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Football: South keeps playoff hopes alive with 52-7 blowout win
Cameron Cheeley
South Forsyth senior Cameron Cheeley celebrates Friday during the War Eagles' 52-7 win against North Forsyth. Photo by Jay Rooney Photography

By Caleb Byrd

For the Forsyth County News

South Forsyth took care of business on the road in Raider Valley Friday night, defeating North 52-7 in a blowout victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We’ve been working all year,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said. “We just hadn’t been able to put all four phases of the game together. You know, we’ve had leads by 14 against West, and by 15 against Denmark, but just hadn’t been able to finish it. But tonight we put it together. I feel like we overwhelmed a really good football team, and I’m proud we finally did it. If we can find a way to get into the playoffs, we’re not an easy four-seed matchup for anybody.”

The War Eagles took control of the ballgame from the start as Chris Nelson took the ball 58 yards to the house off a jet-sweep on the first play of the game. South never let off the gas after that play.

South’s offense was quite literally impossible to stop for the Raider defense. Besides an interception from North’s Colin Blackwell that ended South’s second drive, each successive drive in the first half ended in a War Eagle touchdown.

This game was out of reach for the Raiders before halftime.

Going into the third quarter, South had amassed 321 yards of total offense and six touchdowns, while the War Eagle defense only allowed 71 yards and one touchdown from North, forcing three turnovers along the way.

And only two plays into the third quarter, South’s offense put the game even farther out of reach when Kyle Durham connected with Devin McGlockton for a 36-yard touchdown.

Durham had an impressive night all around.

The junior quarterback went 7-of-10 passing for 196 yards and three touchdowns, tacking on 66 yards and two more touchdowns with his legs.

Durham’s favorite target of the night, McGlockton, overpowered and outmatched North Forsyth’s secondary all night. The senior tight end brought in four receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

One of McGlockton’s touchdown receptions wasn’t from Durham, though.

After junior Gavin Morris took a 22-yard pass from Durham to the goal line, Morris lined up at quarterback in the shotgun with a stacked line in front of him and two backs to his sides. Morris fielded the snap, and shifted to his right. After a few steps forward, he jumped up and tossed the ball over the line of scrimmage to a wide-open McGlockton in the end zone.

Along with the touchdown pass, Morris had 52 yards receiving on three catches. And he had the best completion percentage out of any quarterback on the night, by default.

Durham’s most impressive touchdown of the night came late in the first quarter. The pocket began to close around him, and he scrambled to the left side of the field. The lane to his left closed, and he flipped direction as a few Raiders defenders chased in pursuit. As he sprinted towards the right side of the field, Durham scanned the middle of the field. He found a wide-open Chris Nelson deep and threw a 41-yard rope for his first passing touchdown of the night.

Nelson had 58 rushing yards and touchdown, and provided 41 receiving yards with a touchdown as well.

But as exciting as South’s offensive performance was, their defensive performance was downright nasty.

The War Eagle defense allowed just over 100 yards of offense the entire game. Zach Fischer, Josh Nelson, Austin Uidel, Alex Urias, and Alex Han each had an interception on the night, in that order. Ben Harvey came up with a sack, as well as Ian O’Dowd. And Taft Hilton forced a turnover late in the third quarter, stripping the ball out of North’s Drew Aucoin’s hands.

Uncharacteristic for North, the Raider offense couldn’t find any production on the night aside from a 62-yard pass from Brady Meitz to Riley Smith, followed by a 3-yard Meitz-Smith touchdown.

Meitz went 2-of-6 passing with 65 yards and a touchdown, throwing three interceptions. Late in the second quarter Meitz went out of the ballgame with a limp. He was on the sideline, pads off and using crutches during the second half.

Backup Drew Aucoin only managed to go 7-of-16 passing with 50 yards, and turned the ball over three times with two interceptions and a fumble.

The Raider defense allowed 366 yards total, seven touchdowns, and a field goal.

“I've gotta take full responsibility for this one,” head coach Robert Craft said, “I didn’t have them prepared well enough for this game. I tell our guys, you know the playoffs in a lot of ways are right now, and we just didn’t execute tonight. Give South a lot of credit. They played great and made plays where we didn’t. You know, we just have to keep a positive outlook and get ready for Gainesville next week.”