Game: Etowah (0-1) at Forsyth Central (0-0)
Last meeting: Etowah 35 Forsyth Central 7 (2005)
All-time series: Etowah leads 4-2
Prediction: Etowah 24, Forsyth Central 21
Etowah saw a fourth-quarter comeback win slip through its hands in Week 1 but there were several positives to take away from new coach Matt Kemper’s debut with the Eagles.
He said there were many areas of improvement needed, too.
“We can’t that have that many penalties and we can’t be on the field that long on defense,” Kemper said. “But there were a lot of positives to take away. I thought a pleasant surprise offensively was our offensive line play. We were able to run the ball in the second half and we hope that having played this game will help us. We learned some things, especially on offense.”
Offensively, Etowah struggled to find a rhythm in the passing game. The quarterback rotation of junior Braden Bohanan and sophomore Will Curcio finished a combined 5-for-16 for 75 yards but there were flashes of success in the second half. Senior running back Klivery Many led the comeback against Creekview, finishing with a team-high 16 carries for 33 yards and one touchdown.
Senior linebackers Lane Cantrell and Austin Skinner looked like the all-county performers from a season ago while fellow senior Jared Weitkamp was effective along the defensive line. Senior defensive back Carlos Thornton Jr. recorded an interception as the Eagles held Creekview’s passing game in check throughout the game.
Possibly the brightest performance came from sophomore kicker Carson Allen who finished 2-for-2 on his field-goal attempts (39 and 43) while also putting all four kickoffs into the endzone. His punting (long of 56) also helped Etowah flip the field in the second half.
Forsyth Central had its scheduled season-opener against Blessed Trinity canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Blessed Trinity program and as a result, Friday’s game will be the first of the season for the Bulldogs. Forsyth Central finished 4-5 in 2019 and should be led offensively by seniors Bronson Landreth, Eli Ruis and Solomon Gates. Landreth returns at quarterback where he was a dual-threat in 2019, finishing with 606 rushing yards and 497 passing yards.
“They run the veer and I know coach (Frank) Hepler is a heck of a football coach,” Kemper said. “And the quarterback is very talented and does a lot of things for them. You turn on the tape and you see a quarterback returning kicks, you know he’s a talented kid.”
The Bulldogs were primarily a run offense last season and will likely lean on their offensive again to lead the offense. Senior Canaan Clark (6-for-6, 310 pounds) will play along both the offensive and defensive lines for Forysth Central and is an East Carolina commit. Senior Robby Watson (6-foot-3, 296 pounds) will return at center and the pair will be joined by several other college prospects.
Forsyth Central will be looking to replace its leading receiver from last season along with four of its top six tacklers from 2019.