CUMMING, Ga. — After such a successful regular season, South Forsyth’s year concluded with an early exit from the playoffs after a 31-13 loss to Mountain View Friday night.
The game brought an end to the most successful class in program history. The War Eagles’ seniors went 33-13, captured two region titles and earned four playoff berths.
And they have nothing but respect from head coach Jeff Arnette.
“They’ve accomplished so much,” he said. “They had a great season and they’ve had great careers. I love them and I’m going to miss them.”
After winning all 10 games this season in regulation, South’s earned the No. 1 seed from Region 5-AAAAAAA. Even with the top-seed, the War Eagles matched up against perhaps 7A’s toughest fourth-seeded team in Mountain View.
In the physical game, which was a defensive battle throughout, turnovers proved to be the difference.
“Turnovers killed us,” Arnette said. “I felt like we had our chances but turnovers just seemed to be the end of us.”
South committed three giveaways on the night, including an 86-yard interception return for a touchdown with the War Eagles trailing 17-13 early in the fourth quarter.
In a game where neither team had much offensive success and were held to under 300 total yards, that turnover proved to be the game-clincher for Mountain View.
Jared Honey was held to under 90 yards and a touchdown. Cal Morris went 19-41 passing for 219 yards.
South’s defense held the Bears to limited success either via the run or pass. Arnette said he was especially pleased with his team’s performance in the second quarter, but turnovers kept them on the field for too long in the second half.
After the pick-six put Mountain View ahead 24-13, another South drive ended with an interception. Mountain View would later score with five minutes remaining to seal the win.
Even after a bitter end to a nearly spotless season, Arnette said his team proved throughout the year their tenacity.
“The way they won some of those big games against Roswell and South Gwinnett, the kids never gave up,” he said. “That’s what I’ll take away, how hard they played and how much they believed. They never felt they were out of a game.”
With their senior class removing South jerseys for the final time, Arnette expects that they will leave an indelible mark on the War Eagles’ program.
“There’s no doubt success breeds success,” he said. “That’s what happened the last few years. The juniors and underclassmen have definitely seen their leadership, and when they see that, they carry that on when it’s their time to lead.”
South finished their season with a 9-2 overall record. Their first-round exit from the playoffs was their third in the past four years.