By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Eight South Forsyth seniors sign on National Signing Day
South Forsyth football coach Troy Morris, left, introduces senior Ian O'Dowd, who signed Wednesday to play football at Berry College. - photo by David Roberts

Cal Jacchia and Ian O'Dowd spent much of their senior season in the backfield of opposing offenses.

The two figure to spend plenty of time there in college, too, after both signed Wednesday to play football at Berry College.

"It means everything, because freshman year I didn't play football ... everyone just accepted me," Jacchia said. "Playing middle school with them, I was still friends with them and whatnot. It just means the world, and being able to go with Ian O'Dowd, it's a lifelong dream."

South Forsyth had eight seniors sign to play sports in college: Jacchia [football, Berry College]; O'Dowd [football, Berry College]; Kennedy Arnette [golf, Shorter University]; Ethan Barlag [lacrosse, Manhattan University]; JD Cheatham [lacrosse, Piedmont College]; Ethan Duerk [lacrosse, Jacksonville University]; Ashley Chu [softball, Emory University]; and Ansley Morrison [tennis, Georgia College and State University].

Jacchia said he and O'Dowd took their official visit to Berry College together.

Three years ago, Jacchia wasn't sure if he even wanted to play football.

"I really just was focused on baseball freshman year," he said. "But after seeing what my teammates accomplished and everything freshman year, I just wanted to give it a shot and see if I could be a part of that. I really love football."

Jacchia finished with 51 total tackles in 2021 despite playing just seven games, adding eight tackles for loss, three QB hurries and a sack. O'Dowd had 33 tackles, including seven for loss, with nine QB hurries, two sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception.

Arnette was South's top golfer last spring as a junior, finishing with an 18-hole average of 81 strokes. She also finished 12th overall at the Class 7A state championship and shot an 8-over 79 at the Area 2-7A tournament to lead the War Eagles to a second-place finish.

South's boys lacrosse team had three seniors sign, including Ethan Duerk, an all-state selection who won 75 percent of his faceoffs and reached 200 career faceoff wins in 2021. Barlag posted 167 saves in goal for the War Eagles, which was 62 percent of the shots against him. 

Chu signed with Emory after batting .338 with 13 RBIs and 11 stolen bases as a senior. On defense, Chu posted a perfect fielding percentage in center field and did not commit a single error. After softball season, she quarterbacked the War Eagles' flag football team to a region championship and was named the 2021 Forsyth County News Player of the Year.

Morrison will join her older sister, Ashton Morris, at Georgia College and State University after signing with the Bobcats on Wednesday.

"It was a lot less stressful, which was great because I'm very introverted," Morrison said. "So, through the whole process, I went to all the other schools, but I just didn't interact with the coaches very well because I'm so shy. But then I went and I met Coach [Steve] Barsby, and he already knew my family and knew the dynamic and all that. It felt so easy. I feel people kind of think I only went there because of my sister, but I looked at a lot of other colleges and none of them felt as comfortable as GCSU."