By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
The first two possessions of overtime told the story of the Friday night thriller that saw West Forsyth outlast South Forsyth 41-34.
South scored first, just as they had on the first play from scrimmage, when quarterback Kyle Durham had found Gavin Morris waiting behind the Wolverines' defense for an opening 80-yard touchdown reception. This time — in overtime — the South signal-caller fed his favorite target on a 6-yard screen that gave his team their third lead of the night.
When the War Eagles missed the ensuing extra point, West Forsyth once again found themselves in position to finally take control of a game that they’d spent the vast majority of lurking just behind their visiting opponents.
Senior Daba Fofana scored his third touchdown of the night — a 15-yard scamper on West’s first play in overtime — and it looked as though the Wolverines had done just that. West kicker Alex Wilson had already made a pair of field goals that night — both of them beyond 30 yards — and had broken the West Forsyth record for total number of field goals made in the process.
Wilson booted a line drive just beneath the uprights, and the game continued.
On the second set of overtime possessions, the story was about West Forsyth.
West senior Oscar Delp, who’d dropped a would-have-been touchdown pass early in the third quarter, who’d been subjected to the ensuing taunts and jeers from the visiting bleachers, who’d responded by catching both the 63-yard touchdown pass that put his team within striking distance and the 2-point conversion attempt that tied the game, line up wide right and waited for the snap.
Sophomore quarterback Keegan Stover, who’d battled back from injury early in the season and from a 14-point deficit early in the evening, took the snap, dropped back and tossed the game-winning touchdown pass into the waiting arms of his tight end.
“I used to let that stuff get in my head,” Delp said on his third-quarter drop and the crowd reactions that followed. “This summer and this season I’ve been focused on the next play. It’s behind me once I drop it. I made a few mistakes I wish I could have back, but in the end it just means ball out on the next play, and that’s what I did.”
With the sole exception of the dropped touchdown pass, and paired with the West rushing attack, the Stover-Delp connection helped turn what began as a slow start for the Wolverine offense into a night that saw them put up 41 points.
“Keegan has not played four weeks — basically four games at quarterback — and he was a little rusty to start, and I thought he was a little tentative,” West head coach Dave Svehla said. “We got him a couple of easy throws and I thought he gained some confidence, and that’s an awfully good weapon. We have some other guys that we like to throw the ball to, but I just thought that the way they were defending us that we could take advantage of getting that ball to Oscar, even just for some short stuff, and I was really proud of those guys for making some big plays, big throws and big catches.”
In addition to the pair of touchdowns and the game-tying two-pointer, the duo accounted for numerous crucial first downs and 150 of West’s 163 passing yards.
“The quarterback kind of got on and was hitting No. 4,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said following his team’s first loss of the 2020 season. “We didn’t do a real good job on (Delp), and he hurt us a bunch. (Fofana) did too.”
Fofana scored the first of his three touchdowns early in the second quarter, breaking free for a 34-yard scamper that cut the early 14-0 South lead in half. His second came on the following West possession on a third-and-27 from South’s 36 — a draw play that began as a probable field goal setup and resulted in a 36-yard run that extinguished any early notions of yet another South Forsyth blowout victory. Fofana finished his night with 132 rushing yards on 21 carries.
“They made some big plays just like we had big plays,” Arnette said. “They got the one stop that one the game, and sometimes that’s just kind of how it works out.”
The War Eagles outgained the Wolverines in total offense 410 yards to 298. Durham completed 19 of 31 pass attempts for 345 yards and added 63 yards with his feet — literally carrying the South attack at times — while constantly fending off an increasingly stingy Wolverine defense led by an increasingly potent pass-rush as the night progressed.
“They’ve just got some guys that can make plays,” Svehla said. “You’re not going to shut them down — it’s impossible to shut them down — but in the fourth quarter especially, and in overtime, I thought our kids did a good job of making plays when they had to.”
“It was a heck of a high school football game,” Arnette said. “If I’d have bought a ticket I sure would have enjoyed it, but in the position I’m in, that sure was a tough one.”
West (3-3, 1-1 Region 6-7A) will travel to Forsyth Central at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30, while South will host Gainesville at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30.