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Football: Walker racks up 243 yards in South win
War Eagles jump out to 24-0 lead after one quarter
South Forsyth's Bryan Troye carries the ball against Northview on Friday at War Eagle Field. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Eight seconds.

That’s how long it took for Sam Walker to return the opening kickoff 95 yards for a South Forsyth touchdown.

That play turned out to be a sample of what Walker had in store for Northview in little more than one half of action in the season opener, as he tallied three touchdowns and 243 all-purpose yards in the War Eagles’ 48-19 victory Friday night at War Eagle Field. It was South’s largest point total and largest margin of victory since defeating Woodland 56-19 on Sept. 10, 2010.

Walker finished with 129 return yards to go along with 81 receiving yards and 33 rushing yards.

"My friends and I were praying that we would start the game off with that kind of tone," Walker said. "We went out and did what we needed to do and everyone did great."

On Northview’s second play from scrimmage, Tyler Laflamme recovered a fumble on the Northview 17-yard line. Quarterback Jantzen Jeffrey (5 of 8, 99 yards passing, 2 passing TD, 49 yards rushing, 1 rushing TD) capitalized on the scoring opportunity with a three-yard keeper touchdown.

Minutes later, Jeffrey hit Walker in stride with a 56-yard touchdown pass that extended the lead to 21-0.

After Walker returned a punt to the Northview 30-yard line, Brian Tobon hauled in a 12-yard reception, which set up a 32-yard field goal from Brandon McKee.

When the Titans (0-1) looked to gain some momentum in the first quarter, the War Eagles’ defense snuffed it out. Matt Cira picked off a Northview pass at the goal line and returned it five yards, keeping the War Eagles (1-0) ahead 24-0 after one quarter.

South then marched the ball on a nine-play, 95-yard scoring drive that was capped off with a 3-yard touchdown run from Isaiah Williams, making the score 31-0 early in the second quarter.

Northview responded on the following drive with a 53-yard touchdown reception from Justin Westbrook to Zach Sullivan, but South’s Everett Cleveland blew through the line and blocked the would-be extra point.

Jeffrey guided the War Eagles to a 68-yard scoring drive when he found Walker wide open for a 13-yard touchdown pass, and South went into the half leading 38-6.

"Jantzen played like we all know he can," South head coach Jeff Arnette said. "He went out tonight and ran the ball and threw the ball well. We had a lot of kids who stepped up and played well tonight. And when all of that happens, you’ve got a good night."

The third quarter couldn’t have started any better for the War Eagles.

Eddie Mirynowski recovered Northview’s third fumble of the night on the Titans’ 15-yard line.

Williams made good use of the field position on the first play from scrimmage for South with a 15-yard touchdown.

Westbrook and Sullivan hooked up again as the Titans took advantage of the second-team defense with a 70-yard touchdown pass, closing the score 45-12 after a failed two-point conversion.

McKee nailed a 37-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, after South was more content to run the ball and drain the clock.

Terrence Upshaw caught a swing pass from Westbrook and darted his way to a 55-yard touchdown near the end of the fourth quarter for Northview to account for the Titans’ final points.

The War Eagle defense held Upshaw, who holds an offer from Vanderbilt, to 33 yards and three fumbles before the third quarter.

"I didn’t think we’d [contain Upshaw] that well," Arnette said. "We did a good job on him tonight. For two weeks, that’s all we’ve talked about and practiced. We beat it into these guys and challenged them to play."

South Forsyth hosts Forsyth Central (0-1) this week.