Friday, Oct. 17 football schedule (all games start at 7:30 p.m.):
West Forsyth at South Forsyth
Lambert at Northview
Pinecrest Academy at Mt. Pisgah Christian
Forsyth Central at Sprayberry
Johns Creek at North Forsyth
News, notes and observations from this past Friday's high school football action.
South Forsyth junior kicker Alex Barbir hit field goals of 56, 52, 44 and 19 yards in Friday’s 33-8 win. His four made field goals ties Barbir with a host of others for second-most in a single game in Georgia state history. Three kickers (Jeremy Hayes of Cedartown in 1991, Zach Griffin of Ware County in 2010, and Ryan Kay of Dutchtown in 2010—under current North Forsyth head coach Jason Galt) have made five in one game. Matt Monday of Warner Robins was the most recent kicker to make four in a single game—he did so against Peach County in 2013.
The Georgia state record for longest field goal made is a dubious 67 yards, set by Duluth’s Rusty Curry in 1999. The leaderboard:
63—Dax Langley, Heritage, 1993
61—Miles Hemphill, East Paulding, 2012
59—Three players tied
58—Four players tied
57—Three players tied
56—Alex Barbir, four others (Joseph Mansour, LaGrange, 2009; Kay, Dutchtown, 2010; E. Smith, LaGrange, 2010; Joe Brown, Jackson, 2012)
South’s White punishes Titans
From the very first snap, Northview’s defensive plan Friday at South Forsyth was plain to see: sell out to stop Tyler LaFlamme. On that end, job done. LaFlamme rushed for just 20 yards on 12 first-half carries. Putting eight or nine defenders in the box dared South quarterback Matt White to throw the ball, and throw the ball he did.
White, a senior, completed 9 of 14 attempts in the first half for 198 yards and two touchdowns that went for 42 and 34 yards. He also hit on passes of 32, 28, 27, 13 and 12 yards to his receiving trio of Jalen Camp, Cameron Kline and Drew Witalis. Camp made a leaping grab on White’s 32-yard completion that gave the War Eagles first-and-goal at the 2, and Kline rose highest in a scrum to claim the 34-yard touchdown, in between several confused Northview defensive backs.
“What a play by Kline to make that catch,” South coach Jeff Arnette said on Friday. “To win games like this, you have to make a few plays like that.”
Pearson bottled up
We get so used to seeing college and pro quarterbacks remaining stoic on the field and sidelines, no matter the circumstances, that it’s jarring to see a quarterback showing emotion and growing visibly frustrated. Northview’s DJ Pearson was rattled from the opening series at South.
The Arkansas State commit missed on six of his first seven throws—the only completion went for three yards. Pearson threw a backwards pass out of bounds for a seven-yard loss, receiver Jair Anderson dropped an easy completion, the Titans were called for holding and then illegal man downfield on a 14-yard completion, South’s Manny Godswill broke through for a sack, and Anderson fumbled the ball to South’s Austin Ataide after a 21-yard catch—all in the first 13 minutes of the game.
Northview trailed 24-8 at halftime and needed Pearson’s best to keep any hopes of a comeback alive. Instead, the southpaw went just 3-for-9 passing for 10 yards in the second half. If not for a 43-yard scramble as time expired, Pearson would’ve finished with negative-25 rushing yards thanks to five South sacks.
“It was a shutout for our defense,” Arnette said. “We had somebody in his face all the time. Having two weeks to prepare really made a big difference.”
Miracle at Pinecrest
Pinecrest trailed, 20-3, with less than four minutes remaining in Friday’s crucial Region 6-A, Div. B contest at home against St. Francis. The Paladins’ triple-option offense is not conducive to quick scoring drives, but St. Francis made Pinecrest’s life easy.
Todd Winter’s team pulled within 20-10 on Ryan McCarthy’s 25-yard touchdown pass. For reasons unclear, St. Francis attempted a pass on their next possession, which Pinecrest’s Jacob Hanley picked off and returned for a touchdown. St. Francis was again unable to move the ball and had a punt blocked in its own territory with less than a minute to play; Pinecrest missed the game-tying kick as time expired, but the Knights were called for running in to the kicker and Greg Metz tied the game on his second try.
So, to recap: in four minutes, St. Francis allowed a passing touchdown, threw a pick-six, had a punt blocked, and still would have escaped if not for a special teams penalty with zeros left on the clock. St. Francis said, ‘no, we don’t want this win—it’s all yours,’ and Pinecrest gratefully took advantage. It doesn’t get any easier this Friday for Pinecrest as the Paladins travel to Class A-Private No. 9 Mt. Pisgah.
Nufer’s anger pays off
After 51 yards of offense, three turnovers and a missed field goal, Forsyth Central went into halftime Friday in a scoreless tie with North Atlanta, a team the Bulldogs were favored against by 29 points.
The mood in the locker room reflected the situation.
“I was angry,” Central linebacker Pierce Nufer said. “I was angry, because we hadn’t done anything. We’d get close, and something wouldn’t go our way.”
So Nufer started making things happen. The junior had two fourth quarter sacks, one on 3rd-and-9 that forced North Atlanta to punt and another one on first down that pinned the Warriors inside their own 20 on the game’s eventual final drive.
Nufer finished with three sacks, doubling his season total going into the game.
“Coach was just telling us to go hard and telling me to blitz, and I just did it,” Nufer said. “Coach called it, and I just did it. The rest of my team helped.”
“I thought Pierce really did have a good night,” Central head coach Shane Williamson said, “and he’s done that all year long. … He’s a smart kid. He loves the game and works real hard for us.”—Brian Paglia