Two teams are 1-0 in region play, while West Forsyth tested itself against one of the top teams in the entire state.
Here’s what we learned from Week 5.
No better feeling than 1-0
Denmark and South Forsyth both started region play on the right foot Friday night, with the Danes beating North Forsyth 20-17 and the War Eagles topping Lambert 35-13.
Denmark and South – as well as Gainesville – now sit atop the Region 6-7A standings heading into fall break.
Denmark’s defense forced four turnovers in the win, with Treston Jordan and Jelani Miller returning interceptions for touchdowns, Drew Clare recovering a fumble, and Kenon Dicks sealing the game with an interception on the Raiders’ final possession.
South, meanwhile, won its third straight game, none of which have been particularly close. The War Eagles are outscoring their last three opponents 107-37 after a tough season-opening loss to a Roswell team that is still undefeated and currently No. 6 in the latest Class 7A poll.
Gainesville could be a contender
All but one Region 6-7A teams hail from Forsyth County, which gives the county a decent shot at producing a region champion this season.
However, Gainesville appears plenty capable of playing spoiler.
The Red Elephants opened region play with a 34-7 win against Forsyth Central, piling up 481 yards of total offense. They collected 304 yards on the ground, receiving three touchdowns from dynamic running back Naim Cheeks.
Cheeks, a three-year starter, rushed for 1,270 yards last season. Quarterback Baxter Wright, who has thrown just six incompletions in the past two games [38-for-44, 447 yards], will also be a challenge for Forsyth County defenses.
Are we sure Ty Watkins is a junior?
South Forsyth’s starting quarterback played more like a senior Thursday night against Lambert, accounting for four touchdowns and more than 200 total yards.
Watkins threw a pair of touchdown passes to Josh Nelson and Chris Nelson to open the scoring. The first came with Watkins rolling to his right and firing a perfect 8-yard TD pass with two defenders trailing Josh Nelson, and on the next drive, Watkins lofted a 24-yard pass that Chris Nelson pulled down and away from Lambert safety Darren Guy for the score.
Perhaps his most impressive play came on a fourth-and-5, when he stepped up in the pocket, scrambled to his right and tip-toed down the sidelines before diving across the goal line to cap a 36-yard TD run.
In his first season leading South’s offense, Watkins is completing 60 percent of his passes and averaging more than 20 yards per completion, scoring 11 total touchdowns [seven passing, four rushing] and throwing zero interceptions.
No shame in West’s loss to Mill Creek
The first-ever matchup between two ranked teams at Wolverine Stadium resulted in a 38-10 win by Mill Creek over West Forsyth.
Mill Creek, ranked No. 3 in Class 7A, certainly looked the part. The Hawks have elite athleticism all over the field and have now outscored their four opponents this season 157-40 – three of which were ranked at the time.
West trailed 10-0 at the end of the first quarter, but a 25-yard TD pass from Keegan Stover to Peyton Streko in the second quarter made it a one-score game, and with just over a minute left in the half, the Wolverines attempted a field goal that could have sent the two teams into halftime tied.
Instead, Zekai Wimby changed the direction of the game, blocking the field goal and allowing Zach Jollay to scoop it up and return it for a touchdown.
Mill Creek scored on its first two second-half drives and West suddenly trailed 31-7.
It also noticeably changed West’s game script. Stover attempted a career-high 38 passes and the Wolverines ran the ball just 26 times for 48 yards.
Riley McKee, LB, West Forsyth: 7 tackles, 2 TFL
Raleigh Herbert, LB, West Forsyth: 5 tackles, ½ TFL, ½ sack, 2 QB hurries
Ryder Stewart, RB, West Forsyth: 4 catches, 60 yards
Cole Williams, LB, South Forsyth: 5 tackles, 2 TFL
Ty Watkins, QB, South Forsyth: 8 for 10, 139 yards, 3 TD; 65 rush yards, 1 TD
Josh Nelson, DB/WR, South Forsyth: 8-yard TD catch; 6 tackles; 59-yard kickoff return
Gavin Morris, RB, South Forsyth: 80 total yards, 2 TD
Malachi McElroy, RB, Forsyth Central: 27 carries, 108 yards, TD
Brock Barbee, RB, Pinecrest: 8 carries, 73 yards, 2 TD; 19 tackles
Ryan Bartling, WR/LB, Pinecrest: 1 catch, 85 yards, 1 TD; 7 tackles, 1 fumble recovery for TD
Che Ojarikre, WR, Denmark: 1 catch, 74 yards, TD
Jelani Miller, LB, Denmark: INT returned for TD
Treston Jordan, DB, Denmark: INT returned for TD
Kenon Dicks, DB, Denmark: INT
Chandler DeBlois, DB, North Forsyth: INT
Collin Miller, LB, North Forsyth: 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 fumble recovery