In the 17th edition of the Civil War game between North and South Forsyth, the War Eagles exacted a hefty measure of revenge on the team that pushed them out of the playoff picture in 2013, crushing the visiting Raiders 55-3 on Friday.
South (3-1, 3-0 Region 6-AAAAAA) completely dominated the game in every measurable facet, setting a new margin of victory record in the storied history of the Civil War game. North (0-4, 0-3) was unable to find an answer for stopping South’s balanced offensive attack or generate any offense of their own.
The War Eagles came away with points in eight of their 10 drives, only punting a single time. On the other hand, the Raiders punted five times, fumbled away the ball twice, turned the ball over on downs twice and threw a costly interception. South capitalized on almost every North turnover, using the superb field position to their advantage.
For South, running back Tyler LaFlamme (18 carries, 125 yards, 2 TDs), quarterback Matthew White (7-for-12, 98 yards, 2 TDs), and wide receiver Curtis Roach (3 catches, 47 yards, 2 TDs) all contributed in the blow-out win. The War Eagle defense also came up huge, racking up five sacks and forcing the Raider offense to scratch and claw for every yard.
"Last time we played against these guys, we didn’t perform very well," South coach Jeff Arnette said. "They beat us (in 2013) and even as a 7-3 team, it left a bad taste in our mouths. We’ve been looking forward to this game for a long time, and I just told our guys that we played a really complete game tonight."
Early in the contest, North actually looked like they would land the first blow of the game when Zac Slaton took a first quarter South punt and ran it 60 yards back for a touchdown. But elation quickly turned into disappointment when an illegal block was called on the play, negating the touchdown and resulting in a three-and-out for the offense.
The punt return penalty was just one of a number of crucial mistakes that doomed the Raiders. Most notably, North struggled immensely on third-down execution, converting only 1 of 12 opportunities. Offensively, the Raiders mustered less than 50 yards rushing while junior quarterback Jacob Bailey had a tough night behind center (10-for-18, 79 yards, INT).
"This was just an old-fashioned butt-kicking," North coach Jason Galt said. "We played hard for those first few minutes, but then we had that punt return called back. As a staff, the (responsibility) is on us. We’re not playing good football right now, and that’s not the kid’s fault, that’s our fault."
On the subsequent drive, South took the first lead of the game in the middle of the first quarter with a 1-yard LaFlamme touchdown plunge. After another North punt, LaFlamme found the endzone again on the first play of the second quarter, running over a would-be tackler and rumbling toward the pylon for a 6-yard score, putting his team up 14-0.
Forty-one points later, South took a final knee and ended the lopsided match-up. After North prevented their rivals from achieving a playoff berth last year, it appears that South hasn’t yet forgotten that fact.
"We knew that we had to be physical tonight, and we showed it," LaFlamme said. "Last year, we didn’t go to the playoffs because of them. Beating them this year feels great and it definitely gives us redemption."