Eric Barr, Buford: Had an interception and two defensive touchdowns in a win over Westminster.
Austin Brown, Flowery Branch: Threw for four touchdowns and 316 yards in a win over Apalachee.
Quan Clark, Chestatee: Had 189 yards of total offense and three touchdowns in a win over Johnson.
Jeremy Haley, Flowery Branch: Ran for 198 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in a win over Apalachee.
Dillon Lee, Buford: Had eight tackles (five solo) a sack and two interceptions in a win over Westminster.
Ashely Lowery, White County: Ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in a win over West Hall.
Casey Osborne, Flowery Branch: Had 163 yards and three touchdowns receiving in a win over Apalachee.
Dre Pou, West Hall: Had 111 yards and two touchdowns of total offense in a loss to White County.
Bryant Sherrifs, Jefferson: Threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns on 11-for-17 passing while adding 12 yards and two touchdowns on four rushes in a win over Dawson County.
Jamond Witt, East Hall: Had 151 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries and 11 yards on two catches in a loss to Elbert County.
Sometimes 4 yards can make all the difference.
During the past few seasons, the Chestatee High football team has been a squad focused on running the ball and playing aggressive defense.
The 2010 version of the War Eagles still abides by that philosophy, they’ve just added one wrinkle: move quarterback Scott Chewning into the shotgun.
“We’re running the same offense that we’ve always run, we’re just running it out of the shotgun,” coach Stan Luttrell said.
“It’s been productive for us so far. It’s still option football, we’re just doing it from 4 yards deeper.”
While the positive effects of the move took a few weeks to show, they were on obvious display in a 49-13 victory over Johnson at Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Chewning only attempted 11 passes in the game, all in the first half, but connected on seven of them for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
He set up another score with a 24-yard scramble down to the 3. The senior quarterback’s touchdown passes went to Alex Moore (9 yards), Clark (75 yards) and Pearce Gruenenfelder (84 yards).
For his performance, Chewning is The Times Football Player of the Week.
“Everything just clicked like it’s supposed to,” Chewning said of the game. “When everybody does their job it makes things easy for me. And everybody did a great job Friday night.”
While the Clark and Gruenenfelder touchdowns both covered more than 75 yards, the passes themselves were short throws near the line of scrimmage. Chewning said he simply “got the ball in the hands of the playmakers and they made plays.”
Getting the ball into the hands of those most likely to put points on the board is the hallmark of the option offense. Whether it is the player who has the most talent or the player in the best position to penetrate the defense, option football is about assessing the defense and making decisions; two things Chewning believes he can do better from the shotgun.
“I kind of like, from a throwing standpoint, being in the shotgun. It kind of gives me a little more time to see the defense and to make better decisions,” the senior said. “Under center, the only advantage is not having to worry about catching the ball.”
Luttrell puts some of the credit for making the change to shotgun on the talents of Chewning.
“It’s a big key for us to be able to do that,” Luttrell said. “Scott has been a quarterback his whole life, from what I know, and he’s a natural leader. His ability to run the option as well as throw the ball has definitely contributed to the decision to run the shotgun.”
But Luttrell also points out that putting Chewning in the shotgun has something to do with the position players that the War Eagles have.
Or in this case, don’t have.
“In the past, we’ve always had a kid that could play tight end. And the past couple of years we’ve had to make a linebacker or an offensive tackle play tight end because we really didn’t have a prototype tight end,” Luttrell said.
What the War Eagles do have is an abundance of experience and leadership at the wide receiver position in seniors Moore, Brice Beck and Gruenenfelder.
To compensate for not having a true tight end, Luttrell moved Chewning into the shotgun. The move allows the receivers more time to get open and puts Chewning back between the two running backs featured in Luttrell’s split-back option.
Luttrell said the possibilities with three runners in the backfield and more time for route development had a lot to do with making the decision to move Chewning back 4 yards.
“We had the three seniors all coming back and we really felt like it would open some doors by really spreading the field out,” Luttrell said. “We thought it would help us to run the option as well as throw the ball a little better, a little more effectively.
“And that’s what we’ve been able to do so far.”
Chestatee (1-1, 0-0 8A-AAA) will play at Dawson County (0-3, 0-0 8A-AA) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.