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Cochran: North Hall doles out punishment

POSTED: December 12, 2007 7:06 a.m.

I'm not sure if North Hall has a motto for this historic season, but I have a suggestion.

"No mistake goes unpunished."

These Trojans take advantage of other teams' mistakes better than any team I've watched this year. That trend has been season-long, but Friday night it stamped the Trojans' ticket to the Georgia Dome.

North Hall forced four turnovers in its 12-10 win against Perry. Two of those turnovers came inside the Trojans' 10-yard line.

If just one of those turnovers goes the other way, the Trojans would be spending next Saturday in front of the T.V.

"We program these kids to play hard all the time," North Hall coach Bob Christmas. "The kids just kept playing hard."

Despite what the final score said, an argument could be made that Perry was the better football team on the field Friday night.

The Panthers had 416 total yard to North Hall's 358. Perry had a balanced attack, rushing for 248 yards and passing for 168. North Hall only managed 13 passing yards.

By the end of the game, the Panthers made moving the ball against North Hall look simple. As much as the Trojans tried, they just could not get a solid hand on Perry's quarterback, Casey Hayward.

Conversley, North Hall's offense looked like it had run into a brick wall by the end of the game. Perry looked bigger, faster and more talented than North Hall for much of the night.

But the Panthers made mistakes that North Hall didn't and that cost them the game. When teams make mistakes against North Hall, they don't get a second chance.

"We do what we do," sophomore defensive back Robert Humphrey said after the game.

Humphrey was responsible for each of North Hall's interceptions, both on tip-drill passes that he made diving catches on. One of those picks came in North Hall's end zone near the end of the first half.

Instead of scoring at least three points and being down by one score at the half, North Hall was guaranteed a 12-3 lead heading into the locker room.

No mistake goes unpunished.

"I was just at the right place at the right time," he said. "I can't explain it."

I might have better luck explaining it. Christmas and company have the team trained to never give up on a game, drive or play.

With just over four minutes left in the first half, Fabian Jackson recovered a fumble inside North Hall's 5-yard line. Anyone watching that drive would have been convinced Perry was going to make it into the end zone.

Had the Panthers found paydirt, they might be making plans for Atlanta next Saturday.

No mistake goes unpunished.

Take North Hall's first touchdown of the game as another example. For the first time all season, the Trojans were trailing, 3-0.

At midfield, Christmas called for what is known in the press box as the "Criss-Cross." Jackson hands the ball off the Hunter Wolf, who then hands it to a crossing Dylon Wolf.

The first time Perry saw the play live, they over-pursued Hunter Wolf, missed, and Dylon Wolf took the ball 50 yards for the touchdown and the lead ­- a lead North Hall would not relinquish.

No mistake goes unpunished.

Perry's final mistake would be its last, a missed field goal that would have given the Panthers the lead and probably the win.

Christmas did his part to force that mistake by calling two timeouts and giving Perry's kicker plenty of time to think of the ramifications.

He also switched Jackson and Hunter Wolf to put more pressure on the kick, which sailed wide to the right and never looked like it had a chance.

No mistake goes unpunished. That's just what North Hall does.



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