ROSWELL – A dominant running attack, a stout defensive game plan, and great special teams allowed South Forsyth to cruise 56-21 at Centennial Friday night.
Heading into Friday night’s showdown, Centennial (1-1) was coming off of a monumental season opener victory over Wheeler. The atmosphere Friday night was proof that something special might come from the Knights in their inaugural season in Region 7-6A. The South Forsyth War Eagles (2-1) were coming off of their first ever victory against Pinecrest Academy in an effortless 52-0 win over the Paladins.
Friday night saw the Knights try to shorten the gap in a series that has been dominated by the War Eagles, 5-1 all time, but turnovers and missed opportunities from the Knights offense would prove to be their downfall.
“Our defense got after it. Coming in we said this was one of the best we play. He is a really good quarterback, and the effort we got out of our defensive line. You could just see it,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said.
The first quarter of the contest proved to be the most critical as both teams blew opportunities to strike first and swing the momentum in their favor. The first drives of the game saw Knights quarterback Casen Conway and South’s Shanley drive the field only to turn it over.
It wasn’t until Conway connected with Austin Williams on a 67-yard pass that the game finally saw someone score. Shanley and the War Eagles, after being set up with great field position, punched it in after Shanley found Guy Morra on a 37-yard touchdown pass.
“This was a great win,” said Arnette. “Offensively when we don’t have penalties and don’t turn the ball over we’re hard to stop.”
The War Eagles went on to take advantage of the Knights second and most pivotal turnover by taking the lead and never looking back. Shanley and the War Eagles turned to the run game in Tyler Bowman who ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns on the night. South had full command of the game going into halftime leading 29-15.
Shanley finished 12 of 14 passing for 178 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
“Fifty-sx points and a guy like Shanley who can pull the trigger and then Bowman ran unbelievable,” said Arnette.
Shanley drove the offense after halftime on a long drive capped off by a Morra touchdown pass to take full command, 36-15. Ryan Pontrelli, who had six receptions for 70 yards, provided the dagger when he erupted for a 65-yard punt return to the house putting the War Eagles on top 43-15.
“Our special teams are special,” said Arnette. “Our special teams are taking pride in it and are playing like crazy. I’m proud of all three phases of the game.”
“Our goal is to win region. We gotta find a way to get rid of those[turnovers. We really came in and took over the game,” said Arnette.
With the win South continues its streak heading into a showdown with South Gwinnett at home next Friday. The Knights will look to rebound at home against Alpharetta.