On Friday, October 22nd, students, faculty, families, and alumni eagerly filled the War Eagle Stadium, awaiting the start of the game of the year.
The South Forsyth marching band, dance team, and cheerleaders supported the players as they prepared to take on Denmark High School for the annual homecoming football game. As South and Denmark were the last two undefeated teams in the region, this game was definitely one for the books.
The game began with the Denmark Danes winning the coin toss and choosing to defer. This allowed South to receive the ball and start off the game. During the first quarter, the ball continued to be passed back and forth between the Danes and the War Eagles. Both teams punted multiple times during the quarter, with not much change in the score. However, with 1 minute remaining in the first quarter, the Danes lined up for a field goal attempt and successfully kicked a field goal to get ahead of South. This play adjusted the scoreboard to 3-0, putting Denmark in the lead at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, senior Tight End Mason Capers caught the ball, gaining five yards for South. The War Eagles gained another penalty during this quarter, moving the ball towards the Danes’ offensive end zone. The War Eagles fought hard during the second quarter as they earned their first touchdown of the game with 4 minutes left. South’s touchdown caused the score to go up 7-3 with the War Eagles now in the lead. After gaining the lead during the second quarter, the athletes and audience were ready for the annual homecoming festivities during halftime.
Students and staff happily waited for the crowning of their homecoming court after a week full of spirit and fun. SFHS Principal Ms. Laura Wilson began the night off by recognizing the faculty king and queen, Chief Wagner and Ms. Kristine Naffky. Following their crowning, the announcer recognized all the students on the court who were beyond thrilled to represent their grades during one of the biggest games of the year. Dylan Cox and Kai Katz were part of the freshmen homecoming court.
“I’m a people person so my favorite part about the week was making new friends,” said Katz. “I felt it was such an honor to represent our South freshman class.
The sophomore homecoming court consisted of Braden Belue and Lauryn Heath; the junior court consisted of Byrce Hammond and Sara Kate Newsome. Finally, after the underclassman made their way off the field, the senior homecoming court prepared to line up along the different yard lines.
The crowd roared in excitement as their senior homecoming court was finally announced. The senior male homecoming court was made up of Luke Sears, Gavin Morris, Mason Cooper, Mason Capers, Justin Tyre, Clay Walsh. Moreover, the senior female homecoming court was made up of Audrey Belue, Bella Kate Caro, Emory Hilton, Madison Blanchard, Julia Nazarowski, and Kate May.
“It felt like a dream come true! I think every girl dreams of becoming the Homecoming Queen, and the feeling I got when they called my name was indescribable,” said homecoming queen Audrey Belue. “I think my favorite part [of the night] was seeing all the love and support from my friends. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you make an impact on people and that they chose [you] to represent the school in this way.”
After admin crowned the homecoming court, the players returned to the field in hopes for a victorious third quarter.
South began the second half of the game by kicking off. The score during the first half of the third quarter did not change much as there was not much progression for the War Eagles. Later in the quarter, the Danes displayed their skills as they came out and scored on their first possession. As the Danes earned their second touchdown of the game, Denmark was now in the lead with a score of 10-7. The War Eagles showcased their dedication as they fought hard during the third quarter. However, South’s offense stalled again allowing Denmark to take over and score near the end of the third quarter, which caused the score to go up 17-7.
In the fourth quarter, the War Eagles continued to execute their strategic pays in order to get ahead of the Danes. With three minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Eagles soared high as they earned another touchdown, bringing the point deficit to 3 points. With a score of 17-14 in favor of Denmark, South had less than two minutes to bring home victory. In order to score a win, South needed to kick off and get a stop in order to get the ball back in their hands. South’s offense pushed past the challenges as they came up big and stopped the Danes’s offense. The Danes passed the ball back to South as they prepared to punt, with a chance to win or tie the game. In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the Eagles played harder than ever before as the crowd continued to hype them up and show their enthusiasm. With the ball in their playing field, South had the chance to drive down the entire field to win the game.
However, their first three plays came up short, landing them with only 30 seconds left in the game. On the fourth down attempt to save the game, South came up short near the end and dropped the pass. As the clock continued ticking, the Denmark Danes ended the game as their quarterback took a knee and South had no remaining time-outs. With a final score of 17-14, Denmark won the game with a 3 point lead.
While South’s homecoming game ended in a loss, the Eagles most definitely gave the night their all as they fought hard and worked as a team. As the night ended, the team huddled together and reflected on their plays and passes.
For the team, this defeat only served as strong motivation for their next game against North Forsyth High School.
“We all made mistakes that night and forgive each other because we know we made some ourselves,” said senior Offensive line Luke Sears. “We also learned that the only thing stopping us from winning games is ourselves and not the other team.”