Nate Verska had to make a stop before Wednesday's signing ceremony.
Verska needed to return the crutches that he borrowed from his neighbor, the ones that supported him following a gutsy performance at the Class 7A state cross country meet in November, when Verska fifth overall while running on a broken foot.
"It was rough," Verska said. "I found out the week before that I fractured it and I was going to have to run state. I had some college coaches come and see me run, so I really had to put on a show. I popped a lot of Advil and just mentally prepared myself — I had a week to prepare — for that situation. It paid off. I raced how I wanted to and thought I could have probably gotten second and maybe contended for the win, but I'm just grateful that I was able to get out there and make it on the podium to begin with."
On Wednesday, Verska signed to continue his athletic career at Clemson University, joining seven other seniors who signed their National Letters of Intent at South Forsyth High School.
Evan Bridges [Carthage College], Austin Uidel [Berry College] and Zach Hobson [Concord University] signed to play football in college, while Christian Carlton [University of North Georgia] and Peyton Goolsby [Berry College] signed for soccer, Amelia Paschall [College of Coastal Georgia] signed for volleyball and Sammie Polaski [Liberty University] signed for cheerleading.
Paschall overcame her share of injuries during her senior year, too, missing about a month at the beginning of the season with a knee injury, then spraining her ankle midway through the year.
In fact, Paschall had all but decided that she wasn't going to play volleyball in college. But her last few games as a War Eagle helped change her mind.
"So, I was doing all my [physical training], and on senior night I was like, 'Tape me up real tight. I'm getting on that court,' Paschall said. "It actually went real well. I didn't feel much pain at all and I just kept going. Our Denmark game, our very last game that we played, we lost but it was one of the best games I ever played. It was just insane. It was the most surreal moment ever."
Paschall signed Wednesday to play at the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick, which finished 24-8 last season.
"I didn't think I was going to play, so I was very late into recruitment," Paschall said. "As soon as I knew, I just had to get on top of it. Usually in volleyball we commit in the fall, but now it's spring and I'm just committing. I just really took my time and made sure I picked the perfect school."
South's trio of football signees anchored the War Eagles' defensive secondary this past fall.
Hobson led the team with 11 pass breakups, adding 29 total stops and two tackles for loss, while Bridges collected 12 stops and had a season-high five tackles against Lambert. Uidel played offense and defense for South, logging 276 rushing yards and two scores on offense while making 46 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception on defense.
Polaski helped deliver a state championship to South in November, when the War Eagles' competition cheer team captured the Class 7A title — the program's ninth state championship.
Carlton also won a state championship during his time at South, helping the War Eagles' boys soccer team to the title after changing positions to center back at the beginning of his junior season.
South girls soccer coach Erik Moore spoke highly of Goolsby's work ethic and tenacity on the soccer field.
"If you could bottle up that intensity and sell it, it would sell like hotcakes," Moore said.