ATLANTA — Saturday’s Corky Kell Classic between Roswell and South Forsyth had all the making of a heavyweight bout.
In one corner sat South Forsyth, a talented team looking to project itself into the talks of 7A’s elite programs and fighting as an on-paper underdog. In the other corner was Roswell, wearing the two-time state runner up belt with questions left to be answered with a new coaching staff and 22 new starters.
And in the end, the fight proved to go the distance, with South Forsyth outlasting Roswell 17-14 in double overtime at Georgia State Stadium Friday night.
The first few rounds proved a stalemate as neither team found the scoreboard in the first half.
South appeared poised to strike first early in the second quarter on Roswell’s 1-yard line, but a botched handoff was recovered by Roswell. Later in the quarter, South came up with their own goal line stand with a sack and two incompletions turned the ball over on downs.
Roswell finally broke through midway through the third with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Cordel Littlejohn to Walt Warren. Littlejohn went 12-20 for 120 yards.
But South would knot the game early in the fourth with a 17-yard touchdown rush from Jared Honey, who compiled over 100 yards rushing in the game.
Neither team found the end zone again until overtime, when not only did both teams rush for a touchdown, they scored quickly.
Littlejohn rushed 15-yards for a score on Roswell’s first overtime play, but South responded by two plays later with a rushing touchdown from its quarterback, Cal Morris.
South took a 17-14 lead with a 23-yard field goal in the second overtime period, forcing Roswell to score to at least keep the contest going.
But Roswell was quickly backed up by a Ryan LaFlamme sack and a penalty. On fourth and long, Roswell decided to go for the conversion, and potential win.
“We have a freshman kicker and it was just out of his range,” Roswell head coach Matt Kemper said. “We had to try and convert it and try and win.”
Littlejohn found Kamonty Jett on a short pass on the attempted conversion, with Jett streaking towards the sideline and the first down marker. However, Jett would fall short on the line to gain, earning a pivotal win for South’s program.
Though the Hornets suffered their first regular season loss since Halloween of 2014, Kemper said he was still proud of his inexperienced team.
“I’m thoroughly pleased with how hard the kids played,” he said. “South Forsyth is a good football team and well coached. We hung in there and stood toe to toe with them.”
Kemper was impressed with his defense’s performance, which held South to just over 200 yards of total offense.
“The defense was the strength of the team last night,” he said. “That’s vital as the offensive continues to gel. We tackled well for the most part and had a big goal line stand. We’re looking to build on that.”
On offense, Kemper said the team will focus on consistency after the loss.
“We felt like we left a touchdown out there,” he said. “We took care of the football, but we need to learn how to finish drives.”
Following the loss, the Hornets will have an extra week to prepare for their second game against Central Gwinnett.
“At this point in the season, everyone has some bumps and bruises and the bye will allow us to get healthy,” he said. “We will regroup and get back at in two weeks.”