Forsyth County’s two most successful football teams from the 2015 season are not only neighbors, but are slated to start an unprecedented two-game series this fall. Pinecrest Academy and South Forsyth, both region champions and winners of at least one game in the state playoffs in their respective classes, have come to a handshake agreement to face off in 2016 and 2017, according to the team’s head coaches.
Pinecrest is part of the Georgia High School Association’s smallest classification, Class A (Private), and fields a team of just over 40 players, while South will move into the newly-created Class AAAAAAA. Pinecrest is coming off a 10-2 season, while the War Eagles went 11-2.
“It looks like it’s going to happen,” Arnette said. “Winter has tried to play us the last two years. We had to find five non-region games, which gave us the opportunity to finally do that.”
Pinecrest head coach Todd Winter wanted to schedule a game against one of the Forsyth public schools for the last few years, with South being a first choice because of geography—the two schools are just one mile apart along Peachtree Parkway on the south side of the county. Pipe dream turned to reality when South head coach Jeff Arnette was tasked with finding five non-region games, rather than the usual one as a part of Region 6-AAAAAA, of which members played nine-game region schedules. South will be a part of Region 5-AAAAAAA, with just five other teams, starting in the fall.
The game will not be officially confirmed until the GHSA ratifies the new regions on Jan. 13. The GHSA met Tuesday to hear appeals for lateral region transfers across classes. Winter said Duluth and Discovery, a new school in Gwinnett County, applied to transfer into 5-AAAAAAA but were denied.
“Nobody really wanted to play us,” Winter said. “The only school that reached out to us was Calvary Day, and the problem with that was travel to Savannah. With the power ranking system, every game matters. They’re seven A, so just by playing them we get three points.
“Credit to coach Arnette for giving the thumbs up. I think it’ll be a great game for Forsyth County.”
Winter said he also fielded calls to Forsyth Central, West Forsyth and Lambert, with no luck.
Pinecrest opened its 2015 season against Class AAAAA member North Springs, winning 42-15, albeit against a Spartans team that has struggled against its own class for years. South, which played neck-in-neck with Colquitt County—the No.2 ranked team in the country by USA Today at the time of the game—presents a much greater challenge, though the War Eagles, like last year, will have to replace a lot of talent.
“They’re bigger, a lot of speed,” Winter said. “They are just down the street. The atmosphere will be great.”
Because of capacity requirements for attendance, both games will be played at South Forsyth. South quarterback Davis Shanley, recently named the Region 6-AAAAAA offensive player of the year, played receiver at Pinecrest until his ninth grade year when he transferred.