Every week during football season, the FCN's Michael Foster will break down the week that was and offer outlook as teams prepare for their next opponents. Send comments, questions and input to the above email or contact Mike on Twitter @michaelsfoster
Longhorns will use bye week to heal, discover offense
The good: Lambert forced three turnovers, including a defensive touchdown, and ultimately flexed some defensive muscle Friday night against a talented Lanier team, led on offense by 6-foot-5 prospect Tahj Tolbert at quarterback. At the end of the day, a 10-point loss to a top-10 team from the classification directly below isn’t a huge blow for Lambert.
The bad: No matter how you cook it, 69 yards of total offense, in any capacity, is something that needs to be fixed. That’s how many yards the Longhorns gained against, well, the other Longhorns and why Lambert head coach Louis Daniel is thankful to have a bye week—especially after being the only team in the county to play two consecutive scrimmages going into a season opener, with no bye in between.
“We need the time,” Daniel said. “We had two scrimmages. The opponents, Gwinnett teams like Grayson and Lanier, are both very physical. They bumped and bruised us. It also gives us time to back up and get healthy.”
Lambert’s offense was sacked four times, fumbled away a ball at a crucial point in the first half and running backs Harrison Pomfret and Ken Dicks combined for just 21 yards on 15 carries. Much of the lack of rushing was due to the presence of defensive tackle Derrick Brown, who’s ranked by most scouting outlets as the top prospect in Georgia for the class of 2016.
“We’re very athletic on offense,” Daniel said. “We’ve got three or four running backs that are talented, the offensive line is strong, and the quarterbacks are strong. As soon as things start falling into place, I expect a highly productive unit on offense. They’re going to be okay.”
Lambert (0-1) plays a region schedule the rest of the season, and Daniel plans starting receiver Tanner Hall, who missed the season opener after spraining his ankle in the scrimmage against Grayson, will be back for the region opener at home against Johns Creek (Sept. 4).
Arnette “pleasantly surprised” by shootout and energy between the hedges
South (1-0) couldn’t have had a better start to the season at home against Mountain View. Despite replacing starters at 14 positions, the War Eagles thumped the Bears 45-14 and had scoring plays of 70, 62, 28, 20, 16 and 12 yards. They also prevented the Bears from converting a single third down (0-for-9).
First-year starting quarterback Davis Shanley completed 14 of 21 passes for 292 yards and two scores, while rushing for two more. However, it was the student section that showed for South’s season opener that stood out to head coach Jeff Arnette.
“Our student section and crowd was as good as I’ve ever seen it. They really pumped our kids up and got our kids excited,” Arnette said. “Any time you’ve got that kind of atmosphere, our players fed off the crowd.
“We had a lot of kids start Friday night who never started. You never know what to expect so I’m pleasantly surprised in how we played in all three phases. I was most excited about the effort.”
South will have a bye this week before opening region play at Centennial.
Four other teams open play this week with North hosting Cherokee, West traveling to Mill Creek, Central playing at Dawson County and Pinecrest visiting North Springs.
Mill Creek’s 42-7 win over a reeling Brookwood program in the Corky Kell Classic Saturday afternoon earned the attention that placed the Hawks (1-0) in the Georgia Sports Writers Association top-10, but West is arguably Forsyth County’s most oiled machine. A road victory over an early-season darling would be a stellar start to Adam Clack’s second season at West, and proverbial starting quarterback Kiernen Hamilton has continued to look the part in practices.
Last season was a breakthrough year for Cherokee (1-0), mainly in part to an offense tailored for long scoring plays. Cherokee took down North 42-14 last season and opened the campaign last week with a 51-23 win over Chattahoochee. With North being a huge underdog, having the Warriors to their own yard will be key if there’s any chance of an upset.
Central will travel north to face former Lambert coach Sid Maxwell, who went 31-16 as the Longhorns’ first ever head coach, in his first game as the leader of Dawson County. Pinecrest will have an interesting task against North Springs from Central’s sub-region in 7-AAAAA. The Spartans are just 3-18 under head coach Steve Horton, who took over a program that had gone 0-30 the three previous seasons and has not had a winning campaign since 1998. Needless to say, a victory for Pinecrest, led by quarterback Ryan McCarthy, might not be a shocker.
Friday Night Stars
Here are some of the best high school football performances from Forsyth County players this past Friday:
Taylor Brinkerhoff, Lambert: The junior had 13 tackles (seven solo), two tackles for loss and a sack against Lanier.
Jalen Camp, South Forsyth: The senior wide receiver had five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown against Mountian View.
Cameron Kline, South Forsyth: The senior defensive end had three tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery against Mountain View.
Blake Oldfield, South Forsyth: The senior had two tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack against Mountain View.
Sam Outlaw, South Forsyth: The senior running back had 118 all-purpose yards and a touchdown against Mountain View.
Mac Redmond, Lambert: The junior linebacker had 16 tackles (eight solo) and two tackles for loss against Lanier.
Curtis Roach, South Forsyth: The senior defensive back had six total tackles and a forced fumble against Mountain View.
Davis Shanley, South Forsyth: The junior quarterback was 14-for-22 with 236 yards and two touchdowns against Mountain View. Shanley also ran for 37 yards and two touchdowns.
Dylan Shepherd, Lambert: The junior linebacker had 10 tackles (one solo) and an interception against Lanier.
Max Slott, South Forsyth: The senior linebacker had eight total tackles and a pass break-up against Mountain View.