Region 6-7A championship is Friday night at The Den
Denmark will make its first trip to West Forsyth on Friday, and the stakes couldn’t be much higher.
Both teams won last week, which sets up a de facto Region 6-7A championship. Denmark beat Gainesville 24-21 and is undefeated in region play, while West overcame a first-half scare to beat Lambert 42-27 and owns one region loss this season.
If West beats Denmark, the Wolverines will have the same region record as Denmark but will hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Danes beat West, they’re the region champions.
QB Aaron McLaughlin played through a leg injury against Gainesville yet still threw three touchdown passes, while Brandon Britton rushed for 101 yards behind a finally healthy offensive line. Denmark’s defense surrendered a couple of big plays, but the Danes largely kept an athletic Gainesville offense in check.
Meanwhile, West is dealing with its own injuries. RB Daba Fofana tore his ACL against South Forsyth, and senior captain Dalton Tjong hasn’t played since a 20-17 loss to Mill Creek on Oct. 2. Still, the Wolverines are riding a four-game winning streak and could win their first region championship since 2012.
Friday’s matchup is also unique in that it features a pair of first-year head coaches in West’s Dave Svehla and Denmark’s Mike Palmieri.
South could be a No. 4 seed nobody wants to face
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
South needs to beat Forsyth Central to keep its playoff hopes alive – and while the Bulldogs are not eligible for postseason play, they already displayed a knack for playing spoiler earlier this season. In fact, Central’s 26-21 win against South in 2018 locked up the Bulldogs’ first playoff appearance since 2001.
However, if South does get past Central, it would make the War Eagles the No. 4 seed heading into the first round of the Class 7A playoffs, where South would travel to the Region 7-7A champion. Norcross (9-0) will face Archer (6-3) on Friday to determine the Region 7-7A winner.
Norcross put South out of the playoffs last season, but the War Eagles’ most memorable game against the Blue Devils came in 2015, when South won 20-14 on its way to an appearance in the Class 7A quarterfinals.
South’s 52-7 victory against North Forsyth is the War Eagles’ largest margin of victory since a 52-0 win against Pinecrest Academy in 2016.
Lambert loss emblematic of 2020 season
Lambert jumped out to a 21-6 lead Friday against West Forsyth, providing some hope that the Longhorns had one more trick up their sleeve. But a 29-point third quarter from West erased the deficit and any hope of an upset.
In some ways, the loss painted a picture of Lambert’s 2020 season, as the Longhorns won their first four games of the season but dropped five of their last six contests.
Those five wins provide plenty of optimism for a Lambert program that had its best season in four years.
Kojo Antwi remains one of the top players in the state, while Grayson Mains will return to anchor the Longhorns’ offensive line after a junior season that saw the 6-foot-5, 265-pound tackle pick up offers from Kansas and Mississippi State.
Pinecrest set for GAPPS 8-man Division II state championship
Just a few months ago, Pinecrest’s season was in doubt because of a lack of players.
Now the Paladins are one win away from a GAPPS 8-man Division II state championship in their first season among the 8-man ranks.
Pinecrest best Hearts Academy 66-6 last week in the semifinals and will host Lanier Christian on Friday in the championship game. The Paladins blanked Lanier Christian earlier this season, 42-0.
Ricky Stever III, Forsyth Central: 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 1 forced fumble
Ryder Stewart, West Forsyth: 14 carries, 98 yards, 1 TD; 3 catches, 63 yards, 1 TD
Cooper Johnson, West Forsyth: 2 catches, 76 yards, 2 TDs
Raleigh Herbert, West Forsyth: 9 tackles – 6 solo – 1 TFL, 1 INT, 3 pass breakups
Kyle Peterson, West Forsyth: 6 tackles – 4 solo – 3 TFL, 1 QB hurry, 1 forced fumble
Kojo Antwi, Lambert: 4 catches, 160 yards, 2 TDs
Jack Stewart, Lambert: 3 catches, 80 yards, 1 TD
Jake Johnson, Lambert: 9 tackles – 6 solo – 1 QB hurry, 1 sack
Darren Guy, Lambert: 6 tackles – 3 solo – 1 ½ tackles for loss, 1 QB hurry, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble
Kyle Durham, South Forsyth: 9 for 12, 195 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; 8 carries, 61 yards, 2 TDs
Devin McGlockton, South Forsyth: 4 catches, 77 yards, 2 TDs
Ian O’Dowd, South Forsyth: 5 solo tackles, 3 TFL, 2 QB hurries
Chris Nelson, South Forsyth: 2 carries, 58 yards, 1 TD; 1 catch, 41 yards, 1 TD
Riley Smith, North Forsyth: 2 catches, 65 yards, 1 TD
Brandon Britton, Denmark: 17 carries, 101 yards; 2 catches 35 yards
Aaron McLaughlin, Denmark: 14 for 19, 197 yards, 3 TDs
Azari Brown, Denmark: 3 catches, 88 yards, 2 TDs