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Flag Football Roundup: Horns top Bulldogs in overtime, capture area championship
11232022 LAMBERT FLAG
Lambert's C.C. Phillips holds up the Area 6-D3 championship trophy, as she and her teammates celebrate Thursday at West Forsyth. (Photo by Nicholas Sullivan)
Area 6-D3 Final Standings

Lambert 6-0 (10-2 overall)

Milton 5-1 (9-3)

Forsyth Central 4-2 (11-3)

West Forsyth 3-3 (6-5)

South Forsyth 2-4 (8-7)

Denmark 1-5 (3-9-1)

North Forsyth 0-6 (0-14-1)

Last season, Forsyth Central flag football beat Lambert 6-0 in overtime. A year later, the Longhorns returned the favor, and, in doing so, wrapped up an undefeated Area 6-D3 campaign with a championship.

“To watch it come full circle and to really overcome that, the girls get to put that nightmare to bed,” Lambert head coach Jacob Chesser said. “That made it even better.”

Longhorns senior C.C. Phillips didn't get to face the Bulldogs in 2021 after tearing her ACL that spring during a lacrosse match. She made up for lost time by making the two biggest plays of the game in overtime during the 6-0 win Thursday at West Forsyth.

Phillips intercepted a Forsyth Central pass in the end zone to conclude the first extra possession, and then the Stetson lacrosse signee hauled in a pass from Ava Falite, made a defender miss and reached across the goal line for a game-ending touchdown.

“It means a lot for her,” Chesser said of Phillips. “Coming off an injury — she got knocked out of her last season and didn’t get to play — we’ve grown to expect her to be the one we lean on. When we need a big play, she’s always there to make one.”

It wasn't evident based on the way Lambert (10-2, 6-0) celebrated the victory, but even before Phillips' heroics, the Longhorns had essentially secured the area title.

A Forsyth Central win coupled with a Milton loss in the subsequent game would have given the Bulldogs (11-3, 4-2) the championship. However considering that Milton (5-1 area) ended up beating Denmark, albeit by a narrow 18-12 margin, Forsyth Central would have needed to beat Lambert by 13 or more points to overcome the point differential tiebreaker that would have ensued with three teams finishing 5-1 in the league.

“We definitely wanted to win the game,” Chesser said. “Our goal tonight was to sustain drives and execute. I think that’s exactly what we did. The girls knew the game plan, and they did everything we asked them to do, just like they’ve been doing all season.”

Through much of the contest, the Bulldogs appeared the more likely of the two teams to score.

The Longhorns defense broke up a fourth-down pass in the end zone to stop the game's first drive. Lambert later needed to make a similar stand in the second half, again forcing a turnover on downs.

“We had a couple of opportunities where we were down near their end zone and didn’t score,” Forsyth Central head coach James Mills said. “They had one good play in overtime and managed to pull it off.

“We would have needed to beat them by 13 to win (the area championship) on the point differential, so just trying to win at that point was what we were doing.”

Both defense clearly rose to the occasion.

Forsyth Central entered having scored an average of 18-plus points per game, without having been shut out all year.

“I like our defense against anybody in the state of Georgia,” Chesser said. “Plain and simple.”

Lambert came into the contest with an almost identical points-per-game average, but the Longhorns had been particularly explosive in area play. In the team's first five area games, Lambert scored 38, 26, 26, 26 and 24 points.

“Defense has been a strength of ours since forever,” Mills said. “The defense did their job. Statistically, on paper, we beat them, but you have to beat them on the scoreboard. That’s what matters.

“Defense did their job. We’re going to continue to ride that horse through the playoffs. That’s the plan.”

Each coach felt that the area schedule prepared them for the postseason, with matchups like Thursday's serving as playoff-type atmospheres.

That should serve Milton, Forsyth Central and fourth-seeded West Forsyth well in their early round contests.

“I think we’re going to end up in a good part of the bracket,” Mills said. “Considering our region, being a three seed is nothing to be ashamed of.

“I think we’re going to go out there as a three seed and scare a lot of people who are one seeds.”

Meanwhile, the area's top seed, Lambert will prepare to host first- and second-round games on Nov. 29.

“We’re not going to change anything we’ve been doing,” Chesser said. “What we’ve been doing has been working pretty well. The girls have bought in, and they know what we expect. They’re excited, and they’re ready to go.”

Roundup of other Area 6-D3 matches this week

Lambert pulled away from West Forsyth for a 26-6 victory Wednesday at Forsyth Central to set the stage for its title-clinching win the following night.

Quarterback Ava Falite threw a touchdown pass to Kennedy Dean and ran in a touchdown herself. Dean added a rushing score, as did C.C. Phillips. Both Dean and Phillips wound up with 78 yards from scrimmage.

Meanwhile, the host Bulldogs kept pace in the race Wednesday. Forsyth Central shut out Denmark by a 21-0 final margin, holding an opponent scoreless for the eighth time this year.

In Wednesday's other contest, defending area champion South Forsyth concluded its campaign with a 27-0 loss to Milton, dropping the War Eagles to 8-7 on the season and 2-4 in the area.

Following Lambert's overtime victory against Forsyth Central in the opening game, Thursday's middle contest saw Denmark give Milton all it could handle in an 18-12 defeat.

The Eagles had already locked up the No. 2 seed, but the Danes (3-9-1, 1-5) still gave them a tough test.

Monroe Lewis broke off a long touchdown run to open the scoring on Denmark's first series.

Milton scored the final 12 points of the first half, including producing a crucial deep passing TD inside the final 30 seconds. The Eagles looked set to extend the lead early in the second half.

However, Jada Starr intercepted a pass at the goal line and nearly ran it back for a pick-6. Starr, though, did end up capping the short touchdown drive with a rushing score to even the game at 12-apiece.

A 1-yard touchdown pass by Milton broke the deadlock with just over five minutes remaining, and a Denmark interception with under a minute to go sealed the result.

In the final game Thursday evening, West Forsyth overcame a slow start to land a 33-0 win over North Forsyth.

The host Wolverines threw an interception on the game's first play and didn't put up any points until midway through the first half.

But a trio of picks by West Forsyth late in the half put the Wolverines in control. Abbylin Laprise and Emma Anderson returned the first two interceptions for touchdowns. The third set up a touchdown pass from Anderson to Caitlin Fields.

Up 20-0 at halftime, West Forsyth extended its lead with touchdown passes to Laprise and Addie Cissell.

Fields, Rylee Ramirez and Mabry Bowron recorded 1-point conversion receptions during the win.

Playoff draws for Area 6-D3

Nov. 29 at Lambert

First round — No. 4 seed Sequoyah vs. No. 1 seed Lambert

First round — No. 3 seed Central Gwinnett vs. No. 2 seed North Gwinnett

Second round — Winners play each other

Nov. 29 at Peachtree Ridge

First round — No. 4 seed Winder-Barrow vs. No. 1 seed Peachtree Ridge

First round — No. 3 seed Woodstock vs. No. 2 seed Milton

Second round — Winners play each other

Nov. 29 at Mountain View

First round — No. 4 seed Norcross vs. No. 1 seed Mountain View

First round — No. 3 seed Forsyth Central vs. No. 2 seed Roswell

Second round — Winners play each other

Nov. 29 at Blessed Trinity

First round — No. 4 seed West Forsyth vs. No. 1 seed Blessed Trinity

First round — No. 3 seed Duluth vs. No. 2 seed Mill Creek

Second round — Winners play each other