Lambert head coach Louis Daniel doesn’t think it’s in a football program’s best interest to circle single games on the schedule before a season. That’s not an unprecedented habit. In fact, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has been vocal about making “beat Georgia” a goal, in itself, every year.
Rather, Daniel sees each game as one that counts as either a digit in the win column, or a digit in the loss column. Each contest is equally important in region play.
That’s just Daniel’s fundamental train of thought. He admitted that his players knew the Sept. 18 game at Alpharetta—the defending region champions—was an opportunity to make a statement. After a 17-14 upset, the Longhorns made it known that there was a changing of the guard in Region 6.
Fast forward a month, and the question is: Between Lambert, West Forsyth and South Forsyth, who is the new best team in the league?
You’re going to find out in the next three weeks, as Lambert hosts West (5-2, 5-1) on Friday. They’ll also face South (6-1, 5-1) on the road on Nov. 6.
Lambert (6-1, 6-0) has won six consecutive games, and it has managed to do so in a variety of ways. Last week the Longhorns forced five turnovers to win 41-7 at home against Northview, but a week prior they gave up five turnovers and still managed a victory, 21-7, at Habersham Central.
The Longhorns dominated Johns Creek, Centennial and North Forsyth, but relied on its defense to pull it through that Alpharetta game. To ask “Which Lambert team will show up?” is to misunderstand their identity. Daniel thinks the identity is secondary to a sheer will to win.
“We’re still kind of discovering our identity week in and week out,” Daniel said. “But they believe in each other. They are a close group of kids that just want to win. They play hard. They are winners.”
Part of the reason for Lambert having the clout to decide how it wants to win games is because the team is much healthier than it has been in the past. Daniel said that, after dealing with a myriad of injuries earlier in the year, he has his healthiest group preparing to play West on Friday at home.
Even though the Wolverines are riding high off a huge, 38-34, win against South, a loss to Lambert would likely end their chances of winning the region title. Lambert’s players, who were bystanders as the South-West game developed a life of its own last week, are ready for their chance to make a splash.
“They have had this West game circled for a while,” Daniel said. “You always tell players to not look ahead, but they’ve been looking forward to it, and that’s just the nature of it. Driving all the way out to Habersham (two weeks ago), just getting a win and staying healthy was a goal. Last week you obviously get back at home and take care of business, but the kids have put themselves in position to win this game which has an enormous influence on the season. They get to play a meaningful game late in the year, and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”