When basketball players score 50 points, or pitchers throw a no-hitter, or a quarterback throws for five touchdowns, they often talk about being in a ‘zone,’ where every possible distraction drifts away.
South Forsyth running back Tyler LaFlamme said that wasn’t the case at all in his 435-yard, five-touchdown game last Friday that put him fourth all-time in state history for rushing yards in a single game.
"It was just like any other night," LaFlamme said. "I actually didn’t know until after the game how many yards I had, and I didn’t really think it was that many."
Just like any other night. Right.
South coach Jeff Arnette, a no-nonsense, 11-year head coaching veteran with stints at Oconee County and Elbert County, had never given out a game ball to one of his players — until Friday.
LaFlamme wasn’t even 100 percent. He dealt with a stomach illness on the sidelines throughout Friday’s 42-34 win over Chattahoochee.
The War Eagles’ drive to open the second half summed up the night for South: LaFlamme carried the ball on all six plays as the War Eagles drove 42 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. Quarterback Matt White only attempted two passes in the second half.
"As an offense we planned to run the ball a lot, which we always do," LaFlamme said. "We absolutely destroyed them on the line, and that’s why I was so successful."
South’s offensive line, masterful all season, dominated again. Senior guard Griffin Landrum graded out at 97 percent with 16 — yes, sixteen — pancake blocks. "Offensive line was absolutely unbelievable," Arnette said post-game.
LaFlamme had not received any recruiting attention from college coaching staffs prior to Friday’s game. As of Thursday, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior had yet to hear from any coaches, despite a listed 4.43-second 40-yard dash time (according to LaFlamme’s Hudl page).
"I really was hoping that colleges would contact me after [the 435-yard game]," LaFlamme said. "I’m not really sure why [they haven’t], but I can only keep doing what I’ve been doing."
Sunday, former South offensive lineman and current Vanderbilt Commodore Davis Winkie tweeted, "Someone get @tyluuuuur [LaFlamme] a scholarship already. /10 scores on the ground thru 5 games including /5 on Friday…"
11Alive Sports (Atlanta’s NBC affiliate) named LaFlamme its Team11 Player of the Week for his performance.
If LaFlamme can’t earn a scholarship offer, he should be able to lead South to the school’s first state playoff berth since 2010. LaFlamme, despite starting on defense since his freshman season, has never been to the playoffs.
"That’s been the goal since the final whistle of the last game last season [a 17-12 loss to North]," LaFlamme said. "That’s all we’ve been thinking about. Getting a playoff game my senior year would mean a lot."