Football: South Forsyth smashes Centennial, moves to 3-0
Two South Forsyth defenders combine for a tackle against Centennial on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. - photo by Micah Green

They were screaming, partly because offensive lineman Chris Biba had turned and waved for them to get louder, and partly because the refreshing drizzle had just turned into a driving rain.

And a couple seconds later, the South Forsyth student section screamed louder still, as Jaylen Pearson snared an interception, dodged a few hopeful tacklers and rumbled more than 60 yards to the end zone to put the War Eagles' first half lead in downright startling territory. 

South's game against Centennial on Friday night was the War Eagles' best chance since their season-opening upset of Roswell to prove their legitimacy. They needed just two quarters to do it, rolling up 45 points on the Knights by halftime and coasting to a 45-14 win, using their backups after the break and watching the game zip by thanks to a running clock. 

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South Forsyth running back Jared Honey finds a big hole to run through against Centennial on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. - photo by Micah Green

"I tell you what, it's hard to pick apart that first half," South head coach Jeff Arnette said. "We seemed to play so well. You can't ever tell exactly tell what the mistakes are until you see it on film, but I was super pleased with how we played."

The closest thing to a flaw the War Eagles (3-0) showed in the first two quarters was their non-flying start on offense. They reached Centennial's 12-yard line on their first drive but had to kick a field goal, and their second drive ended with a punt.

It was not long until the game devolved into a thrashing, though. Quarterback Cal Morris scored South's first touchdown himself, faking a handoff to running back Jared Honey and rolling left for a 12-yard touchdown run. Jack Pehrson picked off a pass and took it into the red zone on Centennial's first play of the next drive, and Honey scored a play later on a five-yard run. 

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South Forsyth wide receiver Ze'Vian Capers makes a leaping catch against Centennial on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. - photo by Micah Green

South's next possession was the closest thing it had to a march downfield, as the War Eagles (3-0) started at their own 16 and ran eight plays, ending in Honey's 26-yard touchdown run. Centennial (0-2) went three-and-out, and Morris found receiver Carsen Hepworth for a 76-yard score up the middle. Morris threw another touchdown to his brother, Drew, to make it 38-0, and Pearson's pick-six was the War Eagles' last score. 

If the season opener was South's chance to play underdog and show it was up there with a program that had been to two straight state title games, Friday's game, a return to big-school competition after facing Class 1A Pinecrest, was the War Eagles' opportunity to show that beating Roswell wasn't a fluke.

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South Forsyth junior defensive lineman Jamal Camp tries to get the Centennial's quarterback Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. - photo by Micah Green

They did a good deal more than that, boasting a quick, varied, efficient offense and smashing Centennial at the line of scrimmage, holding Knights running back Emeka Nwanze, who has multiple Power Five offers, to under 30 yards on 12 carries in the first half. 

And according to Arnette and Honey, South is past talk of underdogs and favorites.

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South Forsyth senior Ryan Pontrelli leaves a Centennial would-be tackler behind on a big punt return Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. - photo by Micah Green

"Our guys don't seem to care about that," Arnette said. "Our guys just believe in each other and believe that they can win no matter who they play."

They might have a preference in some cases, though. The War Eagles were just outside the top 10 in the Georgia Sportswriters Association's Class 7A poll last week, and if they aren't in there on Tuesday, it would be okay. 

"We like being the sleeper," Honey said. "I think it motivates the boys to put our name out there."