by Matt Green, Forsyth County News Sports
South’s defense overwhelmed Central’s offense all night. The War Eagles (6-3, 3-1 in Region 5-7A) forced seven turnovers in the game, and took advantage of the Bulldogs’ mishaps by turning those turnovers directly into 35 points. They held the Bulldogs (3-5, 0-4) to 47 total yards, including -14 yards on the ground.
“Our defense was special tonight,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said. “They flew around to the ball and I was proud of them.”
Central turned the ball over on its first two offensive plays of the game. The first came on a Tristen Rose deep ball that South’s Brice Pearce laid out for to make a diving interception.
The second came when the ball was snapped over Rose’s head and recovered by Jack Pehrson in the endzone, giving South 14 points in 14 seconds to take a 14-0 lead.
“I think the defense played great, a lot of turnovers, so that’s always a good thing.” Pehrson said. “Offense was just rolling. [Davis] Shanley went down but Drew [Morris] stepped in and all the backups kept up the momentum and kept rolling.”
Pehrson also added an interception to his impressive stat line and returned it to the 4-yard line to set up the War Eagles’ third touchdown. Myles Ellis also added to the interception party when he picked off a screen pass at midfield and returned it to the Bulldogs’ 29-yard line.
South’s senior quarterback Davis Shanley re-injured his back on the War Eagles’ opening possession and left the game. But the War Eagles didn’t miss a beat when sophomore Drew Morris came into the game.
“At first I was nervous but then I settled down,” Morris said. “My guys around me really picked me up and helped me out a lot.”
Morris finished the game going 9-for-12 for 118 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
“He’s actually the third guy,” Arnette said. “Cal [Morris], his older brother, was the backup guy all preseason, spring, and fall until I think week three when he broke his collarbone. And Drew, man, he’s just come on and done a great job. He looked great out there tonight.
Central was never able to get anything going. On their 13 offensive possessions, seven of them ended in turnovers, four were three-and-outs, and they managed to pick up only two first downs.
“Our guys played hard all four quarters,” Central Head Coach Frank Hepler said. “South’s a very good football team. We knew this first year was gonna be tough in our region, but we wanna get to where these great teams are like South and West and Lambert. That’s what we’re striving for.”
South will matchup with one of those great teams next week when they host West (7-2, 3-1) and they know the stakes will be high in the season finale.
“Obviously we have a big game next week against West,” Pehrson said. “It’s gonna be a big one. We play really aggressive and our effort’s great but we just gotta cut down on some of the mental mistakes.”