Through the reflection of the golden trophy in his arms and the eye black running down his face, you could see that Lambert pride in the eyes of Jaryd Jean-Felix. He couldn’t wait to send some choice texts to Jordyn and Justyn.
After all, the youngest of three brothers who have all suited up for the Longhorns, only Jaryd has managed a win over rival South Forsyth in his senior season. Jean-Felix jumped in front of a punt for a block, then dashed to the ball and picked it up for a touchdown to help Lambert edge the War Eagles, 28-20, Friday night at The Horn.
“There was only one Jean-Felix to beat South in his final season. I’ve got to admit it feels awesome,” Jean-Felix said.
He was a day late on getting himself a birthday present—he turned 18 on Thursday—but the win against South couldn’t have come early enough. In a grudge match from last year’s 31-6 loss to South in a de-facto region championship, the Longhorns’ victory signaled what head coach Louis Daniel called a “return of balance” in Forsyth County. Lambert, which opened the season 1-3 while South and West Forsyth enjoyed marquee wins and top-10 rankings, is now right where it wants to be—first place in the Region 5-7A standings.
“It’s time. We learned,” Daniel said. “We could be 5-0, but we’re not and I’m glad because we learn from our adversity. We’ve been through things that have made us stronger. Now we’ve got to come back and be ready for next week, but this is definitely a big win for us.”
Lambert senior tailback Brian Wright sealed the game, bursting through a hole for a 78-yard touchdown, untouched, to give the Longhorns a 26-14 lead with 7:06 left in the contest (quarterback Richie Kenney hit Alex Snyder for a 2-point conversion to make it 28-14 after a timeout). That play came after a forced turnover on downs from Lambert’s defense, just moments after South quarterback Davis Shanley ran for 73 of his 409 total offensive yards despite a painful back injury that left him immobilized at midfield after the game.
Lambert got the best of a South rally again on the next drive as Ken Dicks intercepted a pass in the end zone to steal the energy from a visiting crowd energized moments before by a 49-yard pass on a flea-flicker from Shanley to Guy Morra. Morra was phenomenal in the contest, catching seven passes for 164 yards—six of them were for a first down on third down, including a 60-yard catch and run that set up Shanley’s second touchdown run to make it 17-14 mid-way through the third quarter.
South never quit in the end either, as Shanley led the War Eagles down field and tossed a 14-yard touchdown to Jake Nicholas as time expired. South head coach Jeff Arnette highlighted Morra’s play after the game.
“He’s a fighter,” Arnette said. “I told him before the game, he had been making so many plays in previous games and in practice and we knew he would have a big game tonight. “
Lambert kicker Bryce Christensen stood out, knocking through two field goals to give Lambert 10-6 and 20-14 leads, respectively, while also pinning South with a 45-yard punt at the 5 late in the game.
Jean Felix jumped on his own punt block in the end zone to make the score 17-6 with 9:18 in the third. The Longhorns opened the scoring on their first drive, marching 12 plays, 78 yards and scoring on a third try between Kenney (8-of-15, 94 yards, TD) and receiver Tyler Gillis for a 15-yard score. South responded with a 14-play, 80-yard drive where Shanley ran in from 5 yards, but the extra point was missed.
Shanley finished 21 of 47 passing for 309 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions (Noah Beck picked him off in the first half), while rushing 12 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Lambert’s Brian Wright carried nine times for 100, while Justin Bruno added 86 on 17 carries.