South Forsyth’s defense was simply overwhelming.
The War Eagles forced two fumbles and held Forsyth Central to 19 yards of offense in the first half en route to a convincing 38-10 win Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
The victory for South extended its winning streak against the Bulldogs to nine games dating back to 2001. Since that time, the War Eagles have outscored Central 296-104.
"It’s great to get a win and I’m proud of these kids," said South head coach Jeff Arnette. "I didn’t feel like we started great. The first five or six minutes didn’t look great, but I thought after that we started firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball."
The Bulldogs (0-2, 0-0 Region 7A-AAAAA) capitalized on an early interception to set up a 39-yard field goal by Anel Ramic, but that was all they could manage until late in the fourth quarter, as South (2-0, 0-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) reeled off 38 unanswered points.
Matthew White (4-of-7, 113 passing, 1 TD) put South on the board with a rollout pass on third-and-9 to Grant Umberger, who went 92 yards for the touchdown to give the War Eagles a 7-3 advantage to end the first quarter.
Then, South’s defense took over. The defensive front owned the line of scrimmage, as linebacker Kyle Soles broke through for a sack and Brett Larkin recovered a fumble at midfield. Central finished the quarter with negative 10 offensive yards.
"We just did all of our reads and were just coming downhill and ready to go," said Brett Larkin, senior linebacker. "Our offense came out a little slow, so we had to make up for that … We just came out and were ready to go."
It didn’t take long for the offense to come around, as South scored on its next three possessions.
Tyler LaFlamme (7 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD) ran three yards behind the right tackle for a touchdown to make it 14-3 before Isaiah Williams (16 carries, 100 yards, 2 TDs) capped off an 11-play, 50-yard drive with a 2-yard run.
Larkin finished out the quarter with a 3-yard run up the middle to give South a 28-3 lead at halftime.
"Honestly, that offensive line out there, those are my boys," Williams said. "They were working their tails off and blocking everybody in their way. They’re working hard and it makes it a lot easier.
"It’s all mental and once we decided in our heads that we were in fact the better team [and] that we should be stomping on them, that’s when we clicked it into gear and started working as the team we can be."
South’s offensive approach didn’t change after halftime.
The War Eagles went on a 10-play, 92-yard drive that Williams capped with a 7-yard blast up the middle to make the score 35-3 with 1:55 left in the third quarter. Drew Witlas added three more points with a 27-yard field goal in the fourth.
Central finally found the end zone late in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard run by Aubrey Blackman to bring the final score to 38-10.
Running back Sabrian Howard led the Bulldogs with 36 yards of offense, while Ryan Hintz forced an interception and Victor Peppers recovered a fumble on defense.
"I thought we played better in the first half than we did last week," said Central head coach Shane Williamson. "We just got outmanned and our depth [came] in and once again turnovers put us in a bad situation and we got behind a team like South, that’s more physical, stronger than we are.
"I thought our defense at times played a lot better and created some turnovers and got us in some situations. On offense, we’re still missing a beat there, so we got to get better."