By Ben Beitzel
For the Forsyth County News
SNELLVILLE – Lightning tried to strike for a third time; it came so close it caused a 30-minute delay.
After coming back from multi-score deficits to win its first two games this season, South Gwinnett nearly made it three straight Friday. Twice the Comets found themselves trailing by two touchdowns but after overcoming the first deficit, time ran out on the second comeback in a 35-28 loss to South Forsyth.
South Gwinnett had the ball in the final minutes, but with the clock broken in the stadium how many is uncertain. What is certain is the game ended with South Gwinnett 31 yards from the end zone after a frantic comeback attempt.
“It’s certainly difficult (to coach), but that is part of the game,” South Gwinnett head coach Steve Davenport said. “We preached to the kids all week that we had to win the first half and we didn’t do that.
“We can’t continue to do that against quality football teams.”
Each hole South Gwinnett (2-1) dug, came directly through the air. The Comets defense held South Forsyth (3-1) to 13 yards rushing, but War Eagles quarterback Joe Slott threw for 213 yards on 13-of-16 passing and two touchdowns.
And he wasn’t the only one throwing against South Gwinnett.
On their first play, the War Eagles wide receiver Cameron Schurr took a toss back and then connected deep to Devin McGlockton for 52 yards. On the next play, Green ended the drive with a 15-yard flash up the middle for the score. After a quick South Gwinnett three-and-out, South Forsyth again used a double-pass, this time with Gavin Morris finding Colby Cruz for a 52-yard touchdown. A blocked extra-point and another Comets punt and the War Eagles led 13-0 after the first quarter. As a team, South Forsyth threw for 332 yards.
In addition to Cruz, McGlockton and Schurr caught a touchdown pass, and Brett Morlanne added a score on the ground.
“They are playing well,” Davenport said of his defense. “We weren’t very good in the secondary tonight. We have to be able to control all levels.”
Back where it found itself in the first two weeks, South Gwinnett rallied in the second quarter. First was a touchdown run by Remari Hudson that finished a drive that saw the Comets convert a third-and-6 and a fourth-and-6. South Gwinnett followed that with a 67-yard touchdown pass from Tre Truitt to Armand Anderson to take a narrow 14-13 lead.
With just 2:46 remaining, the War Eagles regained their offense and marched 77 yards, scoring with just three seconds left in the half when Joe Slott found McGlockton on a fade from 8-yards out. South Forsyth converted the 2-point try to take a 21-14 lead into the half.
South Gwinnett struck first, and quickly, in the third quarter with a 78-yard pass from Truitt to Lex Stocker, but a missed extra point allowed the War Eagles to cling to a one-point lead, 21-20. Truitt ended the game with 274 yards on 12-of-25 passing with two touchdowns. Armand ended the game with four catches for 118 yards and Stocker led the team with 129 yards on four catches.
But South Forsyth answered with a scoring drive that included two conversions on third-and-long, including the scoring play on third-and-goal from the 16. The War Eagles extended that lead in the fourth quarter after a pass interference call on South Gwinnett negated a pick-six and led to another South Forsyth touchdown.
The Comeback Comets weren’t done, though, cutting the deficit to 35-28 when Dorian Powell rushed in from the 4 and scored the two-point conversion.
But even a 30-minute lightning delay couldn’t stop the clock from running out on South Gwinnett’s furious comeback attempt.