West Forsyth led with 13 ticks left on the clock at Alpharetta, but a 7-yard touchdown by Nolan Edmonds pushed the Raiders over the hump in a wild 43-39 victory. With Pinecrest taking the week off after its season-opening shellacking of North Springs last week, it was up to the Region 6-AAAAAA schools to make statements for themselves.
Lambert, whose sluggish loss to Lanier two weeks ago feels like forever ago at this point, gave its fans a sigh of relief by producing 32 points in its region opening victory over Johns Creek. South Forsyth proved its ability to roll was no fluke, allowing just 6 points and thumping Centennial with five sacks from defensive end Cameron Kline in a solid 21-6 win. North Forsyth assured itself that it was a redefined football team, taking down Chattahoochee 37-27 for its first spot in the win column this year as well.
After a first few weeks that were all about comparing Forsyth schools to neighboring counties, the opening of region play for county schools produced almost exclusively positive results. Even though West fell, the Wolverines are still close to being completely on track with what they want to accomplish this season.
“They responded exactly how I knew they would respond. This is a young team that makes mistakes right now. When we correct mistakes, we play great football,” West coach Adam Clack told the FCN after Friday’s game.
Forsyth Central, to no surprise, eased its way through four quarters against Woodland-Cartersville in a 39-7 victory to improve to 2-0 for the second consecutive season under head coach Shane Williamson.
North’s new identity looks familiar for those north of Cumming
Highlighted in the FCN’s football season preview, no running back tandem in the county was more established than Shaun Diebel and Sabrian Howard at Forsyth Central, along with whoever was going to take over the quarterback job for the Bulldogs—eventually we learned it’s Jagger Hartshorn’s to lose.
Drive a few minutes north, however, and you’ll see a mirror image of Central. North Forsyth, far removed from the identity of a team that won just one game a season ago, has redefined its offense around the skills of Simon Holcomb, Cody Dwyer and senior quarterback Jacob Bailey.
Last week in Extra Points we highlighted North’s identity as a team, but after its win at Chattahoochee, we’re starting to see some star power in the backfield—honestly, it looks like a mirror image of North’s Class AAAAA counterpart.
Holcomb has carried 34 times for 198 yards and scored six touchdowns in two games, including three through the air, where he’s caught six balls for 154 yards. Dwyer has added 160 yards on 32 carries and has been used as a passer twice, completing both throws for 49 yards.
And Bailey? He’s up to 11 of 13 passing for 253 yards and three touchdown passes. North is finding ways to use its powerful rushing attack to set up big time throws, and Holcomb and Dwyer have clearly reshaped what the Raiders can do on offense.
County favorites get measuring stick games this Friday
So North handled Chattahoochee on the road by 10 points; South clamped down on Centennial for a 13-point victory. Nothing too flashy, but both the Raiders and War Eagles were a little under the radar heading into the season. North is feeling good about its direction, while South is sitting pretty at the top of the overall standings in the region with a 2-0 record and the fact it has outscored its opponents 66-20.
Lambert and West have had some games go against them, but in Region 6-AAAAAA, with a loaded league schedule that spans nine games, there’s plenty of room to gain a head of steam early in the season.
Now that the Longhorns and Wolverines have some testy games out of the way (Lambert lost on Aug. 21 to No. 9 Lanier; West lost 51-13 on Aug. 28 to No. 7 Mill Creek), the two preseason favorites from the county will have a litmus test, of sorts, when they face North’s and South’s opponents from last Friday this week.
Lambert will host Centennial, while West will host Chattahoochee. It’s early in the year, but dominating performances in these games could reset the shifting powers back into a familiar alignment.