It’s beginning to feel a lot like real game days in Forsyth County.
If you’ve got a hankering for football and live on the north side of town, North Forsyth will visit Forsyth Central tonight in the first and only scrimmage of the preseason for both teams. South Forsyth and West Forsyth will also dust off the headgear tonight, with West hosting Carrollton from Class AAAA and South taking it to the road against Winder-Barrow (AAAAA).
For Central coach Shane Williamson, the score against North won’t count when the clock hits zero, but the significance of being able to host a county opponent could be a litmus test for the Bulldogs as the prospect of moving to into the same class as the big four county teams looms large.
“The big thing is, it’s a big deal for the players and fans to play in what amounts to a county rivalry,” Williamson said. “However, for us as a football team, it’s a scrimmage at the end of the day. We’re going to play the first two quarters varsity and get junior varsity and ninth graders in the second half.
“We feel like both sides are going to play hard, so it gives us a good look early on, but at the same time we’ve got to be really careful with our depth.”
The scrimmage will also be an opportunity for Central to get a feel for its starting quarterback position. Williamson is looking at playing last year’s starting quarterback, Trey Abercrombie, and fellow signal caller Aubrey Blackmon as candidates at defensive back, though it may be tough to get a read on their ability against the pass-happy competition they’ll see during region play, compared to North’s run-heavy offense.
“Luckily we were able to see a lot of the spread in the offseason workouts we had,” Williamson said. “The bottom line is, we just want to see those kids play, whether it’s against the pass or a lot of run. Game type experience is what matters most.”
Lambert heads into a unique situation when it hosts Gwinnett County power Grayson, which finished 10-2 last season. Lambert is entering its second straight week with a scrimmage—teams that did not hold spring practices are allowed to scrimmage twice in preseason—after facing Creekview last Friday. The Longhorns, who open their season along with South next week, are the only team in the county to follow two scrimmages (Pinecrest scrimmages twice, but opens two weeks from now) with a season opener on Aug. 21
Despite the busy schedule, Lambert coach Louis Daniel knows his players can’t wait to get a crack at a traditional power like Grayson. In fact, the starters might play even more than they did last week, when many played into the third quarter.
“It’s a unique situation for us,” Daniel said. “Grayson is a very talented, well coached team so it’s a good evaluation opportunity for us. We stayed healthy last week and got some evaluation in. We love the challenge (of facing Grayson). The kids are excited. We want to go in and compete, but we also want to stay healthy.”
The Lambert-Grayson scrimmage will also create the possibility of a marquee matchup between two all-state caliber performers: Lambert’s Sean Bailey, committed to Cincinnati, and Grayson defensive end Mykelle McDaniel, who has received offers from over 30 D-I schools, including mail from the SEC powers.
Lambert and South will both have bye weeks after next week’s openers, while the rest of the county will begin its season on Aug. 28.
All games start at 7:30 p.m.
• Carrollton at West Forsyth
• Pinecrest at Wesleyan
• North Forsyth at Forsyth Central
• Grayson at Lambert
• South Forsyth at Winder-Barrow