Throughout Lambert’s 10 years of existence, The Horn has always been a place where South Forsyth’s football team saw a lot of headaches.
Heading into the War Eagles’ region opener, they held an 0-4 all-time record at Lambert’s home field. The hopes of ending that streak to start region play briefly went on hold three plays into the first half, when they gave up a 52-yard Jake Rising touchdown run to go down 10-7.
However, that was the closest the Longhorns came to extending their streak, as the War Eagles rode the legs of running back Jordan Brunson to score 20 unanswered points en route to a 27-10 win on Friday night.
“You’re on the road in a game this big, in a place we haven’t won before,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said. “To get back in control of the game after getting down, I thought they did a great job getting control of the game and then putting it away.”
From the game’s outset, Brunson made his presence known, carrying the War Eagles all the way to Lambert’s 13 yard line during South’s opening drive. Although the Longhorns stopped him that time, they couldn’t keep Brunson and the War Eagles out of the end zone for long.
After a scoreless first quarter came and went, South drove all the way to the Lambert 6. Brunson took the handoff from South quarterback Drew Morris, broke a tackle, and reached over the goal line for a touchdown with 10:37 left in the first half. Brunson’s score ended the longest drive of the first half by either team, a 13-play, 6:13 march that began with 4:50 left in the opening frame.
“Without my offensive line, it would have never happened,” Brunson said. “I just wanted to score, that’s about it.”
Lambert had moments to capitalize on throughout the contest, the first of which coming in the first half. Quarterback Peyton Rich connected with receiver Blake Nichols for a long catch and run down the sideline on the Longhorns’ first drive after South’s score, but had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Drew Dockter to cut the South lead to 7-3 with 7:27 left in the second quarter.
With three minutes left in the first half, another long Rich pass set the Longhorns in War Eagle territory again, but Lambert fumbled the ball away to end another chance. Lambert recovered South fumbles in War Eagle territory in the third and fourth quarters and got nothing out of them.
“There’s always a couple of plays, that if you capitalize, you have a good opportunity to win the football game,” Lambert head coach Louis Daniel said. “We didn’t capitalize, and South did. They made the plays.”
South carried the four-point lead into the second half, but just three plays into the third quarter, Rising found a hole and gave Lambert its only lead with his long run.
From there, it was all South. Brunson added his second touchdown of the game with 2:47 left in the third to give the War Eagles the lead back at 13-10. Two minutes later, quarterback Drew Morris weaved through defenders for a 47-yard rushing score.
After Lambert’s final missed offensive chance in the fourth quarter, South handed off to Brunson and Daryn Rogers to begin running out the clock, a drive that ended with Brunson’s third score from 10 yards out with 4:35 to play.
“It becomes a game of physics and reps,” Daniel said. “When your defense has been out there (so long), it becomes difficult to withstand. You can only stand there and get punched in the face so long before you start getting tired.”
On South’s offensive line was Georgia Tech commit Jamal Camp, who was asked by his coaches to play in that spot on Friday night. He earned a sack in the fourth quarter, but according to Brunson, his presence in front of him made a big difference.
“They needed me on the offensive line to make holes for (Jordan),” Camp said. “That’s what we had to do. I knew going into this game that it was a big one. Me being a senior, this will be my last ride, so I’m going to give it my all for the team.”