The key for Friday night's game was who would win the battle between Lambert’s offense and North Forsyth’s defense.
Lambert is scoring the second-most points in the region with 32.6 per game, while North is allowing the second-fewest amount of points at 11.9 per game.
Yet, it was Lambert’s defense that proved to be the deciding factor as the Longhorns won 26-7 over the Raiders at The Horn.
The Longhorns allowed only one score, which came on a screen pass from Drew Aucoin to Logan Curry, who took it 61 yards to the end zone.
Lambert head coach Tommy Watson felt the win was a culmination of what they’ve been working on.
“We have played great defense all year in spurts,” Watson said. “When you go back to the Gainesville game, I don’t think they scored before half, and then they came out the second half and got some momentum and scored some points on us. You look at last week; Denmark, we held them to a field goal in the first half. But we’ve been having let downs. We’ve been on the kids about that the past six, seven days. You got to play four quarters. It’s a four-quarter game. Quit relaxing and go out and play all four quarters, not just the first two. Tonight is the first time we’ve done that, for sure.”
Lambert had a number of big plays on the defensive side of the ball. Tommy Morris’ pick-six sealed the game for the Longhorns, while Jake Johnson’s strip sack halted a drive by North and killed all the momentum the Raiders had.
Finn Braeuer had an important sack late in the game that allowed them to get the ball back and run out the clock.
On the other side of the ball, Lambert was just as successful. James Tyre threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 86 more yards. Harrison Peyton ran for 123 yards and a touchdown in only his second game back from injury. Kojo Antwi and Luke Logan each caught a touchdown. Ethan Terry and Brandon Jones were both dangerous weapons that Tyre found multiple times.
The number of threats the Longhorns have on offense is why Watson feels they’re such a dangerous team.
“We invest a lot in the weight room yearround,” Watson said. “We invest a lot in our offensive line, coaching them all year round, training them, developing them. And then the quarterback, James, that sucker’s electric. Whether he’s running it, throwing it, you blitz him, he gets out of the pocket he’s gonna hurt you. Then we got Kojo Antwi out there. Really, tonight was as close as we’ve been since the third game of the year when Harrison got hurt. You gotta deal with Harrison, you gotta deal with James, you gotta deal with Kojo, and then the big tight end is a weapon too, Logan. We just keep plugging along.
"We’ve got a good little system that I’ve ran for all my life really. Ran it down in south Georgia. It’s hard to deal with when you don’t know who’s gonna get the ball out of three, four, five guys. Just super proud of them.”
It was a very physical game, and North head coach Robert Craft figured it would be.
“Back-and-forth, just like we thought,” Craft said. “Very physical game. I thought our guys played really hard. That drive in the third quarter where we couldn’t finish it and then they made some critical plays there at the end. That was key. We didn’t execute on that. Probably not a great call by me, but if we did it again, I’d go for it again. I thought that was the story. We couldn’t stay on the field on third down, and we couldn’t get off the field defensively.”
Drew Aucoin threw for 116 yards and a touchdown and ran for 61 yards. Logan Curry had three receptions for 107 yards and a score. Collin Miller was dominant as usual, blocking both a field goal and an extra point, as well as having another tackle for loss.
There were quite a few guys that Craft thought stood out with their play in the game.
“On both sides of the ball, Patrick Corrigan continues to be a guy that we rely on,” Craft said. “I thought Collin Miller made some big plays defensively. And then our quarterback [Drew Aucoin]. I can’t say enough about him, how tough he is. But there’s a lot of guys. There’s no doubt that these guys played their butts off. We’ve just got to play smarter at times. Hats off to Lambert. They did a great job, made some key plays in some key situations.”
Both teams are now 2-2 in Region 6-7A. Lambert plays at Forsyth Central next Friday as the Longhorns look to move to a winning record in region play and inch closer to a playoff spot. North will have a week to regroup before travelling to play at South Forsyth, which is now 3-0 in region play.