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PAGLIA: 3 things I think will happen this season
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Forsyth County News

It has arrived, although not with the resounding impact it used to. Not with camp after camp, passing league after passing league, tournaments and voluntary practices over the summer.

Of course, high school sports are no longer confined to the school year. But that shouldn’t diminish yesterday’s milestone – the earliest possible date under Georgia High School Association rules that high school teams can hold practice, the first day of the year that football teams can hold full-pad workouts.

Like spring training in baseball, or training camp in football, this is the ritual moment when we know high school sports have returned. Cross country races, softball games and volleyball matches will begin in a couple weeks. The first night of football isn’t for another three weeks. But we know it’s not too far away, and we can feel the momentum building to when rivalries and competition will reach a compelling crescendo.

In honor of yesterday’s milestone, here are three things I think will happen this season of fall sports:

West Forsyth football won’t be alone

The Wolverines have recent history on their side to believe they can be back in the state playoffs this season. They’ve had back-to-back double digit win seasons and three consecutive trips to the state playoffs. They somehow came out of the school’s first senior class even stronger, which speaks to the way coach Frank Hepler and staff have created a program that develops talent. But here’s to believing either Lambert or South Forsyth can find a way to grab another playoff spot in Region 6-AAAAAA. Lambert needs to find enough offense to support a defense that returns eight starters. South needs to find enough defense to support an offense that returns myriad play-makers. But both could make a nice jump from 5-5 and 4-6 seasons, respectively, last year.

South Forsyth volleyball reaches state finals

The Lady War Eagles went 34-19 last season and lost in the Class 6A quarterfinals to Harrison. They had the County Co-Player of the Year in sophomore Taylor Svehla. They had the County Setter of the Year in junior Kelli McCravy. Combine the return of Svehla, McCravy and South’s four other starters, and the Lady War Eagles instantly become one of the top contenders for the state title this season. Sure, plenty of things have to go right for South, like good health and team chemistry. A favorable bracket doesn’t hurt, either. But everything’s in place for South to make an historic run.

Every Forsyth softball reaches playoffs

It was a party last year, and every county softball team was invited. Lambert (23-10), North (19-12), South (15-14-2) and West (17-15) swept the four playoffs spots in Region 6-AAAAAA, while Forsyth Central (17-18) made a surprise run in the Region 7-AAAAA tournament to reach the state playoffs. It’s a tough feat to pull off, but here’s to believing county softball has become stable enough to warrant that kind of confidence.

Brian Paglia is sports editor of the Forsyth County News. He can be reached at 770-205-8982, or on Twitter at @BrianPaglia.