South Forsyth head coach Jeff Arnette saw a completely different South Gwinnett defense Friday night than he saw on film earlier in the week.
“They played more like they did two weeks ago against Central Gwinnett,” Arnette said, referring to the Comets’ low-scoring affair on Aug. 17. “They have a lot of good football players. We never were able to put them away.”
Luckily for Arnette, his own defense punched back and wore down the Comets, 21-7, in a physical slugfest between the Class AAAAAAA non-region foes.
War Eagles quarterback Drew Morris rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the first half, which contained the entirety of the game’s points. Otherwise, he was hounded by the South Gwinnett (1-2) defense all night. He was tackled in the backfield seven times and completed just 4 of 18 pass attempts with two interceptions.
South Gwinnet had many costly penalties — 12 for 115 yards — and an offensive output of just 147 yards with zero offensive touchdowns created an uphill battle for the Comets, who have lost two straight.
Their lone score was on the second play of the game, when Josh Sery intercepted Morris and zipped 27 yards into the end zone. The lead proved to be short-lived, as Morris scored on a 41-yard bootleg just 40 seconds later.
“A lot of things can happen to you after you get a pick-six on you, but we came right back and took it right down to score, then got the two-point conversion to take the lead,” Arnette said. “I was proud of them for that.”
South Forsyth (2-1) expanded on the lead later in the first quarter, using a 54-yard screen play from Morris to Colby Cruz to cut deep into South Gwinnett territory, then rode a Jordan Brunson-led power run game to complete the drive with a TD and a 15-7 advantage.
That was almost the halftime score, as the Comets forced two fourth-down situations on the War Eagles’ final possession of the first half, only to be flagged on both plays and help South Forsyth preserve its drive. The War Eagles scored on an 18-yard keeper by Morris.
The scoreless second half was just as physical as the first, but offered a glimmer of hope for South Gwinnett in the fourth quarter when quarterback Vashaun Stockman found Deshawn Robinson on a screen to create an 82-yard touchdown.