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Football: South handles Dawson County 42-17 in home opener
Maverick Shippman
South Forsyth sophomore Maverick Shippman carries the ball Friday during the War Eagles' 42-17 win against Dawson County. - photo by David Roberts

When there are two state champion-level sprinters on a defense, it’s going to be hard to pass the ball against them. 

When they also play offense, get ready for some highlights. 

That is exactly what Dawson County needed to prepare for before Friday night’s 42-17 loss against South Forsyth.

“We try to spread it around and take some shots,” South head coach Troy Morris said. “We’ve got some guys who can run around and get it out there.”

Junior twins Chris Nelson and Josh Nelson were on fire for the War Eagles. Chris Nelson led the team in receiving with 111 yards on four catches and a touchdown. He also laid a punishing tackle on defense with several pass break-ups. 

Josh Nelson scored a 69-yard touchdown on the first play of the game and also ran a 72-yard interception back for a touchdown for the War Eagles. 

Quarterback Ty Watkins saw the benefits of the War Eagles playmakers, completing 11 of 16 pass attempts for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Sixty-seven percent of his yards went to the Nelson twins. 

“I feel good,” Watkins said after the game. “A lot of people got touches. Everyone contributed. It was a team win. If one guy is covered, there’s three more, and two of them are the fastest kids in the state.” 

The War Eagles had no problem moving the ball early, scoring three touchdowns in the first quarter.

However, they struggled to stop Dawson County’s on defense early. The Tigers sacked Watkins three times in the first half, something that Morris said he deserved the blame.

The War Eagles went into halftime up 21-17, with momentum seemingly in Dawson County’s hands. 

“We had a couple adjustments we needed to make and I thought the defensive staff did a heck of a job at halftime making those adjustments,” Morris said. “We changed the defense a little bit and caused them a problem.”

The War Eagles did take control of the game in the second half. Dawson County gained only 114 yards of total offense in the second half, while the War Eagles scored three additional touchdowns in the second half. 

Gavin Morris, Austin Uidel and Maverick Schippmann each ran for a touchdown. Morris led the team in carries with nine and totaled 109 offensive yards, including an impressive run on a 50-yard screen pass to set up his touchdown. 

Schippmann took advantage of the fourth-quarter mop-up role, gaining 65 yards on four carries to lead the War Eagles in rushing yards. 

Last season, the War Eagles won 63-49 over Dawson County. Dawson County had a chance to score a game-tying touchdown as time expired but a Mitch Thompson pick-six to give South the win. 

However, Morris said his first career win was special, and he enjoyed watching his son play well tonight, but that his team still has a lot to work on before getting into region play. 

The War Eagles watched the referee throw a yellow flag against them 11 times in the game, something Morris said his team has to clean up. 

“We need to stop talking,” Morris said. “We’re talking so much. Our kids are playing with a lot of emotion and they want to say a few things while they’re out there. I love how hard they play, but we just need to stop chirping at the other team.”

After losing their first game of the season 45-26 to Roswell, the outstanding offensive performances of his skill players made Morris confident for his team’s future games. 

South Forsyth [1-1] continues its non-region schedule next week at Central Gwinnett, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10.