Posted: Saturday, August 31st 2013 at 3:31am
'New-look' Trojans hold off rival Chestatee
By Jeff Hart Staff
North Hall's defense comes to grips with Chestatee in the Trojans' 33-15 win on Friday at The Brickyard. / photo: Robert Hernandez
GAINESVILLE -- New quarterback. New running backs.
Same old result.
North Hall used its typical bruising ground attack behind new quarterback Andrew Smith and got scoring runs from four different backs in a 33-15 win over arch-rival Chestatee Friday night at The Brickyard in both teams’ season openers.
The Trojans (1-0) pounded out 339 yards on the ground as three players had 74 yards rushing or more and wore down the War Eagles in the second half.
North Hall coach Bob Christmas said it was as good an opening game as he could have hoped for considering all the changes from last year’s Class AAA state semifinalist team.
“I thought we showed poise at times and I was really pleased with how we took control in the second half,” Christmas said. “Andrew gets us going and I thought he did a great job leading us. It was a typical Chestatee game. Chestatee is a solid team and very physical. The big thing is that we came out with a win and came out healthy.”
It was tight until late in the second quarter when the Trojans scored on a 51-yard drive and then took advantage of a War Eagles turnover deep in their own territory for 14 points in a two-minute span.
“I thought our defense played outstanding all game, except for two drives,” Christmas said. “Chestatee is big up front and I thought we battled all night. I was very pleased with our effort.”
North Hall held Chestatee to just 43 total yards in the first half and forced two big turnovers to thwart drives.
Chestatee would get back in the game cutting the lead to 14-7 on its first drive of the second half and then to 20-15 early in the fourth quarter. But each War Eagles score was answered by the Trojans.
“I thought that was big for us,” Christmas said. “You have to respond when the other team scores and Andrew did a great job of leading us down the field.”
Brannon Dyer (76 yards, 1 TD), Zac Little (75 yards, 1 TD), and Isaac Seid (74 yards, 1 TD) gave the Trojans a solid triumvirate in the backfield and Smith added 49 yards from the quarterback spot.
Chestatee (0-1) was led by Wyatt Burgess with 55 yards rushing. Blake Buffington finished with 49 yards and one touchdown and Tray Bryant had 34 yards and one score for the War Eagles. Justin Spears had an excellent game on special teams for Chestatee with over 100 yards in returns, including a 58-yard romp that he nearly broke for a touchdown.
North Hall looked poised to score on its opening possession moving the ball inside the Chestatee 20 behind a long run by Smith and another by Dyer. But two motion penalties and two solid defensive plays by the War Eagles stopped the drive.
The teams would trade punts into the second quarter before the Trojans got the first break of the game on a botched punt snap by Chestatee at the War Eagles’ 32.
But Smith was forced to leave for two plays and the North Hall drive stalled at the Chestatee 32 after two more defensive stops by the War Eagles. The Trojans would get another break partially blocking a Chestatee punt and this time would capitalize.
Nolan Tucker would cap the 51-yard drive on a 14-run on a nifty end around to give North Hall a 7-0 lead with 3:35 left in the first half after a Chris Dennis extra point.
North Hall was driving for a second score after a 24-yard run by Seid. But Chestatee forced a fumble on the next play and recovered at its own 26.
Chestatee tried to answer right back as Spears returned the kickoff 58 yards to the North Hall 22. But two plays later the War Eagles would suffer their second fumble of the half at the North Hall 15 and the Trojans would take the lead into halftime.
Chestatee finally got its offense untracked to start the third quarter. The War Eagles drove 64 yards -- converting three fourth down plays along the way -- and watched Buffington cap the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 14-7 after a Eddie Zamora extra point.
The Trojans would respond driving 67 yards, capped by a 27-yard run by Dyer for a 20-7 lead. Smith got North Hall into position with a shifty 18-yard run to the War Eagles’ 32.
Then Chestatee would answer again. The War Eagles drove 54 yards, capped by a 3-yard run from Bryant with 8:42 left in the game, converting two more fourth downs. Austin Passmore would convert a two-point conversion picking up a bad snap and racing to the left corner to cut the lead to 20-15.
But North Hall answered that score quickly when Seid sprinted 74-yards two plays later for a 26-15 lead after another botched extra point with 7:52 left. The War Eagles never recovered.
Little would seal the win for the Trojans with a 9-yard score with just 1:26 left in the game.
Chestatee will play host to improved West Hall in its home-opener next week. North Hall travel to take on Johnson next week.
NOTES: North Hall is now 10-2 in season-openers under Bob Christmas and 11-1 against Chestatee all-time. The only War Eagles win in the series came in 2005 at The Brickyard. The Trojans have won six straight season openers at home and are 8-1 in season home openers going back to 1995. . .North Hall was 7-1 at The Brickyard last season. The only loss coming to eventual Class AA state champion Jefferson. . .Chestatee is now 2-3 in season openers on the road. . .The loss snapped Chestatee’s six-game road winning streak going back to 2011.
Chestatee....0....0....7....8 -- 15
North Hall.....0.....14....6....13 -- 33
NH -- N. Tucker 14 run (Dennis kick) 7-0, 3:35
NH -- Shelton 15 pass from Smith (Dennis kick) 14-0, 1:14
CHS -- Buffington 5 run (Zamora kick) 14-7, 6:46
NH -- Dyer 27 run (kick failed) 20-7, 3:43
CHS -- T. Bryant 3 run (Passmore run) 20-15, 8:42
NH -- Seid 74 run (run failed) 26-15, 7:52
NH -- Z. Little 9 run (Dennis kick) 33-15, 1:26
© Copyright 2013 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.