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Chestatee wins shootout over Johnson, 56-38

Second-half outburst lifts War Eagles to wild win

POSTED: September 17, 2008 5:01 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Johnson High defender Gilberto Espinoza smothers Chestatee runner Ethan Souther during Friday's game at Billy Ellis Stadium in Oakwood.

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  • Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell disscusses its 56-38 win against Johnson.

OAKWOOD -- Chestatee High football coach Stan Luttrell knew his offense was capable of doing big things on offense this season after being shut out in the season opener two weeks ago.

But nobody involved could have imagined that the War Eagles (1-1) would have produced a new school scoring record with a 56-38 win over Johnson (0-3) on Friday night at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium.

The War Eagles pulled away for victory with four touchdown drives that went seven plays or more. That's a direct contrast to the season opener against Gainesville when four separate drives with double-digit plays came up empty.

"We talk about finishing on drives and managed to do that tonight," Luttrell said. "It was a hard fought effort, even though we still have some problems to fix."

Trailing 24-21 at halftime, Chestatee's offense started the second half with a scoring drive that ended with a 28-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Ethan Souther to wide receiver Spencer Gruenenfelder.

Chestatee's running game was nearly flawless in the second half with touchdown runs of 64 and 85 yards by junior running back Ben Souther. He finished the game with four touchdowns and 262 yards.

Peyton Bazzell added a 1-yard touchdown run in the second half for the War Eagles, who finished the game with 356 yards (10.6 yards per carry) on the ground.

Souther says the War Eagles' offensive line gets all the credit for that rushing rampage.

"Our offensive line is nasty," Souther said. "They play the hardest position and they really did all the work for us up front."

Not only did Chestatee's offense take control in the second half, but so did the defense.

The War Eagles managed to put the clamps on the Knights' running game, allowing only 120 yards on the ground in the second half after allowing 235 in the first half.

Chestatee was playing without senior linebacker Chase Vasser, who was held out with a sprained knee ligament. Luttrell hopes to have his Georgia recruit ready to play against Flowery Branch next week.

Luttrell says this was only the second come-from-behind win in the second half during his time with the War Eagles.

The Knights' running game was flowing smoothly in the first half as shown in a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive that junior quarterback Anthony Prophet finished with a score from the 1.

Prophet also scored on a 42-yard run and threw for an 11-yard touchdown to tight end Chris Cannon in the third quarter.

But injuries soon became the story for the Knights. Johnson junior wing back Tevin Arthur left the game with a broken leg in the second quarter.

It only got worse from there. After only dressing 33 players, Johnson lost linebacker Joey Brooks (wrist), offensive lineman Justin Hadden (knee) and Cam Evans (concussion) during the remainder of the game. The Knights were forced to throw a handful of freshman into action the remainder of the game.

"I couldn't ask any more out of our kids," Johnson coach Paul Friel said. "We just don't have enough players."
Prophet (16 carries, 110 yards), Mick Shannon (15 carries, 97 yards) and Mantevius Rucker (15 carries, 82 yards, touchdown) led the Knights' running game.

Johnson junior linebacker Gilberto Espinoza led the team with 10 tackles, three for losses.

Chestatee next visits Flowery Branch and Johnson plays host to Pickens at 7:30 p.m. next Friday. 



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