The final week before region play saw Lambert improve to 4-0, North Forsyth put together another dominant defensive performance, and West Forsyth earn one of the most impressive wins in program history.
Here’s what we learned from Week 4.
West earns statewide respect after big win
The Wolverines broke into the AJC’s top 10 after a 51-35 win over Walton, displacing the Raiders who fell out of the poll after the loss.
West, No. 10 in Class 7A, is ranked for the first time since 2012, a season that saw the Wolverines win the Region 6-6A championship and rise as high as fifth in the polls. West began that season with a 32-30 win over Deshaun Watson and the Gainesville Red Elephants.
West has now faced Walton twice and beaten the Raiders both times.
Running back Peyton Streko turned in a performance for the ages Friday, carrying the ball 22 times for 267 yards and six touchdowns. Streko now has 465 yards and eight touchdowns on 50 carries this season [9.3 yards per carry].
West combined for 605 total yards and limited Walton to just 86 rushing yards.
Keegan Stover was 13-for-20 passing for 282 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. Oscar Delp [7 catches, 156 yards, 1 TD] and Jaycen Harris [6 catches, 126 yards, 1 TD] accounted for all of Stover’s passing yards.
Streko scored from 68 and 30 yards inside the game’s final 8 ½ minutes to turn West’s two-point advantage into a 51-35 lead and secure one of the biggest wins in school history.
West’s resume grew even more impressive Friday night, when Cartersville ousted the No. 3 Class 5A team, Creekside, 17-14. West’s only loss this season is a 38-31 loss to Cartersville, which remained undefeated and appears to be one of the state’s best teams – regardless of classification.
West could shake up the rankings again this week against Mill Creek, the third-ranked team in the Class 7A AJC poll.
South can win on the ground, too
South Forsyth head coach Troy Morris said after the War Eagles’ scrimmage against North Gwinnett before the season that he felt he should have called more run plays.
A few quick scores by North Gwinnett flipped the game script and resulted in South carrying the ball 25 times for 66 yards. Same against Roswell – 25 carries for 89 yards. South’s 116 yards on 22 carries against Dawson County marked a season high, though Maverick Shippmann’s four carries for 63 yards came late in the fourth quarter.
Against Central Gwinnett, however, the War Eagles ran the ball with impunity.
As a team, South totaled 229 yards on 45 carries, with Austin Uidel leading the charge with 64 rushing yards and averaging more than nine yards per carry.
Twelve different players logged a carry, as Ty Watkins [11 carries, 23 yards, 2 TDs], Blaylen Lomax [10 carries, 63 yards], Maverick Shippmann [5 carries, 30 yards], Cole Yeager [4 carries, 18 yards] and Matt Daise [2 carries, minus-2 yards] each had more than one carry.
South’s rushing total is the most by a War Eagles offense since last year’s opener, when they carried the ball 39 times for 256 yards and three touchdowns in a 63-49 win against Dawson County.
Denmark/North will be war of attrition
Region play opens this week, and two of the area’s best front sevens are front and center as North Forsyth visits Denmark.
Both teams are coming off shutout victories, with North blanking Etowah 14-0 and Denmark holding Shiloh scoreless in an 8-0 victory two weeks ago.
The Raiders’ defense is smothering opposing running backs and has given up only one rushing touchdown – a 79-yard score by Dalton running back Journey Boston. North’s defense held Alcovy to minus-38 rushing yards, limited Harrison to 54 rushing yards and surrendered only 70 total yards to Etowah.
Denmark, meanwhile, hasn’t allowed an opponent into the end zone since the second quarter against Banneker Aug. 27.
Expect a war of attrition from these two defensive stalwarts Thursday night.
True test ahead for Lambert
Lambert is 4-0 for the second straight season, and the Longhorns have a chance to reach 5-0 for the first time since 2012.
Lambert was faced with the same situation last year and fell flat in a 44-14 loss to South Forsyth. The Longhorns went 1-5 through the final six games to finish 5-5 – still a vast improvement from 0-10 the season before.
This year has been different for the Longhorns, who are outscoring opponents 164-44 and are fresh off a 44-13 thrashing of Duluth.
Interestingly enough, Lambert trailed in each of its past two games. A pick-six on Lambert’s opening drive gave Meadowcreek a 7-0 lead and a fumble on the Longhorns’ third play from scrimmage Friday led to an early Duluth touchdown.
Lambert scored 38 unanswered points against Meadowcreek, and against Duluth, the Longhorns outscored the Wildcats 44-6 after that first touchdown to improve to 4-0.
The question of whether the Longhorns can hang with the War Eagles will be answered Thursday night, but don’t expect either team to win by 30 points.
Peyton Streko, RB, West Forsyth: 22 carries, 267 yards, 6 TD
Oscar Delp, TE, West Forsyth: 7 catches, 156 yards, 1 TD
Jaycen Harris, WR, West Forsyth: 6 catches, 126 yards
Raleigh Herbert, LB, West Forsyth: 12 tackles
Brady Gillis, LB, West Forsyth: 4 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack
Jay Helstone, DL, West Forsyth: 4 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 QB hurry
Grey Brockman, DB, West Forsyth: 8 tackles, 3 PBU, 1 blocked punt
Camden Leak, LB, Forsyth Central: 15 tackles, 1 PBU
Carson Leak, LB, Forsyth Central: 10 tackles, 1 TFL
Austin McNeil, DB, Forsyth Central: 6 tackles, 1 INT
Ty Watkins, QB, South Forsyth: 7 for 13, 116 yards; 11 carries, 23 yards, 2 TD
Ian Diaz, LB, South Forsyth: 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 fumble recovery
Tyler Simpson, K, South Forsyth: Made FG from 45, 39, 36 yards; 2-for-2 on PAT
Josh Nelson, WR/DB, South Forsyth: 6 tackles, 1 INT
Collin Miller, LB, North Forsyth: 8 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 QB hurry, 1 forced fumble
Patrick Corrigan, LB/RB, North Forsyth: 7 tackles, 3 TFL; 16 carries, 78 yards, 2 TD
Logan Curry, DB, North Forsyth: 4 tackles, 1 INT
Chris Herock, DL/OL, North Forsyth: 2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry; also played left guard
James Tyre, QB, Lambert: 9 for 12, 182 yards, 1 TD; 10 carries, 87 yards
Kojo Antwi, WR, Lambert: 6 carries, 79 yards, 2 TD
Ethan Terry, RB, Lambert: 17 carries, 49 yards, 3 TD
Darren Guy, WR/S, Lambert: 2 catches, 28 yards; 1 INT