All eyes turn to Denmark/South Forsyth this week for a game that could ultimately determine the Region 6-7A champion.
1. Denmark/South Forsyth could be for region title
Denmark and South Forsyth enter Friday’s game unblemished in region play. Every other team in Region 6-7A has at least two losses, which firmly plants the winner of this game in the driver’s seat.
Lambert and North Forsyth are next closest – both at 2-2 – though Denmark holds the tiebreaker over North Forsyth and Lambert, while South Forsyth holds the tiebreaker over Lambert. [North Forsyth/South Forsyth has yet to happen.]
South grinded one out last week, falling short of the 33.8 points they averaged through the first five games in a 17-9 win against Gainesville. But that thrust the War Eagles’ defense into the spotlight, as South held the Red Elephants out of the end zone until the game’s final minute. South collected 12 tackles for loss and sacked QB Baxter Wright five times. Seven different players had at least one stop behind the line and Maverick Schippmann led the War Eagles with four tackles for loss.
And as South battled Gainesville, Denmark had an extra week to rest and scheme for the War Eagles.
Denmark’s secondary might be the most talented group on South’s schedule since Roswell. Kenon Dicks and Treston Jordan each have multiple interceptions, as does linebacker Jelani Miller. Denmark has surrendered 58 total points all season, and the Danes boast the second-best scoring defense in Class 7A behind Collins Hill.
South proved last week it can lean on its defense to win games. Denmark has proven that all season. The difference, however, is a high-octane South offense led by a quarterback in Ty Watkins who has thrown 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions. How will one of the top offenses in Class 7A matchup against the classification’s second-best scoring defense?
2. Here comes West Forsyth
It was only a matter of time before West Forsyth’s bad luck ran out.
The Wolverines outgained all three of their opponents during that three-game skid [West Forsyth 323 – Mill Creek 278; West Forsyth 331 – North Forsyth 261; West Forsyth 409 – South Forsyth 312], but that only tells part of the story as costly turnovers and penalties sent the Wolverines spiraling to start region play.
West hit the reset button Friday against Forsyth Central, winning 42-10 and outscoring the Bulldogs 28-0 after halftime. It was just what West needed. The Wolverines averaged 6.4 yards per carry, QB Keegan Stover threw five touchdown passes and was under pressure only two times all night, and 10 different players logged a tackle for loss on defense.
West faces an uphill climb to qualify for the playoffs, but Friday’s game against Gainesville will break a tie for fifth place, then the outcome of next week’s game against Lambert will likely determine a playoff spot.
According to the Gainesville Times, the Red Elephants could be without Baxter Wright this week against West Forsyth after Gainesville’s starting QB left in the fourth quarter of last week’s game because of injury.
3. Lambert appears primed for playoffs
Similar to West Forsyth, Lambert appears to be hitting its stride after a rocky region debut.
The Longhorns have won two of their past three games after beating North Forsyth 26-7 on Friday. QB James Tyre was electric, completing 11 of 15 passes for 162 yards and a score, gashing North’s defense for 86 rushing yards, many of which came on scrambles that turned into long, meandering runs into the second level.
Harrison Peyton exploded for 130 yards and a touchdown against a tough front seven, which marked a season high for Lambert’s running back.
Lambert last reached the postseason in 2016, but if the Longhorns win out against Forsyth Central and West Forsyth, they will be playoff bound and give coach Tommy Watson a significant milestone in his second season at Lambert.
4. Pinecrest defense the real deal
It’s difficult enough to beat Pinecrest, but when you turn the ball over seven times, it’s just about impossible.
The Paladins feasted on defense Saturday during a 49-12 win against Notre Dame Academy, forcing four interceptions and recovering three fumbles. Brock Barbee, Nick Bohn, Jake Bohn and Peter Birozes each had an interception, with Jake Bohn and Nick Bohn each scoring a pick-six.
Nick Bohn also had a fumble recovery, as did Johnny Lynch and Alex White.
Excellent defense has been a theme for Pinecrest this season, as the Paladins are limiting opposing offenses to just 9.7 points per game.
Next up for 6-1 Pinecrest is a North Georgia team that shares two common opponents with the Paladins. North Georgia fell earlier this season to Harvester Christian, 21-6, a team that Pinecrest beat last month 28-14. Both teams also earned convincing wins over Community Christian.
Camden Yeager, WR, Forsyth Central: 5 catches, 30 yards, TD
Carson Leak, LB, Forsyth Central: 13 tackles, 1 QB pressure
Camden Leak, LB, Forsyth Central: 12 tackles
David Navarrete, WR, East Forsyth: 2 catches, 62 yards
James Tyre, QB, Lambert: 11 for 15, 162 yards, 1 TD; 10 carries, 86 yards
Harrison Peyton, RB, Lambert: 24 carries, 130 yards, 1 TD
Luke Logan, TE, Lambert: 2 catches, 47 yards, 1 TD
Tommy Morris, DB, Lambert: INT returned for TD
Logan Curry, WR/DB, North Forsyth: 3 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD; 2 tackles, 1 PBU
Collin Miller, LB, North Forsyth: 11 tackles, 2 TFL; 2 blocked FG
Chris Herock, DL, North Forsyth: 10 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack
Gavin Morris, RB, South Forsyth: 18 carries, 79 yards, 2 TD; fumble recovery
Josh Nelson, WR/DB, South Forsyth: 3 catches, 109 yards
Maverick Schippmann, LB, South Forsyth: 11 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks
Conner Futch, LB, South Forsyth: 3 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack
Nathan Efobi, DL, South Forsyth: 3 tackles, 2 TFL
Breckin Barbee, QB, Pinecrest: 9 for 10, 164 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 6 carries, 30 yards, 1 TD
Brock Barbee, RB/LB, Pinecrest: 13 tackles, 1 INT; 6 carries, 30 yards, 1 TD
Colin Brown, WR/DB, Pinecrest: 4 catches, 60 yards, 2 TD
Nick Bohn, LB, Pinecrest: INT returned for TD; fumble recovery
Jake Bohn, LB, Pinecrest: INT returned for TD
Keegan Stover, QB, West Forsyth: 14 for 21, 238 yards, 5 TD; 5 carries, 59 yards
Oscar Delp, TR, West Forsyth: 5 catches, 106 yards, 1 TD
Ashton van Horn, WR, West Forsyth: 4 catches, 40 yards, 2 TD
Dylan Baggett, WR, West Forsyth: 3 catches, 90 yards, 2 TD
Raleigh Herbert, LB, West Forsyth: 6 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 QB hurries