CUMMING, Ga. — The foundations of a rivalry game can be built upon many aspects.
Some rivalries are due to the close proximity of two schools. Some are born out of a history of hard-fought, close games. Others are continued by their fanbases “love-to-hate” attitude towards the other program. And some rivalry games seem to always have huge implications for each team’s season.
For Lambert and South Forsyth, their rivalry is founded in all those reasons.
And perhaps the most prevalent the last few years is the how crucial a victory is in the series.
In 2015, the two teams met up in the de-facto Region 6-AAAAAA championship game in the final week of the regular season. South captured a 31-6 win and the region title with it.
Last season, Lambert was on the winning end of a 28-20 contest. The Longhorns and South finished region play at 4-1, but Lambert held the tiebreaker for the region championship with their win over the War Eagles.
This year didn’t produce a close game, but proved to be a massive, 38-0 win for South Forsyth.
“It was a great win for our program,” South head coach Jeff Arnette said. “We played well in all three phases of the game and the kids played hard.”
Arnette gave credit to his offensive and defensive coaches for their “great” game plans, and said his team was well prepared for their region opening game.
“The focus during the week was awesome,” he said. “They were prepared as we’ve been for a long time.”
South Forsyth’s defense played “fast and confident” and managed to stop Lambert’s rushing attack and held the Longhorns to under 200 yards of total offense.
Lambert’s shutout loss was its first since 2011.
South’s offense scored more than 30 points for the fifth consecutive game thanks to over 250 yards passing from Cal Morris and success in the running game. Arnette said his team passed more in the early going to open Lambert’s stacked defensive box.
“Our offensive line blocked well for the run game and had great pass protection,” Arnette said. “If you’re offensive line is playing as well as ours is right now, you’re going to have success on offense.”
The War Eagles are undoubtedly confident after their dominating win over the Longhorns, not to mention starting the season undefeated through six games. But Arnette knows there is much work still left to be done.
“Being 6-0 is great, but winning the region championship was our focus going in to this season,” he said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
That starts next week as South takes on Milton (5-1, 1-0) who are thriving under first-year head coach Adam Clack.
“Milton is a great football team,” Arnette said. “They are picked to win the region right now. We’ll go back on Monday and get better.”