For the second time this season, Lambert boys varsity Friday squared off against their most bitter rivals from just up the road. And, for the second time this season, it was the Longhorns who took home the result, winning 3-1 over the South Forsyth War Eagles (5-4-1) at the Horn.
It wasn’t easy. In this rivalry, it never is.
Just six minutes into the match, the Longhorns got off on the right foot. Striker Hayden Fontana scored his 13th goal of the season. He converted a pass from Thomas Powers, blasting home a shot over the keeper’s head and between his upraised arms for a 1-0 Lambert lead.
The lead didn’t last long. The War Eagles scored the equalizer six minutes later on a well-placed free kick that eluded Lambert keeper Chris Smith. It was only the second goal Lambert has given up this season.
Unfazed, the Longhorns pushed back, controlling the ball and pinning South in their defensive zone. The pressure paid off in the 27th minute. Midfielder Yeonsung Lee dribbled to the left side of the South goal and zipped a shot into the back of the net, on the short-side, for a 2-1 Lambert lead. It was Lee’s sixth goal of the season.
At the half, the Longhorns held that slim one-goal lead.
Seven minutes into the second half, the ‘Horns gained some breathing room. Forward Thomas Powers dribbled inside the 10-yard line and ripped a shot on the South goal. The keeper made the save, but couldn’t control the rebound. Powers pounced on it and slipped the ball into the net for a 3-1 lead. The goal was Powers’ third of the season.
Lambert celebrated, but did not stop attacking. The tactic, along with a decisive advantage in possession, allowed the Longhorns to run out the clock and suffocate any chance for a War Eagle comeback.
On the few offensive chances South did have, the rock-solid Lambert defense had all the answers, delivering another near-flawless performance.
In the end, the defending state champions took home a satisfying 3-1 win and moved ever closer to their sixth region championship. The Longhorns, now 11-0-0, are ranked second in the state of Georgia and third in the nation.
Next up: another region home match on Wednesday, March 27 against Milton (8-4-1). Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.