Best player in school history: Region 5-AAAAAAA teams

Carl Lawson was an all-state player on Milton’s 2012 team before heading off to Auburn and the NFL. (Jason Getz/AJC)

Milton had played football for more than 60 years before Carl Lawson and Peyton Barber came along. They were senior all-state players on Milton’s 2012 team, then went to Auburn together and did well there.

Now, both play in the NFL. Before that, Milton’s only former player to make the NFL was a punter, Daniel Pope.

But it’s not easy to put a player in the league. Consider that Forsyth County hasn’t had an NFL player in its football history, which started with Cumming High in 1949.

Give it time, though. Forsyth public high schools have grown to five from one, Forsyth Central, in 1989. Two have opened in the past 10 years.

With heavy research help from Brian Paglia, sports editor at the Forsyth County News, here is a little about Forsyth’s best.

At Forsyth Central, OL/DL Brian Westbrook was named honorable mention all-state as a junior in 1997 during the Bulldogs’ best season ever (10-2), when Central won a region title and the program’s only state playoff game in history. He became an all-conference player at Middle Tennessee.

The choice at Lambert (opened in 2009) is a current player, DB/RB Marcus Chatelain, a 1,000-yard rusher this season with a game left. He was a two-year starter and former all-county player in the secondary.

North Forsyth DL/OL Dusty Benefield was a four-year letterman who had 23.5 sacks on North’s 12-2 Class AAA semifinal team in 2001. Benefield went on to The Citadel and started on both sides of the ball.

South Forsyth LB Taylor Owenby had more than 400 tackles in his career, including a county-record 199 as a senior in 2001. He made first-team all-state on South’s 10-3 Class AAA quarterfinal team.

At West Forsyth (opened 2007), A.J. Erdely was a three-year starter who passed for more than 4,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 in his career. He was 28-9 as a starter and is best known for leading West to an upset victory over Hillgrove in the 2011 quarterfinals.

*Forsyth Central: Brandon Westbrook (1998)

*Lambert: Marcus Chatelain (2017)

*Milton: Carl Lawson (2012)

*North Forsyth: Dusty Benefield (2001)

*South Forsyth: Jalen Camp (2015)

*West Forsyth: A.J. Erdely (2012)

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