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Chestatee rallies, tops Lanier in 2 OTs, 20-17

Blocked punt for TD ties it late; War Eagles then win in second extra period

POSTED: October 19, 2013 12:48 a.m.
CHARLIE WILLIAMS /For The Times

Chestatee quarterback Wyatt Burgess tries to shake off a Lanier defender during Friday night's game in Sugar Hill.

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SUGAR HILL — Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell has told his players all season long to give “four quarters and then some.”

The four quarters part hasn’t been a problem for the War Eagles this year. Those last three words finally came into action Friday.

Led by quarterback Wyatt Burgess’ game-winning 3-yard touchdown run, the War Eagles rallied to hold off Lanier 20-17 in double overtime for a key Region 8-AAAA victory.

“The way our offense responded in overtime was huge,” Luttrell said. “Great team victory, never losing faith in what we’re doing. That’s why we were able to finish.”

Chestatee (6-1, 4-0) overcame a 7-0 deficit entering the fourth quarter of a tightly-matched defensive battle. The War Eagles forced the game-tying score on William Fayson’s 15-yard touchdown return after recovering a blocked Lanier (5-2, 2-2) punt deep in Longhorn territory with 3:52 left to play.

The War Eagles’ offense finally came alive in overtime. Khalil Cantrell jumped on a loose ball in the end zone after a goal-line run by Tray Bryant. That was countered by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Lanier’s Canyon Cook to Timothy Leazer to tie the game at 14 and force a second overtime.

Chestatee’s defense, which had been stellar the entire night, held the Longhorns to Mason Harwood’s 40-yard field goal to open the second overtime.

From there, all the War Eagles needed was a touchdown to win the game. Burgess took care of that, sweeping an option run to left of the line before diving into the end zone for the game-winning score.

“We just ran the option,” Burgess said. “A big shout-out to the O-line, making the holes. Of course, we had nerves — we always do. We knew we just had to do what we do.”

The win keeps Chestatee on top of Region 8-AAAA by half a game, keeping alive a potential region championship game with Monroe Area on Nov. 1, should both teams go unbeaten until then.

If the War Eagles continue to shut down teams defensively to pull out victories, there’s certainly nothing stopping the marquee matchup from happening.

“I haven’t even watched Monroe,” Luttrell said. “But I like our guys. I like how we’re playing defense, and I like how these guys are playing hard, fast and physical Chestatee football. Believing in each other and believing in the coaching staff. And I think the season shows that.”

Chestatee held Lanier to just 114 yards offense, including 48 in the second half. The War Eagles recorded 11 tackles for loss.

The most damage the Longhorns could do to the War Eagles’ defense was on the first drive of the night, when Cook converted a fourth-and-13 with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Devin Valentine for an early 7-0 lead.

Lanier’s offense faded the rest of the first half. The Longhorns were shut down five more times before halftime, and coughed up a fumble and an interception late in the second quarter.

“You can’t say enough about our defense,” Luttrell said. “Our defense is just playing all-out.”

Even with Lanier’s offense locked down, Chestatee couldn’t capitalize on the opportunities. The War Eagles entered Longhorn territory just three times in the first half and missed a 47-yard field goal attempt as the second quarter clock expired.

The War Eagles finished the game with 213 yards offense.

Chestatee didn’t see another prime opportunity to score until it pushed a long drive down to Lanier 15-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. An illegal block forced the War Eagles into a fourth-and-17 situation that they couldn’t convert.

The ensuing drive, a Lanier team playing conservative football didn’t get its punt away from a Chestatee hand, Fayson cradled the loose ball and cruised into the end zone to tie the game in the final minutes of regulation.

“He saved the game for us,” Burgess said.

“Of course, there was worry, but we knew we had to get the ball back and just play War Eagle football. O-line had to block, running backs played hard. They did, and we came out with a W.”

Bryant finished the game with a team-high 87 yards on 17 carries, while Zac Cheshire carried the ball 23 times for 56 yards. Burgess had 48 yards on 13 carries.

Lanier, which lost to Chestatee in overtime in 2012, was led by Tario Fuller’s 41 yards on 20 carries. Cook was 5 of 17 passing for 69 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.



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