1. Special teams were under a microscope
West Forsyth mustered just 136 yards of total offense Friday during a 19-9 loss to McCallie (Tenn.).
One reason the Wolverines were still in the game in the fourth quarter is their defense. Another is their special teams unit.
Running back Daba Fofana, who doubles as the team's punter, had four punts for 181 yards (45.3 average), including three punts from inside the 10-yard line.
For context, Andy Lee led the NFL last year with 48.6 yards per punt. Overall, there were 22 punters in the league whose average fell below Fofana's Friday night mark.
West also had a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dalton Tjong in the fourth quarter, which ignited West's sideline and gave the Wolverines a chance to make it a one-score game. Kicker Alex Wilson converted his only field goal, a 23-yard attempt, to make it a nearly perfect night for West's special teams.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the county, a missed field goal and a botched extra point doomed North Forsyth in a 14-13 loss to Woodstock.
Arguably, the biggest play of South Forsyth's 42-19 loss to No. 6 Hillgrove came when the Hawks blocked a kick for a touchdown. South had another special teams miscue when Hillgrove ran back a punt for a 70-yard touchdown.
With Region 5-7A play starting next week, expect some close games. And you can bet special teams will be a deciding factor.
2. Denmark's region is a three-headed monster
Speaking of region games, Region 7-4A play began last week with Denmark obliterating Chestatee 58-0.
The other top teams in the region, No. 2 Marist and No. 4 Blessed Trinity, also won decisively, as Marist led White County 32-7 at halftime before winning 35-20, and Blessed Trinity steamrolled West Hall 38-6.
Now, unbeaten Denmark plays winless West Hall on Friday, but one can't help but look forward to next week, when the Danes go to Blessed Trinity with a chance to shake up the region.
Blessed Trinity is coming off its second consecutive state championship, but the Titans aren't impenetrable.
Running back Steele Chambers rushed for 1,680 yards and 25 touchdowns last year, but he's off at Ohio State. Now it appears freshman Justice Haynes is the heir apparent at running back.
But Denmark's defense has three shutouts under its belt this season, with a 38-24 win at Dawson County being the lone exception. The Danes have 30 tackles for loss in four games this season, including five during last week's win.
Denmark might have been new kid on the block last year, but this season it's clear the Danes are part of a three-headed monster in Region 7-4A.
3. Don't let the final score fool you, South Forsyth can be really good
South held its own for the first half Friday against Hillgrove, and even into the third quarter before the Hawks pulled away.
It was a 7-0 game after Joe Slott found Colby Cruz in the second quarter for a 63-yard touchdown, then the War Eagles were a blocked field goal away from taking a 14-10 deficit into halftime.
But the blocked kick before halftime changed the momentum, and Slott was sacked six times, including three times by five-star Clemson commit Myles Murphy.
South has shown incredible resolve this season, winning a couple of close road games earlier this month, and nearly erasing a 27-point fourth-quarter deficit against Blessed Trinity.
Not every team has a player like Murphy on its defense. And when South's offense has time to operate, it's can be one of the top units in the state.
Mix that with a defense that picked off the ball twice against Hillgrove and now has eight turnovers in five games, and South Forsyth can be special.
Daba Fofana, RB/P, (West Forsyth): 12 carries, 67 yards; 4 punts, 181 yards (45.3 average)
Dalton Tjong, DB, (West Forsyth): 93-yard punt return touchdown; interception
Arthur Marsden, DE, (Denmark): 5 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble
Justin Bradford, DB, (Denmark): 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 2 TDs
Branden Redecker, LB, (Forsyth Central): 9 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 fumble recovery
Jack Tucker, LB, (North Forsyth): 7 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry
Brady Meitz, QB, (North Forsyth): 16-of-22 passing, 148 yards, 2 TDs; 4 rushes, 6 yards
Colby Cruz, WR, (South Forsyth): TD catches of 80, 63 yards; interception