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Football: South Forsyth qualifies for 7-on-7 national championship
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South Forsyth football went 9-0 to win the USA Football 7on7 Southeastern Regional Championship on Saturday at Lassiter. - photo by Twitter: @sofofootball

South Forsyth football came close just over a week ago to winning a 7-on-7 tournament at Lassiter High School. Instead, the War Eagles came up short, falling in the semifinals.

Back in Marietta this past Saturday, South turned the tables to win the USA Football 7on7 Southeastern Regional Championship, going undefeated in nine games. The War Eagles qualified for the national championship event July 14-16 in Hoover, Alabama, where they’ll compete against 31 other teams from around the country.

“The competition will be pretty extreme,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said. “The talent will be great. Our kids, one things about them is it doesn’t matter who they’re going against, they’re going to compete.”

South defeated some impressive competition Saturday. The War Eagles went 5-0 in pool play to start, defeating the likes of South Carolina powerhouse Byrnes (29-21), Georgia perennial playoff contender Walton (26-19) and south Georgia legacy program Valdosta (27-21). South also defeated Druid Hills (24-6) and Rabun County (26-8).

In tournament play, South defeated Lowndes (25-15), North Paulding (32-25) and Cherokee (33-25) before dispatching Valdosta again, 32-2, in the finals.

“Our kids played great,” Arnette said. “There was a tremendous amount of talent there. The teams were top-notch. For our guys to go in and compete like that, it’s always great to see.”

Indeed, it was another encouraging sign for South that it can build off its state quarterfinals appearance in 2015 despite the graduation of virtually every significant skill player, except for quarterback Davis Shanley, the Forsyth County News’ Offensive Player of the Year.

“Having young kids going against those guys was a great learning experience,” Arnette said.

They’ll get a chance to learn even more at Hoover in mid-July.

“When we’re competing in something, we’re going to expect to win,” Arnette said. “I think our kids think like that now.”