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Football preview: South Forsyth at Etowah
War Eagles make first playoff appearance since 2010
JohnsCreekSouth 6 web
South Forsyth and running back Tyler LaFlamme take on Etowah in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs. - photo by Micah Green

South Forsyth at Etowah

When, where: Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Eagle Stadium in Woodstock.

Records, rankings: South is 6-4 overall, the No. 3 seed from Region 6-AAAAAA and unranked; Etowah is 8-2, the No. 2 seed from Region 5-AAAAAA and unranked.

Series history: First meeting.

Last meeting: None.

What to know: Etowah lost its best offensive weapon after just five games, but the Eagles didn’t slow down one bit. Raishod Devezin had rushed for exactly 1,000 yards in those five games (and part of a sixth game) before going down with an injury that he has yet to return from. He will not play on Friday against South, according to Etowah head coach Dave Svehla. Raishod’s younger brother, Tyray, proved a big-play threat himself. Tyray, a 5-foot-9, 172-pound sophomore, started just four games but rushed for 922 yards and eight touchdowns, going over 200 yards twice.

South fans, skip over this part: Etowah rushed for 3,224 yards (7.5 per carry) and 39 touchdowns in 10 games. That’s what the Eagles do: line it up in the I-formation and run it right at their opponents, a la Wisconsin or Arkansas. Etowah has six offensive linemen listed at 280-plus pounds. When Etowah does throw, senior quarterback Robbie Knox (6-1, 170) is efficient, with 1,090 yards and 11 touchdowns, and not turnover-prone (three interceptions). Knox spreads it around to 6-foot-5, 175-pound senior receiver Noah Dye (240 yards) and 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior Bronson Rechsteiner (279 yards).

South needs a perfect day from its offensive line to neutralize Etowah’s pass rush that has 41 sacks this season. Blaine Miller has eight of those; Alan-Michael Harris has seven sacks and ten tackles for loss, and Stuart Head leads the Eagles with 102 tackles. In South’s losses this season, running back Tyler LaFlamme was held in check. If he can pick up chunks of yardage (and not get hit as soon as he takes the handoff), South should be able to move the ball on an Etowah defense that gave up more than 21 points per game. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Maxwell Projections grow more accurate as the season wears on as it gets data from additional games; it projects Etowah as a 26-point home favorite. The Eagles’ two losses this season came in triple-overtime to Woodstock and one week later to state-ranked Milton, when Raishod Devezin went down.

Maxwell Projection: Etowah by 26.