South Forsyth coach Jeff Arnette knew he had to pressure Alpharetta quarterback Josh Dobbs in order for his War Eagles to have a chance.
The War Eagles largely succeeded, holding a Raiders’ offense that came into the night averaging more than 500 yards a game to just 286 total yards, but without quarterback Jantzen Jeffrey it didn’t matter.
Jeffrey was knocked out of the game midway through the first quarter, and Alpharetta managed to score a touchdown in each of the last three periods to take a 21-0 victory away from South on homecoming night.
"Our defense came all night," Arnette said. "We knew we had to put pressure on him, and the defense just did an outstanding job all night, just a really amazing job by our defense tonight."
The War Eagles’ defense sacked Dobbs six times on the night. But the most impressive stat for South’s defense was that Alpharetta got the ball in War Eagles’ territory four times during the game and scored on only one of those drives.
It was the defense’s success with their backs against the wall that really kept South (3-2, 0-2 Region 6-AAAAAA) in the game.
The three drives that South did give up points on all came via big plays.
With 4:43 remaining in the first half, Dobbs (19-of-32, 238 yards passing, 29 yards rushing, 3 TD) hit receiver Daniel Clements (7 catches, 136 yards, TD) in the middle of the field for a 39-yard touchdown that put the Raiders on top 7-0 going
The Raiders looked like they were going to pull away when DeAndre Watkins intercepted South backup quarterback Eddie Mirynowski on the third play of the second half and returned the ball to the War Eagles’ 20-yard line, but South stopped the drive and got the ball back on its own 14-yard line.
Alpharetta got points out of its next drive, when Dobbs ran 41 yards for a touchdown to put the Raiders up 14-0 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
The Raiders made it a three-possession game on a scramble from Dobbs early in the fourth quarter.
On the first play following a South fumble, Dobbs went 36 yards around the right side of the South defense for his second rushing touchdown of the game to make it 21-0 Raiders with 10:31 to go.
South’s offense struggled to get on track all night after Jeffrey was crushed from behind by Alpharetta lineman Andrew Butcher (2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) with 5:26 to go in the first, and was unable to return to the game. Mirynowski did an admirable job filling in for Jeffrey on the night, going 11-of-24 for 107 yards.
But South fumbled the ball six times, losing three, and Alpharetta intercepted two passes. However, the Raiders only turned one of the War Eagles’ turnovers into points.
South’s Sam Walker rushed for 33 yards and caught seven balls for 88 yards, while Brandon McKee punted five times for an average of 51 yards and pinned the Raiders inside their own 10 three times.
"[It’s] tough when you lose a guy who is a leader," Arnette said. "Jeffrey is such an emotional leader for us on the field, along with his talent, and it is a tough thing to overcome.
"But, I’m so proud of our kids and Eddie [Mirynowski] for just fighting and not giving up. Eddie played great ... I just can’t say enough about how proud I am of our kids."
Every team in Region 6-AAAAAA has a bye this Friday before returning to action on Oct. 12.