. If they get loose in the grass, it could be over quick,” South’s coach said.

Alpharetta’s size on the line and 3-4 defense, with an emphasis on keeping the play in front of defenders to prevent big gains, have also caught his attention heading into the game, Early said.

While this is the first week of preparation leading up to a meaningful contest, Early said not to expect a different approach as the War Eagles hit the practice field this week.

“The schedule that we keep is a natural progression to installing our game plan and doing what we do all the way up to Friday night,” he said.