South Forsyth 33, Northview 8
Northview 0 8 0 0–8
South Forsyth 14 10 6 3–33
SF: Camp 42 pass from White (kick good), 5:53
SF: Outlaw 1 run (kick good), 1:28
SF: FG Barbir 56, 7:58
SF: Kline 34 pass from White (kick good), 4:05
N: Conn 57 interception return, 0:13
SF: FG Barbir 19, 5:36
SF: FG Barbir 52, 1:57
SF: FG Barbir 44, 7:02
South Forsyth coach Jeff Arnette’s decision to send kicker Alex Barbir out for a 56-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter drew incredulous chuckles and glances in the bleachers at War Eagle Stadium.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, and Barbir had drilled that 56-yard kick and a 52-yard field goal, South fans were calling for Arnette to trot Barbir out for an attempt when a War Eagle drive stalled 85 yards from the end zone.
South used unrelenting pressure on Northview quarterback DJ Pearson, Barbir’s four field goals and two first-half touchdown passes from Matt White to hand Northview its first loss, 33-8, on Friday night.
"Their kicker killed us," Northview head coach Chad Davenport said. "I mean, how many times do you say that? He was unbelievable."
Barbir made 58- and 60-yard attempts in practice this week, but 56 is his longest made kick and tied for ninth-longest in state history with four other players.
"I didn’t have to convince coach Arnette to send me out there," Barbir said. "That was the longest kick we’ve attempted in a game, but after they saw me in practice this week, the coaches were confident giving me a shot."
Arnette smiled big when talking about his junior kicker, who had touchbacks on six of his eight kickoffs.
"Barbir out here tonight, I don’t know that I’ve seen any high schooler make from 56, 52 and 44 yards in the same game," he said. "If they have, I haven’t seen it."
South (5-1, 5-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) chased Pearson (9-for-22, 60 yards) all night. The War Eagles tallied five sacks and held the Arkansas State commit to negative-25 yards rushing before Pearson picked up 43 yards on the final play of the game. Northview (5-1 overall, 4-1 Region 6-AAAAAA) — averaging 42 points per game— turned the ball over on downs four times, punted three times, fumbled the ball away to South’s Austin Ataide and failed to score an offensive point for the first time since 2010.
"[Defensive coordinator Jason] Nash and his staff did an incredible job," Arnette said. "Pressure was the key and that’s what we’ve preached the past two weeks. That was in the difference in the game for the defense. If you give [Pearson] time, he’ll kill you, and our kids didn’t give Pearson any time to throw."
Northview’s first two series to open the game should’ve been a warning flare that Friday just wasn’t the Titans’ night. Right guard Brice Percynski false started, Pearson threw a backwards pass out of bounds for a seven-yard loss and threw incomplete the next play. Nate Phillips (14 carries, 153 yards) ran for 48 yards on 3rd-and-22 into South territory, but two Pearson incompletions and a 2-yard loss by Josh Moran doomed Northview to a punt.
South fumbled at its 27 two plays later. Northview went backwards and Pearson gained six yards on 4th-and-13.
"We were as bad on offense as we’ve been in four years," Davenport said. "We couldn’t block their defensive ends for very long. We had some penalties on offense, some bad breaks, and they whipped us."
The War Eagles were the first team all season to make Northview pay for sloppy offense. Matt White (10-for-16, 206 yards, 2 TD, INT) found Jalen Camp in a hole in the Northview zone on 3rd-and-8, and Camp (3 catches, 86 yards, TD) turned away from two Titan defensive backs and sprinted in from 42 yards out.
Northview punted, then White hit Drew Witalis for a 27-yard gain on 3rd-and-6 and Camp for 32 yards, down to the Titans’ 2. Sam Outlaw plunged in behind Griffin Landrum’s block to put the War Eagles ahead 14-0.
"They put everybody in the box to stop Tyler [LaFlamme]. I’d have done the same thing," Arnette said. "They made Matt throw the ball, and he threw the ball well. We worked on our passing game the past two weeks about as much as we ever have. Understand, if you watch a guy get as many yards as Tyler did, you’re going to say, ‘We’re not going to let that guy beat us.’"
LaFlamme finished with 70 yards on 29 carries. He ran 16 times in the second half for 50 yards as South threw just twice after halftime.
"They showed tonight they’re a lot more than [LaFlamme]," Davenport said. "The quarterback throws a good ball, the tight end [Cameron Kline] is great. They caught us in some bad coverages out of play-action. If we don’t stop LaFlamme, it’s going to be ugly, but we did a good job on him."
Kline (4 catches, 83 yards) made a leaping second-quarter catch in the end zone between four Northview defenders to haul in White’s heave on 3rd-and-10, giving South a 24-0 lead. Northview heads dropped, shoulders slumped, fingers pointed.
Northview linebacker Malcolm Conn scored the Titans’ only touchdown when he intercepted White off a tip from linebacker Joseph Macrina and hugged the sideline for a 57-yard pick-six with 13 seconds to play in the first half.
"I got a little greedy trying to get another field goal when [offensive coordinator] [Troy] Morris was telling me to slow up and not go for it," Arnette said. "The way Barbir was kicking, I thought we had to at least get him a shot."
It wouldn’t matter. Northview’s deepest foray into South territory in the second half was the War Eagles’ 29-yard line, until Pearson scrambled to the South 2 as time expired. Kline had two sacks on defense. Manny Godswill, Robby Johnson and Connor Sweeney each notched one sack.
"We played like every play could win or lose the game," Arnette said. "It’s just a huge win for our program, especially the way we did it."