White County at North Hall
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: The Brickyard
Radio: 102.9-FM, 105.1-FM
Coaches: White County, Tommy Flowers; North Hall, Bob Christmas.
Records: White County (4-1, 1-0 Region 8A-AAA), North Hall (3-2, 1-0)
Key players: White County, RB/DB Ashely Lowery (6-2, 200 Sr.), QB Cole Segraves (6-4, 195 So.), OL/DL Aaron Kiser (6-0, 270 Sr.). North Hall, RB Imani Cross (6-2, 220 Jr.), QB Kanler Coker (6-4, 195 Jr.), LB/RB Mack VanGorder (5-11, 195 Sr.).
Prediction: WHITE COUNTY. If Lowery and Segraves can keep moving the chains in a powerful running tandem, they’ll hand North Hall its first subregion loss in school history.
In a lot of ways, North Hall and White County have football programs that are akin to one another.
Both the Trojans (3-2, 1-0 Region 8A-AAA), led by junior Imani Cross, and Warriors (4-1, 1-0), headed by senior Ashely Lowery, have a powerful running game that is capable of breaking the long run.
At quarterback, they are highly comparable with North Hall junior Kanler Coker and White County’s Cole Segraves both standing around 6-foot-4 and weighing in the neighborhood of 200 pounds. Not only are these quarterbacks a threat to run, but also to pass.
And the records for both teams are a direct result of the talent both teams field.
“White County is an extremely good team,” North Hall coach Bob Christmas said. “It’s the best team that I’ve seen them have since I’ve been here.”
The past four years, the Trojans have skipped straight through subregion play without losing a game. However, Christmas sees this season as much more challenging with so many talented teams in the north subregion of 8-AAA.
Even with Stephens County, Lumpkin County, Franklin County and Chestatee also fighting for a spot in a region play-in game, Lowery feels that the winner of tonight’s game will probably take the subregion and earn a spot in the region title game at regular season’s end.
“This game is going to be absolutely huge for the subregion,” said Lowery, who ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns last week in a win against Lumpkin County. “It’s going to be a dogfight to the very end.”
Despite the equity of these two programs, White County interim coach Tommy Flowers goes along with the school of thought that the Trojans, with 23 consecutive subregion victories, is the team to beat until someone else steps up and takes the crown.
Flowers has been in charge for the Warriors since former coach Gregg Segraves was placed on leave on Sept. 22. Segraves resigned from his position Thursday.
“We know what North Hall is going to do when they line up,” Flowers said. “They are a very sound football team on both sides of the ball.
“We’ve kept a level head about playing North Hall.”
The Trojans have benefited from the return of Cross from offseason achillies surgery, who started working back into the lineup two weeks ago against Walnut Grove. Last week in a subregion win against Chestatee, Cross had his biggest performance with four touchdowns and 189 yards.
“Imani is a heck of a player and all the technique to be successful at the next level,” Lowery said. “This is his third game back and we know he’ll be going for a big game against us.”
Meanwhile, the numbers at quarterback are rather similar. Not only do they have a similar frame, but also a comparable statistics.
Last week, Coker went for 105 yards, which was almost evenly split between running and passing. Cole rushed for 100 yards last week, including a 3-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-goal where he absorbed a hard hit at the goal line and held on for the score.
For the season, Cole has 607 yards and four touchdowns passing, and Coker has totaled 536 passing yards and four TDs.
“We both have the height,” Coker said. “I’ve known Cole for a long time and he’s doing a really good job for them.”
“Even if Cole falls forward, he’s still going to get a couple of yards,” Christmas said.
The one main difference between these two programs is the way they’ve come about their records, even though both have a loss to Gainesville on the schedule.
North Hall has steadily improved since taking a 49-8 loss against St. Pius X in Week 2. The improvement on defense for North Hall, especially in the passing game, was noticeable even the next week against Gainesville.
Now, the Trojans are ready to see if they can continue to shine during the part of the season that counts the most.
“We realized when we lost by 41 points that we had to get better,” Trojans’ senior Trevor Holbrooks said. “That’s pretty serious right there.
“It’s humbling to have a loss like that.”
White County is looking for its first win against North Hall since 1987.