The War Eagles’ stable of running backs were dominant.
Isaiah Williams, Brett Larkin, and Tyler LaFlamme carried the ball a combined 26 times for 187 yards and four touchdowns, as South Forsyth played host to the Johns Creek Gladiators on Friday night. The War Eagles showed up in full force from the opening kickoff, getting their offense in rhythm early on and never looked back as they defeated Johns Creek 52-21.
"It’s really a luxury having those four guys who can carry the ball," War Eagles coach Jeff Arnette said. "They do a great job and our offensive line did a great job tonight, as they have all year."
In addition to a stout running game, the War Eagles featured a strong passing game as well, with quarterback Matthew White showcasing his talents to keep the balanced attack on the move. White contributed to the scoring with a 24 yard touchdown pass to Sam Walker (4 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD) in the second quarter. White finished with 100 yards passing on seven completions with one touchdown.
The second quarter showcased the War Eagles special teams prowess, as kick returner Drew Witlas took the Johns Creek kick 87 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. The score followed a Johns Creek touchdown, which had momentarily brought the Gladiators within 10 just before the half. South regained the momentum without missing a beat and took a 24-7 lead into the locker room at intermission.
The Gladiators threatened to score to start the third quarter and advanced the ball into the red zone, but the South defense was able to force a turnover. South’s defensive line pressured Johns Creek quarterback Chase Soloman, who forced an errant throw and resulted in an interception in the end zone for a touchback by Austin Ataide. The War Eagles took advantage of the Johns Creek miscue, with LaFlamme scoring on a 44 yard run to take a 38-14 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, South linebacker Robby Johnson forced a fumble to allow the War Eagles to take over at the Johns Creek 20 yard line. The turnover proved costly for the Gladiators, as Larkin helped the South offense take advantage of great field position with a 1 yard score to push the lead to 45-14.
Grant Umberger added another touchdown out of the South backfield as he rumbled into the end zone for a 4 yard touchdown run that capped off the scoring for the War Eagles, while the Gladiators scored on a blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone. Many of South’s starters were replaced in the fourth quarter, as they begin to gear up for next week’s matchup with county and region rival West Forsyth.
"We’ve got West Forsyth and North Forsyth the next two weeks, and they should both be great matchups," Arnette said. "Those games carry county rivalries as well as playoff implications for both teams, and that’s really what high school football is all about."