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
Sure, the Falcons held on Monday night, but if you’re looking for happy football fans in the greater Lake Lanier area you may not find a more gleeful people than those frequenting the shops on Peachtree Parkway.
South Forsyth and Pinecrest Academy are the lone undefeated teams in Forsyth County after four weeks of football, and with no conflict of interest between the two schools that share a fence, thanks to South being in Georgia’s highest classification while Pinecrest plays in the lowest, there’s no cause for animosity for the neighboring fanbases.
The question is, now, which team will remain unblemished the longest?
South (3-0, 1-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) has enjoyed some home cooking, scoring an average of 50 points in its first two home games against Mountain View and Habersham Central, respectively. Last week I also wrote about the comparative barometer that’s so hard to resist when county foes play the same opponent in back-to-back weeks, and with Lambert—usually a strong defensive team—surrendering 36 points to Centennial at home on Friday, what does that say about the War Eagles only giving up 6 points to the Knights just a week before?
Their defense is pretty good. Don’t let the 35 points Habersham Central scored fool you. South led 55-14 against the Raiders before Jeff Arnette dug deep into his bench to get kids on the field—a strategy that surrenders points almost inevitably, but is a winning formula for team morale, nonetheless. The War Eagles feel like the most complete team to this point. Quarterback Davis Shanley is a perfect fit for the sophisticated offense, and on the other side defensive end Cameron Kline has to be an early favorite for the county’s player of the year. He’s had seven sacks in two weeks and is a scoring threat on both sides of the football now that he’s returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Friday’s Civil War against North Forsyth at Coal Mountain should tell us whether South is a pretender or not. North (1-2, 1-1) still sits right in the mix with the rest of the county, believes it has a good team and hasn’t disappointed at home so far this season.
For Pinecrest, the question is if the second time will be the charm. Much like last season, the Paladins handled their first two games. Unlike last season, after a 2-0 start Pinecrest gets two huge games at home instead of on the road. Also unlike last season, the implications are a little different, as Pinecrest will host the defending state champions in Mount Paran Christian next week.
They can’t overlook Trion. Pinecrest defeated the Bulldogs 21-14 last season, and Trion is off to a 3-0 start and is scoring at a high clip. They’ve outscored opponents 101-20 to start the year.
The Pinecrest community should be ecstatic about having the opportunity to play two straight games of this caliber. As I’ve written a few times before, the difference between good and great Class A teams can often be a few players here or there. So far, it looks like Ryan McCarthy fits the bill. Not only did the quarterback account for 102 rushing yards and 53 passing yards last week at Walker, but he returned two interceptions for touchdowns from the linebacker position.
In reality, a win and a close loss at home to the state champs could earn Pinecrest more recognition by voters across the state. Wishful thinking is the Paladins go 2-0 in the upcoming homestand and vault into the Class A top-10 rankings.
It’s a tall task, but a task the Pinecrest faithful should be excited about—and they’ve probably got some South fans nearby who are willing to be excited for them too.
The student sections here are incredible
I don’t know what it is about Forsyth County, but there’s nothing that has made my jaw drop more since taking this job in March than the student sections. I thought during the spring that seeing packed houses and standing-room only situations at baseball games was the pinnacle since baseball seemed like the most successful sport in the area, but—even though the football teams here aren’t drawing the same statewide attention as Cobb, Gwinnett and south Georgia—the support and community is awfully impressive.
From the coordination of themes for each game, to colored chalk (or whatever that is you guys are throwing around), to actually making a big head of our sports editor Brian Paglia, the student sections here have almost earned a College Gameday-esque production on Friday mornings. Key word: almost. We can dream.
At least you didn’t dress like Northview
Last week our enterprise feature for Friday’s paper was a uniform ranking on all of the football teams in Forsyth County. We blasted out photos of each home uniform on social media and had our followers decide if our rankings were on point. According to likes on Twitter, South Forsyth had the best look with 57, followed by 31 from Forsyth Central. West had 27 likes, while North and Lambert fell below 10 likes and Pinecrest, unfortunately, had zero. I actually ranked Pinecrest’s home uniforms second because I’m a sucker for the combination of green and gold.
With that said, nothing made me give a double take more than seeing the photo submitted to us from the North-Northview game Friday night. The Titans’ digs are an example of everything wrong with trends in football fashion: gradient gray helmets, gray jerseys (for no reason) and…lime green trim.
If Northview was in Forsyth they would have been last. This is a personal PSA from a writer to football teams: we actually have to be able to read the numbers from a press box. Gray is also really drab in color photos; You don’t have to listen to my plea, but I’m making it anyways.