ALPHARETTA — Before the War Eagles knew what happened, they trailed by 24 points.
Alpharetta scored on its first four possessions and finished the game with 401 passing yards en route to a 38-16 victory over South Forsyth on Friday at Raider Stadium.
"I saw the no-quit [attitude] in us," South head coach Jeff Arnette said. "They jumped on us 24-nothing and they made some big plays early and we just didn’t move the ball early on."
Those big plays came during 90- and 45-yard touchdown drives that only took five plays.
The Raiders (3-2, 2-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) wasted no time on their first scoring drive, as quarterback Austin King connected with Andre Horton (6 catches, 192 yards) for a 90-yard touchdown pass over the middle for an early 7-0 lead over South (4-1, 1-1).
Thomas Waller tacked on three more points with a 30-yard field goal before King (21-for-27, 393 passing yards, 4 total TDs) found Andrew Wilson open for 45-yard touchdown strike to complete a three-play, 68-yard drive that gave Alpharetta a 17-0 advantage to end the first quarter.
Miles Smith finished the scoring spurt with a 5-yard run up the middle to make the score 24-0.
"We knew we had some mismatches if we could protect [King]," Alpharetta head coach Jason Dukes said. "They came with some exotic blitzes and changed things up on us, so we had to be disciplined with our blocking assignments, but we were able to get some guys open on some big plays and it worked to our advantage."
The South offense then woke up and rallied to come within one score of the lead.
Isaiah Williams (16 carries, 134 yards, 1 TD) burst through the line for a 58-yard gain before capping the seven-play, 85-yard drive with a 1-yard run. Brett Larkin closed the gap to 24-8 with a two-point conversion scamper into the end zone with 2:12 left in the half.
Alpharetta took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the 9 yard line with 12.5 seconds left before halftime, but South’s Sam Walker sacked King to end the quarter.
"We’ve been practicing all week and I did what we practiced," Walker said.
The War Eagles returned from the locker room inspired, as they used an 11-play, 89-yard drive finished by a 5-yard blast through the line for a touchdown by running back Tyler LaFlamme. South quarterback Matt White (8-for-24, 140 passing yards) executed a rollout pass to Williams for the two-point conversion, trimming the lead to 24-16 with 6:41 left in the third.
However, the Raiders once again found their groove on offense. King engineered an 80-yard drive capped by a quarterback sneak for a touchdown and added another score following a three-and-out with a 44-yard pass to Daniel Clements to put Alpharetta ahead 38-16 late in the third quarter.
South tried to rally once more with a deep drive into Alpharetta territory in the fourth, but an interception quelled the opportunity.
"Midway through the third quarter it was 24-16, and that was just a great comeback right there," Arnette said. "We just had trouble stopping them. They made a lot of big plays and have a lot of skill players. That’s a good football team. They’re one of the best teams in the state; I’m sure of it."