Posted: Saturday, September 7th 2013 at 2:14am
War Eagles hold off Spartans in battle to the finish (Video)
GAINESVILLE -- Chestatee breathed a sigh of relief and West Hall was left wondering what might have been on Friday.
The War Eagles rode a gutsy two-point conversion to a 15-14 victory in Gainesville, while the Spartans could only watch in agony as a potential game-winning field goal flew just wide left with 20 seconds remaining.
The two plays proved the only way to separate the cross-county foes, who slugged it out for 48 minutes, combining for almost 500 yards between them.
Chestatee’s offense did grind its way to 233 yards on the ground, while the Spartans passed for 179 – including a huge night for Hunter Atkinson, who caught nine passes for 131 yards and a score.
But it was defense that dominated on Friday, as the two teams battled to a 7-7 first half scoreline.
The Spartans (1-1) twice took the lead, only to watch the War Eagles (1-1) peg them back twice, even taking the lead on a two-point conversion run from quarterback Wyatt Burgess with 5:32 remaining. The point after plunge followed an eight-yard scoring run from Zach Cheshire, who did much of the heavy lifting for Chestatee on the night, carrying for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
Antonio Pittman helped counter for West Hall, rushing for 54 yards on 16 carries. His three-yard touchdown run with 11:11 left in the second quarter gave the visitors a 7-0 lead. Yet Cheshire answered with a 25-yard scoring run with 3:15 left in the half to knot the score at the interval.
Atkinson and West Hall quarterback Zach English – who finished the night 12 of 21 for 179 yards -- combined to put the Spartans back in front in the fourth quarter, English tossing a 27-yard scoring strike to Atkinson with 11:42 left to play.
The War Eagles responded again, however, using a 47-yard sprint from William Fayson to set up Cheshire’s touchdown.
The War Eagles point after gamble paid off and looked set to be enough, but West Hall marched downfield in the dying seconds and nearly snatched the victory, only to watch a field goal attempt fly painfully wide.
West Hall will look to bounce back at Lumpkin County next week, while Chestatee will take a week off in preparation for the start of the Region 8-AAAA season against Eastside on Sept. 20.
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