South Forsyth running back Jared Honey scored twice, using a bruising style that wore the Milton defense down and the War Eagles won 21-13 Friday on the road in a Region 5-AAAAAAA contest.
The win pushes the War Eagles to 7-0 for the first time in the 28-year history of the program. More importantly, they move to 2-0 in league play with the inside track for their second region title in three seasons. The Milton Eagles fell to 5-2 and 1-1.
Honey finished with 121 yards on 27 carries and touchdown runs of 10 and 6 yards, both of which came in the second quarter. As a team, the War Eagles outrushed Milton 193-84.
“We came in with a plan,” said Honey, a senior who stands at 6-feet, 220 pounds. “We tried to run the ball successfully and we stuck with the running game and trusted the process.”
The game didn’t start out well for the War Eagles. On their first possession, they attempted to punt on their own 49 when Milton’s Lucas Moore blocked it and scooped up the ball, returning it 40 yards for a touchdown and giving the Eagles a 6-0 lead after a failed extra point kick.
The War Eagles would respond with 37 seconds left in the first quarter when quarterback Cal Morris ran up the middle for a 31-yard touchdown. With 7:11 remaining in the half, Honey tallied his first score from 6 yards out on third-and-goal. Prior to the score, he had rushed three times in a row starting at the 24-yard line.
On their next possession, Honey ran for another score with 2:22 left in the half, this one from 10 yards out on first-and-goal, knocking three Milton defenders over like bowling pins. He started the drive with a 15-yard run up the middle, again breaking several tackles as he did most of the night.
The South Forsyth defense limited the Eagles to punts on all five of their first-half possessions to take a 21-6 lead into halftime.
However, South Forsyth wouldn’t score again and, ironically, the momentum swung in Milton’s direction after it threw an interception. South Forsyth’s Jaylen Pearson picked off Jordan Yates and returned it 40 yards into Eagles territory but before he could get out of bounds, Yates caught up with him, stripped the ball and recovered it on the Milton 25. Five plays later, the Eagles scored on an 18-yard Solomon Vanhorse run with 2:28 left in the third quarter to bring the score to its final margin.
“That was tough,” said War Eagles coach Jeff Arnette, in his eighth season at South Forsyth. “We felt like if we could have gotten the ball there on their (25-yard line) up 21-6, the way we were running the ball we might could have put it away there.”
But South Forsyth had to again rely on the defense to keep Milton at bay and the Eagles’ final possessions ended in a turnover on downs, another interception — this one by Jake Wilson — another turnover on downs, and a 16-yard completion as time expired, which put them on the 29-yard line.
Morris was 13 of 23 passing for 152 yards and rushed for 59 yards and a score on nine carries, and Ze’vion Capers had 97 yards on seven catches for South Forsyth.
Milton was led by Vanhorse’ 50 yards on 10 carries and Yates finished 14 of 31 passing for 188 yards and two picks and 35 yards on 11 carries. Dylan Leonard had 75 rushing yards on six receptions and Das Hairston had 70 yards on three catches.
South Forsyth 7 14 0 0 - 21
Milton 6 0 7 0 - 13
M - Lucas Moore 40 punt block return (kick failed)
S - Cal Morris 31 run (Alex Hardy kick)
S - Jared Honey 6 run (Hardy kick)
S- Honey 10 run (Hardy kick)
M - Solomon Vanhorse 18 run (Hayden Hairston kick)