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North Hall stays in control, blanks Monroe Area 25-0
Trojans shrug off early turnover, dominate Purple Hurricanes to stay in playoff hunt
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North Hall coach David Bishop said earlier this week he wanted his Trojans to keep the ball out of their opponents’ hands.

His team did just that Friday night, as the Trojans defeated Monroe Area 25-0 in Monroe.

The Trojans (4-4, 3-2 8-AAAA) spoiled the Purple Hurricanes’ (2-6, 1-4) “senior night” festivities with a shutout, effectively eliminating Monroe Area from the playoff race.

“It was a good win. It’s a great win,” Bishop said.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Trojans when their first drive ended with a fumble on the Monroe Area 3-yard line.

“I told our kids, ‘There’s going to be times in games where you’re going to face adversity’ and we did,” Bishop said of the fumble. “We go, get the ball back and score. Those are the things that make me feel proud as a coach to know that we can overcome some minor disappointments during a game.”

The Trojans forgot the fumble almost immediately and thrashed Monroe Area, moving the ball at will.

North Hall ticked time off the clock with long drives, including an eight-minute, 20-second drive that stretched from midway through the third quarter into the fourth. The drive resulted in the third score of the night for the Trojans, a 10-yard scamper for Sam Jackson.

North Hall scored four touchdowns, each by a different player.

Maddox Turner put the Trojans up on the board first with just under eight minutes left in the second quarter.

Kyle Bacus notched a 1-yard run as time expired in the first half and gave North Hall a 13-0 lead at the break.

The final score of the night was an 11-yard run for Cutter Sanford. The drive was set up by a bobbling interception by Drew Atha at the 50-yard line.

Following Jackson’s touchdown, the Trojans attempted to get a 2-point conversion to lead 21-0, but the try failed as Bacus was dropped short of the goal line.

The Trojans turned the misfortune of fumbling on the first drive into a punt for the Purple Hurricanes.

The ensuing drive resulted in a 15-play 70-yard drive for North Hall, which ended in the 5-yard touchdown for Turner.

Bacus rushed the ball 27 times in the contest, gaining 170 yards and scoring once.

Colby Miller was near 100 yards as he covered 89 on 15 carries. Overall, the team rushed for 322 yards of its 372 yards of total offense.

North Hall’s defense stalled the Purple Hurricanes’ offense. Monroe Area threw the ball for 100 yards and only rushed for 50. In the first half, the Purple Hurricanes ran only eight offensive plays.

Alfred King, the receiver who totaled 124 yards on the ground and 293 yards receiving coming into the game, was held to 13 yards on the ground and 60 in the air.

Hunter Byron, Monroe Area’s quarterback had thrown for 643 yards in the first seven games of the season. North Hall held him to 91 yards, and Atha’s interception of Byron was the quarterback’s seventh of the season.

“Our defense is playing so well and they’re playing with confidence,” Bishop said. “If you’re only on the field for eight plays in the first half, they were as fresh as they could be in the second half.”

Next week North Hall will try to keep its playoff hopes alive at home against Chestatee.

“They’re a rival and there’s nobody Chestatee would like to beat more than us,” Bishop said. “It’s senior night at home, so we’ve got to be focused. We’ve got our kids to that point where they’re growing and ready for the next challenge.”

The Trojans will have to be on top of their game to remain in the race for a playoff spot. A loss at this point would just about take them out of it.

“We’ve got to go out there and win that game,” Bacus said. “We’ve got a long week of practice ahead of us.”

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