On Friday evening, South Forsyth quarterback Drew Morris felt the excitement of football season coming ever closer, the joy of a team win, and something even stronger.
“I feel amazing,” Morris said. “I’ve got to be honest: I felt the Holy Spirit out there.”
He also felt the anxiety that his bruising style of quarterback play can cause South’s coaches. At the beginning of the second quarter of the War Eagles’ scrimmage against Sequoyah, Morris ran to the right, directly into the path of a Chiefs defender. He tried a hesitation move, but Morris’ opponent didn’t bite.
So Morris decided to take the most direct path, lowering the crown of his helmet into the tackler’s and pushing forward.
War Eagles head coach Jeff Arnette directly complimented the team’s physicality after the game, but he also emphasized to Morris the importance of a quarterback keeping himself healthy.
“I said, ‘Drew, we can’t have you doing that a whole lot,” Arnette said.
In the moment, though, it worked out great for Morris. He got a first down, and two plays later, Jordan Brunson ran a touchdown in from nine yards out to give South the first score of an eventual 29-7 win.
The graduation of a large, accomplished senior class and the opening of Denmark High have left the War Eagles with a numerous group of new players. The War Eagles were also missing two of their top defensive players in C.J. Ford, who’s injured and hopes to return fully by the second week of the season, and Landon Sims, who’s off in California for the Perfect Game All-American Classic.
“We went out there on offense with 10 new starters (and) eight new starters on defense,” Arnette said. “When you’re in that situation, you’re a little nervous.”
Sequoyah opened the scoring with a long drive that ended in a two-yard touchdown run, but South reeled off four unanswered scores after that. Brunson’s run was the War Eagles’ first, and that was followed by a long catch-and-run from Daryn Rogers less than a minute before halftime. After the break, Morris lofted a ball to Pierce Meier for a 26-yard touchdown catch, and after the starters exited, Jaylen Leak had a 12-yard touchdown run for the War Eagles.
After giving up the initial score, South’s defense clamped down on Sequoyah’s bootleg-heavy offense, forcing a turnover on downs in its own red zone and a three-and-out to start the third quarter. Senior defensive lineman Jamal Camp was particularly encouraged by the defense’s communication.
“You don’t really see that in game one,” Camp said. “(Our) communication was top.”
And while Morris’ hard-running style may make South’s coaches nervous, it has a fan in Camp.
“It energized the defense – I’ll tell you that,” Camp said to Morris after the game.
The War Eagles officially open the season next week at Sprayberry.