Kyle Bacus set a new North Hall school record for single-game rushing with 337 yards in a 68-42 win over East Hall Friday night at The Brickyard.
The victory all but ensured the Trojans (6-4, 3-3 Region 7-AAA) a playoff spot with a bye coming up in the final week of the regular season.
Bacus, who broke T.J. Pitts’ record of 304 yards set against White County in 2004, finished the night — his senior night — with four touchdowns on runs of 54, 1, 58 and 1 yards.
“To be honest, I don’t know what I was thinking,” Bacus said about hearing he’d broken the record over the loudspeaker. “It was thanks to the offensive line, they helped us out so much. The defense, they put us in position to score. It was a tremendous effort on both sides of the ball.”
North Hall head coach David Bishop said it couldn’t have happened to a better kid.
“To be honest, it was a great performance. What a humble kid,” Bishop said. “They made an announcement on the PA and I shook his hand and he said, ‘Coach, I don’t care. I just want to win.’”
The teams combined for 1,022 yards and 110 points, and put up 76 points in the second half alone.
After coming back from a 20-14 halftime, North Hall received the opening kick and scored on seven straight possessions, including on three consecutive offensive plays.
Bishop said he didn’t have to say too much to his team at halftime to get them back to playing their game.
“We didn’t say much other than, ‘Guys, look. We’re having the same issues we talked about in pregame and we’ve got to fix that. You’ve got to come out and think through the whole play and just basically play football,’” Bishop said. “They did that.”
The first possession of the second half took just three plays for the Trojans to add to their lead. Jack Brown (11 carries, 45 yards, touchdown; 36 yards receiving, touchdown) carried the ball for 4 yards, then Bacus carried it for 63 down to the East Hall 1. He punched it in one play later.
The Trojans scored again on the next possession on a 2-yard carry from Maddox Turner.
East Hall (2-7, 0-5) put up its first score of the second half on a 15-yard scamper from Deon Ellison (13 carries, 87 yards, touchdown), which was set up by a spearing call against North Hall.
Then the Trojans scored on three straight offensive plays, the first on their eighth drive of the game. Bacus carried the ball 65 yards to the East Hall 5-yard line. He then picked up four more to the 1. Maddox Turner (7 carries, 38 yards, touchdown; 58 yards receiving, touchdown) carried it in from there.
On their next possession, the Trojans used a 36-yard pass from Jackson Madonna to Brown, who went up and over a defender, plucked the ball out of the air and came down to dodge a would-be tackler and reach the end zone.
With 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Vikings quarterback Austin Parker (22-of-39 passing, 354 yards, five touchdowns) connected with Mike Matuska for an 11-yard score to cut the lead to 48-26.
After the kickoff, Bacus went 58 yards on the first play for a touchdown, crossing the line with 13 seconds left in the third period and putting the Trojans up 54-26.
Bacus scored again four plays later, covering all 47 yards on four carries before getting his fourth and final touchdown on a 1-yard carry.
The Trojans jumped out to a 20-0 lead with 4:31 left in the first half. East Hall found its way back to score 14 before the break on a 59-yard pass from Parker to Amir Ellison and a 5-yard toss from Parker to Sedrion Morse (three touchdowns).
The Trojans will be off next week, while the Vikings look to pick up their first region victory as they host Fannin County at East Hall Stadium in Gainesville.
“Obviously we’re going to try to get some guys healthy and get some back into playing shape in terms of some injuries we’re facing right now,” Bishop said. “We’re just going to get to work on getting better and work on doing what we do.”