Posted: Saturday, September 22nd 2012 at 1:37am
Chestatee fans ride roller coaster to thrilling finish
By Morgan Lee Editor
Chestatee's Spencer Stover celebrates after a tackle. The War Eagles defeated Eastside 57-56 in double overtime on Friday in Gainesville.
GAINESVILLE -- If Chestatee football was looking for a spark, the War Eagles certainly provided themselves with one on Friday night.
Facing their second overtime of the night in their first region contest of the campaign, the War Eagles stared down Eastside, holding the Eagles out of the end zone on a 2-point conversion attempt and then finding their own scoring touch to clinch an emotional 57-56 victory in Gainesville.
“Ever since I’ve been at Chestatee people have always said we beat who we’re supposed to beat but that we don’t upset anybody -- well we did that tonight,” War Eagles coach Stan Luttrell said. “No one outside of our locker room expected us to beat Eastside, but our guys just stepped up and kept making plays. They showed that they believe in what we do, and it showed tonight. This was incredible.”
The game was a feast for the offensively-minded, as the two teams combined for almost 1,015 total yards -- Chestatee outgaining Eastside 592-423. But with neither side able to gain control in regulation, the contest moved into overtime, which provided a roller-coaster unto itself.
The War Eagles (2-1, 1-0 Region 8-AAAA) scored first, capitalizing on a 2-point conversion -- only to watch Eastside match the feat and send the game into the second extra frame.
The visiting Eagles (2-2, 0-1) claimed the first possession in the second OT, scoring again, but this time Chestatee’s defense held firm, denying a 2-point conversion attempt.
Chestatee’s offense then showed its flair for the dramatic, scoring on fourth and nine, as quarterback Jordan DeGraff found receiver Kelly Arthur in the end zone for the tying points. Placekicker Eddie Zamora held his nerve on the point after attempt, sending his kick through the uprights for the clinching score.
“I’ve been on the other side of that, and that was really neat just to see how all the guys just stepped up,” Luttrell said.
Certainly that included Quan Clark, as the Chestatee running back exploded for 303 yards rushing (250 in the first half) and three scores on 29 carries – including touchdown runs of 65, 46 and 43 yards. Fellow running back AJ Sijiye also played well, rumbling for 130 yards and 3 scores and the 2-point conversion in the first overtime.
The War Eagles rushed for 540 yards on the night and turned the ball over just once -- on an interception that Eastside returned for a score in the first quarter.
“To have no fumbles was huge,” Luttrell said. “Our offensive line did a great job tonight. We always say we’re only as good as our offensive line. They scored us 57 points tonight.”
Eastside rushed for 289 yards on the night, including 104 yards on 18 carries from Alex Smith. Jomondi Smith also had eight rushes for 174 yds and three scores -- coming on rushes of 53, 61, and 15 yards.
Chestatee will travel to face Stephens County next Friday.
-- Bryan Pirkle contributed to this report
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