If South Forsyth senior Tyler LaFlamme had any reservations about switching over full-time to offense this season, he didn’t show it.
After all, the Forsyth County News’ 2014 Offensive Player of the Year played most of his first two seasons at safety, his preferred spot—“You get to hit people,” he said—but LaFlamme put the state of Georgia on alert with a torrid first five games as the War Eagles’ workhorse running back.
If 160 yards at Centennial, 204 at Habersham Central and 125 against North Forsyth (and more than 800 last season as Isaiah Williams’ backup) weren’t enough, LaFlamme’s 435-yard, five-touchdown romp through Chattahoochee’s defense in late September stamped the 5-foot-11, 195-pound bowling ball atop the Class AAAAAA rushing leaderboard, where he would stay for much of the season.
South coach Jeff Arnette said at one point that he would give the ball to LaFlamme on every play, if he could. Sky-high adrenaline gave LaFlamme chronic stomach issues—details better left unsaid—all season, and even that barely slowed him.
With a month to go until National Signing Day, LaFlamme is still waiting on colleges to take note of his production—1,763 total yards and 20 total touchdowns—and come forward with scholarship offers. He’s talked about walking on at Georgia Southern or Kennesaw State and wants the chance to prove why he was the Region 6-AAAAAA offensive player of the year and an honorable mention all-state selection.
Question: How would you describe your season?
LaFlamme: “We came in with a singular goal, which was to make the playoffs, and we did—pretty good feeling achieving that. We worked real hard this year and knew what we wanted to do.”
Q: What were your personal goals this season?
LaFlamme: “I knew with Isaiah [Williams] gone, I’d be getting a lot more reps and more chances to carry the ball, and I did. Really, I just played and did what was natural for me.
“I played defense my first two years and started doing more offense last year. I like both but if I had to decide, I like defense more—you get to hit people.”
Q: What was your biggest challenge this season?
LaFlamme: “Probably some of the tough losses we had, like West and Lambert. We were able to overcome those and still make the playoffs. We didn’t let those get in our way. After Friday night, we’d leave it behind us and focus on the week to come. We had a lot of leadership this year.”
Q: What would you say your biggest success was this season?
LaFlamme: “As a team, playoffs. Myself, I had a good year, but without my team, I couldn’t have had personal success. To achieve our goal of making the playoffs, that was the greatest feeling for me.”
Q: Who had the toughest defense you faced this season?
LaFlamme: “Northview. They put a lot of guys in the box to stop me and really keyed on me. I had people in my face on every play. We had to run different plays, change it up a little bit.
Q: Who was the best individual player you faced?
LaFlamme: “[Linebackers] Malcolm Conn and Devan Johnson of Northview both were really good. They had an athletic defense.”
Q: Are there any plays from this season that stick out in your memory?
LaFlamme: “The 49-yard touchdown catch I had at Habersham Central. Reason I remember it is because right after it, I started blowing chunks. I had issues with that all year—I was taking Nexium and some other medication. Not the first time I’d had issues with it. Running out of the end zone, I was feeling nauseated. I could feel it building when I was still running.”
Q: What’s the latest with recruiting?
LaFlamme: “Haven’t had any offers. We’ve been talking about possibly walking on somewhere, like Georgia Southern or Kennesaw [State], but that’s about it. I would like to play in college, I want to play. Non-football wise, I’ve looked at Ole Miss, Alabama, Southern.