By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
When the fourth quarter of South Forsyth High School’s homecoming matchup against rival Lambert began, all seemed well.
The lights dimmed, the attending fans waved their cellphone lights, and the heavily favored War Eagles entered the final quarter with an 18-point lead over the winless Longhorns before proceeding to finish the homecoming rout to the tune of 42-17.
One could almost be forgiven for forgetting what South’s ideal homecoming had looked like only one-quarter prior, when they ended a frustrating first-half up 15-7 over their region rival.
“I thought Lambert played their guts out tonight,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said after the game. “Coach Daniel’s got them ready to go, and they gave us everything we wanted early and beyond.”
The War Eagles (4-2, 1-0 Region 5-7A) did everything they were supposed to do early in the evening. They followed a three-and-out by the Longhorns with a 62-yard touchdown drive that resulted in a Tre Green score and an ensuing two-point-conversion between Joe Slott and Colby Cruz.
Lambert (0-5, 0-1 Region 5-7A), however, only needed four plays to respond.
A pair of long completions between quarterback Peyton Rich and his favorite target, Kojo Antwi, put the Longhorns on the board a mere 70 seconds later. When the ensuing South possession ended in a Joe Slott red-zone interception, the War Eagle faithful began to worry.
“I told the team all week long that you can throw out the records on a rivalry like this,” Arnette said. “Lambert proved me right.”
Midway through the second quarter, South responded in its own style.
When Lambert’s drive following the interception stalled around midfield, War Eagle senior Josh Green tore right through the middle of the Longhorn punt team, blocking the punt attempt and giving his team both the field position and the momentum needed to take control of the game.
A phenomenal South third-quarter that included a pair of turnovers and one touchdown (with a second following early in the fourth) put the game safely in South’s hands.
“Our defense made some huge plays in that third quarter,” Arnette said. “When the offense got the ball, they took care of their business too. That’s how we pulled away.”
South split quarterback snaps between Slott and fellow senior Cameron Schurr, with Slott taking the bulk of the snaps and both throwing touchdown passes—one of which was a 39-yard strike from Slott to his fellow starter.
“We’ve been practicing that a lot,” Slott said. “Me and (Cam) knew that was going to be a big play and we just executed it well.”
For South’s running game, junior Tre Green used his 19 carries to gain 137 yards while finding pay-dirt three times — the third of which being his 11th touchdown of the season so far.
“It’s a big step,” Green said on his role within the offense. “I’m ready for the challenge, and I have my teammates to help me.”
Lambert’s loss represented the fifth time this season they’ve surrendered 40 points or more.
South will follow its region-opening win next week with a matchup at Milton. Lambert will look to recover at home against North Forsyth.