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East Hall passing game sharp in scrimmage with Chestatee
War Eagles' standout tackle Pruitt injured preseason action
Chestatee's Tray Bryant picks up yards during a scrimmage against East hall on Friday at War Eagle Stadium. - photo by Jared Putnam

Chestatee lineman Matthew Pruitt couldn’t see teammate Kris Pierce bring a 55-yard interception back for a touchdown halfway through the third quarter of Thursday’s scrimmage against East Hall.

Pruitt’s focus was purely on icing his right knee, after he got hurt falling into a pile of fellow War Eagles while trying to block for a Tray Bryant rush. The senior lineman had to be helped off the field.

Chestatee coach Bill Forman suspected an MCL injury but said it’s too early to tell how long the lineman could be out of action.

Pruitt — who has offers from Air Force and Navy — could be back in a week or two, or he could be done for the season.

Forman said Pruitt, among other starters, was going to be subbed off in the next series.

“It always seems to work out like that, unfortunately,” Forman said after the War Eagles suffered a 28-21 loss.

“We’ll know more tomorrow after we look at it.”

The War Eagles, who were down 22-15 at the time of Pruitt’s injury, rallied but couldn’t overcome an East Hall squad that took advantage of three costly Chestatee turnovers.

Senior quarterback Devin Watson (14 for 23 for 261 yards, three passing touchdowns) had little trouble finding open receivers on the flanks of Chestatee’s secondary.

He and the starters played for just a half and one series in the second half in the scrimmage before the junior varsity squads came in to finish.

Watson connected with Jacques Ash for two scores, from 60 and 85 yards out. Ash racked up 147 yards on just four catches in a victory that will give the Vikings confidence ahead of their season opener at Wesleyan on Aug. 29.

“We needed to get this game feel,” said head coach Bryan Gray. “It was good to go up against a team that can hit you in the mouth. We did some good things and we can get more consistent.”

In between Ash’s touchdowns, East Hall’s Jacquen Hopkins intercepted a Logan Cates pass in the end zone, and the Vikings defense recovered a War Eagles fumble with just 2:31 left in the first half. Watson punched home a touchdown on the next drive — this time his pass fell into the hands of sophomore Deon Ellison.

After Pruitt left to receive treatment on the sidelines, East Hall recovered the third turnover of the evening, another fumble. 

Ash waltzed into the end zone two plays later, thanks to Watson’s Hail Mary pass.

Forman said he’ll be working to help his offense keep possession before Chestatee opens the season against Flowery Branch next Friday.

“Those two times, we were driving and we had them on their heels before we gave it up,” Forman said. “We’ve got to work on throwing tight and keeping the ball in our hands.”

Pierce’s pick-six mattered little as the War Eagles couldn’t overcome East Hall’s fluid air raid.

Chestatee’s rushing attack kept things close when Muhammad Salaam scored from 25 yards out with three minutes left in the third quarter. But the efforts of Cates (8 rushes for 75 yards) and Bryant (10 rushes for 50 yards) came up short against Watson’s impressive night.

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