As South Forsyth tries to continue its long-standing winning streak over Forsyth Central tonight, Lambert and West Forsyth will look to start the season 2-0 in their home openers.
North Forsyth will also try to pick up another win on the road at Dawson County, while Pinecrest Academy enjoys an early bye week.
West Forsyth vs. Flowery Branch (7:30 p.m.)
West will try to start the season 2-0 as the Wolverines host Flowery Branch tonight at The Den.
West hung on to top Gainesville 32-30 last week with a strong showing from the defense. The Wolverines’ defense swarmed the ball and forced four interceptions from quarterback Deshaun Watson, a Clemson recruit who accounted for more than 4,400 yards of offense and 57 touchdowns last season.
Flowery Branch finished last season 11-2, but the Falcons have undergone a makeover during the offseason.
Flowery Branch lost longtime head coach Lee Shaw and offensive coordinator this offseason, as both took head coaching positions elsewhere.
Northside, Warner Robins dominated the Falcons 45-7, their worst loss since 2005.
"They’ve played good teams," West head coach Frank Hepler said. "They are very similar to Gainesville; they’re very talented and have great speed. They’re big up front and don’t shy away from playing hard. If you make mistakes, they’ll make you pay for it."
The Wolverines must keep an eye on senior defensive backs Darius Curry and Noel Padmore and outside linebacker Kris Smith, all with numerous Division-I offers.
"We’re going to be a 50-50 offense," Hepler said. "We’re not going to throw into their strength or run into their line. We’re going to continue to run our offense."
This will be the first meeting between the schools since they shared the same region in 2009. With a playoff spot on the line for both teams, Connor Shaw — now the starting quarterback at South Carolina — led the Falcons to a 51-47 victory in a game that featured 10 lead changes.
Lambert vs. Roswell (7:30 p.m.)
After coming off a 14-7 win at Etowah last week, the Longhorns will have their hands full with Roswell running back Andrew Kwateng.
Roswell downed Centennial 42-13 last week with a strong performance from the senior back, who ran for 236 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
"He put up an explosive number," Lambert head coach Sid Maxwell said. "We’re going to try to keep him in front of us.
"You have to get better at what you do and master the fundamentals against their offense. We’ve taken a work-like approach for this week."
Roswell was forced to play many underclassmen last season and returns several juniors and seniors to a team that averaged 15 points and finished 0-10.
"Last season’s [record] doesn’t matter," Maxwell said. "It’s going to be a tough task and we’re going to have to make plays. We have to focus on the big picture, and that’s region play. These games prepare you for that."
Lambert will count on quarterback Brock Maxwell, who rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns with 90 yards passing, to lead the offense. Lambert found a reliable option in the passing game last week in receiver T.J. Russell, who racked up 163 receiving yards.
Tonight’s game marks the first-ever meeting between the Hornets and the Longhorns.
North Forsyth at Dawson County (7:30 p.m.)
One week after edging Central 10-7, the Raiders will try to stop a much more prolific Dawson County offense. The Tigers boast senior quarterback Tyler Dominy, who threw for 1,890 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and leads an offense that returns nine starters from a team that finished 5-5.
The Tigers pounded Lumpkin County 35-0 last week, as Dawson’s hurry-up offense put up 28 points before halftime.
"[Dominy] is tall and can hit his receivers, but he’s also a good runner." North head coach Blair Armstrong said. "They have two good receivers that can stretch the field."
North’s defense will be without junior starting cornerback Kansas Mullins, who suffered a broken collarbone against Central.
"They can run the two-minute offense," Armstrong said of Dawson. "It’s something we’ve worked on all summer and a lot of the teams we play use it. We’re familiar with it."
North’s offense may need another big night from sophomore running back Jamal Davenport, who rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries against Central and scored the Raiders’ only touchdown.
"Jamal’s a good player," Armstrong said. "We took what the defense was giving us, and we have other backs that can pick up some yards.
"If we want to win, we can’t make mistakes and turn the ball over. I saw a lot of things [on film] that we did last week that are fixable. We need to do what we’re supposed to do."