By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
Ask any coach: Turnovers can make or break games.
South Forsyth saw that first hand on Friday night, as the War Eagles gave the ball away five times in an important region matchup Friday night as Milton defeated the War Eagles, 35-21.
The Eagles (5-2, 2-0 Region 5-7A) took advantage of three-second half fumbles to score 29 unanswered points.
“We preach that it’s all about the ball and being able to get it out of their offense’s hands, scooping it up and get on it,” Milton head coach Adam Clack said. “You give the offense a few more shots to get in rhythm and that’s what happened tonight.”
After falling behind 6-0 at halftime, South (4-3, 1-1), got its first score on a Jordan Brunson six-yard touchdown. Landon Sims forced a turnover on the opening kickoff that allowed the War Eagles to take over inside Milton territory.
Milton would then turn on the offense as quarterback Jordan Yates connected with wide receiver Dylan Leonard to take the lead back for good. The next Milton possession saw Yates find Micah White all alone in the end zone for a 15-yard score.
After that, is when things went further south for the War Eagles.
After another turnover gave the ball back to the Eagles, Yates found Leonard for his second score of the night on a 32-yard pitch and catch. A Joseph Charleston two-point conversion increased Milton’s lead to 28-7 just seconds in to the fourth quarter.
Another South fumble would prove costly, as Joshua Edwards broke several tackles in route to a 25-yard touchdown to give Milton a lead 35-7 with nine minutes left in the game.
“I’m so proud of my guys,” Clack said. “We didn’t panic early, and when we finally started executing (on offense), we were able to create some breathing room.”
South head coach Jeff Arnette said his team had chances in the second half to keep Milton off balance, but the offensive miscues quickly turned the flow away from the War Eagles.
“We’re up 7-6 in the middle of the third quarter and the mistakes started,” Arnette said. “You can’t turn it over five times, giving up big plays, and we did that.”
South, however, wouldn’t go away quietly. Working with a short field, quarterback Drew Morris generated a nine-play 55yd scoring drive in just 2:37, with Cameron Schurr hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass.
The War Eagles took advantage of a high snap on a special teams play. Morris would continue the rally with several designed runs and a five-yard pass to Sims in the back of the end zone with 1:25 left to play.
Sims would then give his team another chance by recovering an onside kick, but the War Eagles turned the ball over on downs to end the game.
“I love these kids and these coaches,” Arnette said. “There’s no quit in this bunch no matter what the situation is.”
Morris completed 8 of 19 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He carried the ball 16 times for 119 yards. Brunson had 86 yards on 14 attempts.
“Drew’s a battler,” Arnette said. “He’ll be hurting as much as anybody about the turnovers, but if you’ve watched our football team, you know he doesn’t quit.”