West Forsyth to close regular season at East Forsyth
Published 1:24 am Tuesday, October 25, 2022
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
Whenever West Forsyth and East Forsyth play in any sport, it conjures up the definition of a rivalry.
The 2022 rendition of the football rivalry will take place on Friday at Fred E. Lewis Stadium in Kernersville in the final game of the regular season. This year, it’s the Titans, who are 4-5 overall and 4-2 in the Central Piedmont 4-A, at the Eagles, who are 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the conference.
West Forsyth has won four of the last five games, including a 31-10 win last Friday against Reynolds.
“(This) week’s a big week,” Coach Adrian Snow of West Forsyth said. “Always, when West Forsyth plays East Forsyth it’s a big time. We’ll excited for our kids, excited at our opportunity. And I know they’re well-coached and they’re talented.”
This is Snow’s 15th season as the head coach at West. Todd Willert, the head coach at East Forsyth, has a 9-6 advantage against Snow in the rivalry, including the playoffs.
“It’s a great rivalry,” Snow said. “When you go back and look at it, it’s pretty close to being even, which makes it nice. That’s what a rivalry should be.”
After not playing for two years because of COVID-19, East Forsyth won last year’s game 35-14 in Clemmons. East Forsyth is coming off a win against Glenn, its cross-town rival in Kernersville, 26-0 last Friday.
“We just got done playing Glenn,” Willert said. “Obviously, that’s our town rival, and now you do your county rival. It’s just a special rivalry. It’s not a bitter one.
“I think Adrian and I have become better friends through our wives. And I think everybody kind of knows that story now. We have matured, so it’s a really good rivalry. It’s a fun one. Our kids respect each other. The schools respect each other, so it’s neat and it’s kind of cool that you end the season with a big-time rivalry.”
Since East Forsyth joined the Central Piedmont 4A Conference in 2017, the Eagles and West Forsyth have finished the regular season in football against each other except for the spring season of 2021.
“It’s a neat thing just because you get ready for the playoffs and to have those high, intense games, it helps build you to help get ready for what we call the third phase in the playoffs,” Willert said. “So, it does help. We’ve got so many good teams in our conference. It’s just good to go against a good coaching staff like West Forsyth.”
The rivalry, and the perennial success that both programs have had over the years, has also elevated the level of play within the rest of the conference.
“One hundred percent,” Snow said of the level of play within the conference. “You want to beat them, so you’ve got to be good.”
After not playing for two years, both teams stepped on the field last year at Jerry Peoples Stadium ready to rekindle the rivalry.
“They got after us pretty good,” Snow said. “That’s what’s good about football. Here you are, here’s our chance to go again, and see what happens.”
Willert is fully in agreement with that.
“It’s no difference. West makes us better, and I think we make West better,” he said.
That speaks volumes as to how dominant they’ve been against their previous nine opponents. They’ve outscored their opponents 417-82. In the Eagles’ last three games against Parkland, Reynolds and Glenn, they’ve outscored them 136-0.
“Their offense is full of weapons,” running back Caman Chaplin of West said. “We should be able to get to the defense. It’s still going to be a hard game, obviously, but if we come out and play our hardest, there could be a chance we could come out on top.”
As far as the offense for East Forsyth, it all starts with quarterback Jaylen Raynor, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior, who has committed to play at Arkansas State. He’s 127-of-194 passing for 2,037 yards, 29 touchdowns and two interceptions. In addition, he’s dangerous running the ball. He has 1,068 yards rushing on 96 carries and has 16 touchdowns.
“Whether he needs to run the ball or throw the ball, he just understands the game and he gets it done,” Willert said of Raynor. “And he’s such a great person. The kids respect him, coaches respect him, administration, teachers — he’s just the total package. He’s a great human being and that’s what makes him a great football player.”
The Eagles are also loaded at receiver. Que’Sean Brown, who has committed to Duke, has 580 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns in seven games. Tight end Jayvontae Conner, who has committed to Mississippi, has 545 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns in nine games.
The defense is no slouch either, led by senior RJ Brown, a 6-0, 200-pound linebacker, Nick Martin, who leads the team with 10 sacks and senior Matthew Joines, a 6-1, 175-pound defensive back. Brown has 54 solo tackles and 25 solo tackles. Both Brown and Joines have two interceptions.
“I’m excited for these kids because they bought in, they believed in what we were telling them.” Willert said. “And it just makes me proud that they believed in the coaching staff and what we had said.”
No matter the result, it is likely that West Forsyth will receive an NCHSAA Class 4-A playoff berth when the brackets are announced on Saturday.
“You’ve got to be locked in,” Snow said. “We’re getting ready to finish the (quarter in school), which is big. Got to do well in the classroom, finish up strong, and have a good week of preparation.”