East Forsyth head coach Brian Allison has seen a dramatic improvement in his team since last season.
Sure, you might roll your eyes at that statement as most teams make improvements from year to year. However, East Forsyth is the only area school in its second year of existence and is currently undefeated.
Rewind to last season, their first ever, the Broncos had all sorts of problems. Not to forget, they were a young new team with no senior class. They had trouble lining up on both sides of the ball, getting snaps right and executing the expectations of the staff.
Those players are a year older with senior leadership, two things Allison said have made the most significant difference in the hot start.
"There's a lot of maturity in our kids and an understanding of what our expectations are," Allison said. "Last year, we started six 9th graders, and this year, we're starting six 10th graders, so just that level and having seniors in the huddle and on the sidelines have helped as well. It's just a level of understanding the game and being able to execute this year."
The Broncos have reeled off three wins to start the season, including a shocking Region 8-4A victory over Cedar Shoals two weeks ago.
East Forsyth is No. 1 in Class 4A in points allowed, averaging 5.6 points per game and scoring 36 ppg.
But they'll face the best offense they've seen all season when they play host to region foe Walnut Grove on Friday. You can hear the game live on FM 102.9 WDUN and stream it at accesswdun.com.
The Warriors are averaging just under 29 ppg but boast a nasty rushing attack that averages 300 yards.
Running back Emaad Howard has 558 yards and eight TDs, while quarterback Ashton Adams has carried the ball for 426 yards and three scores.
Allison says those two are a handful, but the Warriors' offensive line has been the biggest reason for the ferocious ground attack.
"My challenge to our guys this week has been to be physical," he said. "They have the best offensive line we've seen, so we have to do a great job of tackling and stay in our gaps."
The Warriors are coming in off a loss to none other than Cedar Shoals. Since the Broncos beat Cedar Shoals, there have been a lot of comparisons to Walnut Grove's loss to the Bulldogs. But does it help Allison and his staff prepare for Walnut Grove?
"I think it has a little bit just kind of getting an idea of where they're at. They are a much better football team than they were last year. They are well-coached. They do a really good job of being solid and sound scheme-wise. It does help to have that game, but it will be a challenge for us. We're going to have to play as we did against Cedar. We played probably as close to a perfect game as we could possibly play and only won by eight. We'll see where we're at on it. I feel like our guys will compete."
Offensively, the Broncos have been a run-first team thanks to physical play from the offensive line and a steady attack from rushing leaders Brandon Peoples and Tripp Morris.
Peoples leads the team with 401 yards and 4 TDs, while Morris has 20 totes for 195 yards and 3 TDs.
Allison said they'll continue with the run-first mentality this week, but don't count out a pass or two.
"We're going to start off trying to run the football," he said. "If we have to throw it, we will, which is a strange thing coming out of my mouth because of the past few years we've been throwing it all over the field. But, right now, our offensive line is playing really, really well. I feel like Brock Szakacs has done a great job at QB taking care of the football, and our receivers have caught the ball well. Yeah, I think we'll need to open it up a little bit against them."
Regardless of the Xs and Os, the Broncos seemed to be ahead of schedule on the build. If they get a win Friday, they won't be in the playoffs, but the Broncos will be on the right path.
"It puts you at the top and takes a little bit of pressure off of you later in the season," Allison said. "It's a game that can surely put us in the hunt for the playoffs."