Friday, Oct. 31 schedule:
Centennial at West Forsyth
Chattahoochee at Lambert
Johns Creek at South Forsyth
North Forsyth at Habersham Central
Cambridge at Forsyth Central
Kings Ridge at Pinecrest
West comeback for naught
All highlights courtesy of the NFHS Network
Lost in the shuffle of Trevor O’Brien’s heroics on Friday night was a second-half West rally that erased a double-digit Lambert lead and, for a time, gave the Wolverines a four-point advantage.
Three minutes before halftime, Lambert quarterback Drew Cole had given the Longhorns a 10-point lead with a perfect 59-yard touchdown throw to Tanner Hall. It took more than nine minutes of the third quarter for West to get some of those points back, when Hampton McConnell threw deep right to Nate Schmitz, who out-jumped a Lambert cornerback and got one foot in bounds for a 31-yard touchdown.
That play seemed to turn the tide for West; the Wolverines punted on their next possession but forced a Lambert three-and-out. After a holding penalty pushed West back to its own eight yard line, McConnell hit Grant Anderskow on a jailbreak screen out of the slot, which Anderskow took down the right hash before cutting left and sprinting 92 yards to the end zone, giving West the lead. The Wolverines wouldn’t score again.
Receiver duel at The Den
Lambert’s Tanner Hall and West’s Nate Schmitz spent the first three quarters of the Longhorns’ 33-27 win on Friday one-upping each other. In the first half alone, Hall had five catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns; Schmitz had five catches of his own for 82 yards and one touchdown.
Hall got in on the action in the first quarter with a 36-yard reception on third-and-7, a 15-yard catch on third-and-9 and then a 28-yard touchdown catch deep down the left sideline on third-and-8.
In the second quarter, it was Schmitz’s turn. He made a 14-yard grab on third-and-11 and found himself free when Hampton McConnell lined up in the left slot, took a sweep handoff, pulled up and threw deep right for a 44-yard touchdown strike.
Cole and Hall combined for maybe the game’s biggest play late in the first half (other than O’Brien’s go-ahead touchdown run): a blocking below the knees penalty on the West defense (never seen that called on a defense) wiped out the Wolverines’ recovery of a O’Brien fumble, and two plays later, Cole pump-faked, stepped up in the pocket and hit Hall deep for a 59-yard score.
“They like their receivers on the outside, especially Hall, and I’m sure they’ve been working those back-shoulder throws,” West head coach Adam Clack said. “They probably saw we were stout against the run in the South game. We knew coming in there were going to be big one-on-one showdowns … we both hit on some of those isolation routes.”
Hall and Schmitz combined for nearly 300 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
Region 6-AAAAAA playoff picture still murky
After Friday, Oct. 24, the Region 6-AAAAAA standings shake out like this:
South Forsyth: 5-2
West Forsyth: 4-3
North Forsyth: 1-6
Johns Creek: 1-6
Habersham Central: 0-7
Alpharetta is in good shape, needing one win out of its final two games at Northview and home to North Forsyth, to clinch a second straight region title. After that, there’s still plenty to be decided. Lambert and South play at the Horn on the final Friday of the regular season (Nov. 7). West Forsyth hosts Centennial this Friday, Oct. 31. Northview will be underdogs at Alpharetta this Friday, while South should win at home against Johns Creek.
Remember: the top two seeds get to host a first-round playoff game against the bottom two seeds from Region 5 (as of today, Etowah and Cherokee), while the No. 3 and 4 seeds must go on the road to Region 5’s top two seeds (Roswell and Milton, for the time being).