By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
South Forsyth’s football program is not one accustomed to double-digit losses.
2017’s playoff loss to Mountain View aside, one would have to search as far back as the 2015 season to find any additional outcome benefitting a War Eagle opponent by more than two scores.
At the same time, South Head Coach Jeff Arnette is not one accustomed to mincing words.
Following his squad’s 35-6 loss at Blessed Trinity on Friday, South’s nine-year head coach shot as straight as ever.
“Tonight we got beat up,” Arnette said. “Offensively, we didn’t win the line of scrimmage. They whipped us up front for sure.”
South quarterback Drew Morris spent the majority of the evening scrambling both early and often from an incessant Titan pass rush, while fighting tooth-and-nail for any and every yard he could pick up with his legs. Of his 11 attempted passes, several were dropped, at least a pair were either over or underthrown, and four were completed for a total of 59 yards.
Blessed Trinity’s Jake Smith finished his night completing seven of 15 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown. Unfortunately for the War Eagles, it wasn’t the opposing quarterback who did the most damage in the passing game.
“We actually held our own on the defensive line,” Arnette said. “We had a lot of miscues—just eyes in the wrong places. They had two halfback passes for touchdowns.”
The first came on a second-and-eight from South’s 12-yard-line. Smith tossed the football back to all-state running back Steele Chambers, who then served an easy touchdown pass right back to his quarterback for a 14-point-lead.
“They just got us on that,” Arnette said. “We stopped the run and they were just doing other things.”
On their next possession, the Titans elected to keep their offense on the field on a fourth-and-three from the War Eagle 35. Once again, Smith tossed back to his running back. Once again, South’s defense found themselves dangerously out of place.
Chambers’ second touchdown pass went for 33 yards to Ryan Davis, who finished with five catches for 105 yards while repeatedly emerging dangerously behind the War Eagle secondary.
“On the second halfback pass, our eyes were in the wrong place, they connected and they scored,” Arnette said. “There were a lot of blunders.”
In addition to being caught out of place on a handful of long passes, one of South’s aforementioned blunders repeatedly took place on special teams. Three different snaps sailed high over the head of punter William Bota De Sosa, the first of which set the Titans up deep in War Eagle territory for what would be the game’s first score.
Layered within the bad snaps, defensive miscues and poor offensive line play, South committed a number of penalties, a pair of turnovers and generally seemed outclassed by the reigning Class 4A state champs.
Now 1-1, the War Eagles will continue their opening stretch of non-region games hosting Etowah in next week’s home-opener. With the season’s first loss out of the way, both Arnette and his War Eagles look to regroup and refocus on their all-too-familiar goal: winning the next game.
“It’s like I told the team,” Arnette said. “This coaching staff and these players don’t know but one thing, and that’s fight. So (we’ll) go back and get better.”