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High school football notebook: Three tied for second place in Region 7-AAA
North Hall, White County and West Hall all locked at 3-1 in region play
West Hall tight end Hunter Atkinson is tackled by East Hall’s Milton Whelchel on Friday at Spartan Field in Oakwood. - photo by Jared Putnam

All it took was one upset to alter the Region 7-AAA playoff picture.

With White County’s 21-7 stunning of No. 4 North Hall on Friday, paired with West Hall’s 27-7 win over East Hall, a three-way tie for second place in the region has developed. The Warriors, the Trojans and the Spartans all sit at 3-1 in region play.

By virtue, White County (5-2) is currently in the best position, having defeated one of the other teams in the tie.

But with no other common matchup between the three teams, North Hall and West Hall now sit gridlocked for the third and fourth spots in the region.

Luckily for those three teams, it won’t be long before the logjam works itself out. North Hall and West Hall meet Friday at The Brickyard for a contest that will help spell out the top four in the standings.

The Trojans can reclaim their second-place spot with a win over the Spartans and a White County loss to Dawson County. A Spartans win would keep the Warriors in second place and move West Hall to sole possession of third.

In the latter scenario, the Spartans could move into a solid second place with a win over White County the following week in Oakwood.

And should White County fall to Dawson County on Friday, the Tigers could jump right back into the playoff race and crack the top four. That would set up another three-way tie between Dawson County, White County and the loser of North Hall versus West Hall.

Of course, the team sitting the prettiest in all of this is top-ranked Buford (7-0, 4-0), which is watching the chaos from the top with an unbeaten record this season.

WATSON PULLS OFF THE HAT TRICK: It’s hard to imagine that Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson could accomplish any more incredible feats in his storied high school career.

Well, he did.

The Red Elephants senior and state’s all-time leading passer pulled off a rare offensive hat trick during Friday’s 56-28 win over Clarke Central, scoring a touchdown passing, rushing and receiving.

The first two are common tallies for Watson — he passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two for more than 300 yards of total offense.

But then he threw a curveball at Clarke Central’s defense. After being replaced with backup quarterback Mikey Gonzalez in the second half, he checked back in as a receiver and pulled down a 7-yard pass to secure the rare feat.

Watson finished the game with six touchdowns.

Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t Watson’s first receiving touchdown. He caught a two-yard strike during his sophomore campaign.

The Gainesville win improves Watson’s career statistics to 11,659 passing yards and 3,401 rushing yards.
And nine receiving yards.

IN FAMILIAR TERRITORY: After dropping its season opener to North Hall, it looked as if Chestatee faced too much personnel turnover to improve on its historic 8-3 campaign a season ago.

Week by week, the War Eagles are proving the area wrong.

Since that loss, Chestatee (6-1, 4-0 Region 8-AAAA) has played lights-out football, currently sporting a six-game winning streak and needs a win Friday against Lumpkin County (1-6, 1-3) to lock up home field advantage in the first round of the state playoffs.

The War Eagles made short work of previous three opponents before Friday’s 20-17 win over Lanier, outscoring their foes 92-6 over the span.

It was going to take a special kind of offense to penetrate their defense, and with a 5-1 record and average of 32.5 points per game entering the contest, the Longhorns looked like they might’ve been the team to follow through with the challenge.

Almost, but not quite. Chestatee needed overtime to fend off Lanier, but the defense was stout as always. The War Eagles held the Longhorns to just 114 yards of offense, rallying from a 7-0 deficit that lasted from the first drive of the game to the 3:52 mark of the fourth quarter when Chestatee tied it up.

Déjà vu is kicking in for the War Eagles.

In 2012, they opened the season with a loss to North Hall, then opened up a massive win streak highlighted by an overtime win over Lanier.

Chestatee probably wants to step away from the mirror of last season when it visits Monroe Area on Nov. 1 for what appears to be a showdown for the Region 8-AAAA title. The Purple Hurricanes won last year’s contest 35-14 in Gainesville.

Should the War Eagles win out, they’ll win their first-ever region title.