South Forsyth took control against North Forsyth in the first quarter, and it never relinquished the lead. With their 42-7 home victory on Friday night, the War Eagles keep their hopes of a home playoff game alive.
The Civil War Rivalry is notorious for high stakes. Two of the county’s older high schools have had plenty of battles before, but this matchup felt different. Both teams were in position to control their own destiny for a home playoff game. Both teams had 1-1 region records. Both teams had high flying offenses.
For the first 12 minutes, the predictable became a reality. On North’s (4-4, 1-2) second drive of the game, Ben Bales hit Simon Holcomb for an 85-yard bomb. It appeared that North was going to pick up right where it left off against Lambert a week before, when it scored 40 points.
South’s (5-3, 2-1) offense responded on the consequent drive. Quarterback Davis Shanley broke off a 41-yard run on fourth down to tie the game.
Then the tide shifted.
South’s defense, after getting burned deep, switched up the game-plan.
“That young man [Simon Holcomb] is a heck of a player and that quarterback can throw it,” said South coach Jeff Arnette. “On that one play, we kind of got ourselves turned and the quarterback threw a great ball and they just made a great play. But after that we just started putting two people on him every play, and our defense just did a great job shutting that offense down.”
Take away the 85-yard pass play and the rest of North’s offense only gained 92 yards the rest of the game. South forced five turnovers, (three of which were fumble recoveries) and had four sacks.
A key defensive player all night was Julian Mingo. Mingo made his presence felt all game on defense, but he also did damage to the opposing defense. Mingo carried the ball seven times for 67 yards and a touchdown. This was the first time Mingo had gotten carries as a running back since 2014 when he tore his ACL in a game against Lambert.
“It felt great to run the ball tonight. It’s been a minute since I’ve run the ball, and when I got in there is was super excited and ready to play,” said Mingo. “I wanted to do as much as I could.”
The rest of the game was an offensive showcase. South put together five more scoring drives. Shanley ended the night with 229 yards passing, 66 yards rushing, and three total touchdowns in the three quarters that he played before getting pulled. Ryan Pontrelli followed up his impressive performance last week with eight receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown. Guy Morra also pulled in a touchdown grab.
“Once again, offensively, Shanley and Pontrelli and our offensive line played well,” said Arnette. “It was a great victory for us.