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Football: Lambert outlasts Forsyth Central in 43-42 thriller
Kojo Antwi
Lambert wide receiver Kojo Antwi, right, escapes from Forsyth Central defender Caydin Mowen during Friday's 43-42 win against the Bulldogs. Photo by Mitch Martin

By Caleb Byrd 

For the Forsyth County News

A quarterback change, a risky two-point conversion and an interception late in the fourth quarter allowed the Lambert Longhorns to overcome the Forsyth Central Bulldogs 43-42 Friday night in an exciting offensive game.

“They’re a resilient group of kids, man,” Lambert head coach Tommy Watson said. “I love them like they’re my own children. The future is bright at Lambert High School, I promise you that. We’re on the way up.”

Lambert sophomore quarterback James Tyre put on an impressive show in the second half, going 6 of 7 for 152 yards, and putting up three touchdowns on the way to leading his team to victory.

Central led 42-35 late in the fourth quarter, but Lambert made a crucial defensive stop, forcing Central to punt the ball with 3:30 left in the game.

Four plays later, Tyre scrambled toward the sideline and found a wide-open Brandon Jones in the middle of the field, who took the ball in for a 52-yard touchdown.

But the excitement didn’t stop there.

Watson made the call to go for the two-point conversion and put junior quarterback Ashton Smith back in the game, sneaking Tyre out to the wide-out position. Smith put Tyre in motion, snapped the ball, and tossed it to Tyre.

Smith turned upfield and cut to the sideline in the end zone, and Tyre connected with him to put Lambert up 43-42 with just over 2 minutes left in the game.

Central’s ensuing drive stalled as Bronson Landreth errantly stepped out of bounds on a crucial third-down play, losing 7 yards and putting the Bulldogs out of field-goal range.

On fourth-and-15, with less than a minute left in the game, Landreth unloaded a 38-yard prayer intended for Noah Chol in the end zone, but Lambert senior free safety Tre Drewery intercepted the pass.

It was Drewery’s second interception of the night, and it closed the door on Central’s hopes of victory.

“I feel for the kids because they’ve worked extremely hard,” Central head coach Frank Hepler said. “They put a great week of practice in, but we just didn’t make some plays going down the stretch there, and they did. We've just gotta overcome this and come out and try to beat South next week to even up our record. Now we’re just playing for some pride.”

Despite the outcome, there were some bright spots for this Central team. The Bulldogs led the Longhorns up until the last 2 minutes of the game.

In the first half, the Bulldog offense put up 246 total yards, earned 12 first downs, and put up four touchdowns.

Overall, Chol, Eli Ruis, Peyton Streko, and Landreth combined for 335 rushing yards. Ruis provided two touchdowns on his legs, and Chol, Streko, and Landreth each provided a rushing touchdown as well.

Landreth went 4 of 9 for 52 yards and a touchdown through the air, but was intercepted twice at the hands of Drewery.

Smith went 13 of 25 for 213 yards and two touchdowns before Watson put in Tyre to start the fourth quarter. One of Smith’s touchdowns was a 60-yard bomb to senior Kojo Antwi in the first half.

Perhaps the most impressive touchdown of the night was Lambert’s first play of the second half.

Almost a foreshadow of events to come later in the game, Watson snuck Tyre in the game as a wideout.

Smith put Tyre in motion and tossed him the ball as he sprinted toward the sideline. Tyre stopped, planted his feet, and connected with senior Jack Stewart for a 31-yard touchdown pass.

Lambert’s Braden Bamburowski caught six passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Jack Stewart caught six passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. Kojo Antwi caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown.

Brandon Jones caught two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Robert Riddle ran in for a touchdown as well.

Lambert (5-4, 1-4 Region 6-7A) will host West Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13 in its final game of the season, while Central (3-4, 1-4 Region 6-7A) gets a bye next week before wrapping up the season on Nov. 20 at South Forsyth.