Trojans 48, Warriors 14
Difference maker: Imani Cross rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat that matters: North Hall scored on its first three possessions, putting Walnut Grove in a hole it would never come out of.
Turning point: Walnut Grove pulled to within 13 in the second quarter, but North Hall responded quickly with a touchdown run by Caleb Faulkner on a 4-yard run.
Who's next: North Hall faces Chestatee , while the Walnut Grove Warriors look to recover against West Hall.
The North Hall Trojans’ season began to look a lot less dismal Friday night, with the home team taking down the Walnut Grove Warriors 48-7 at the Brickyard.
The Trojans showed early on Friday that they weren’t going to let the season’s slow start weigh them down against Walnut Grove.
The first three possessions by the Trojans produced 20 unanswered points, the only flaw coming when the Trojans failed on a two-point conversion attempt. Hoping to catch the Warriors out of alignment, North Hall tried to run the ball in for the conversion, but the Walnut Grove defense snuffed the attempt.
The Warriors didn’t have much else to lean on going into halftime.
Jonah Guinn punched it in for Walnut Grove in the second quarter, working the left side of the North Hall defense repeatedly for big chunks of yards on Walnut Grove’s only successful scoring drive of the first half. It wasn’t long before coach Bob Christmas’ staff adjusted, and the Trojans contained the Walnut Grove offensive attack until the game was already well in hand.
On coming out of the early-season slump, Christmas said one of the biggest differences was “the level of competition.”
“You come off three games in a row to start the season playing Jefferson, St. Pius and Gainesville, then you play a young team like Walnut Grove, it’s a little bit different,” he said.
Senior running back and linebacker Imani Cross saw the same difference in the level of competition, reeling off big run after big run and finishing with 11 carries for 151 yards and three touchdowns. His last touchdown run provided an exclamation point for his night’s performance, as he broke open down the right side and ran through a Walnut Grove defensive back for the touchdown.
Even so, Walnut Grove would not give up without a fight. Duranta Moman provided a dazzling highlight for the beleaguered Warriors with his 51-yard touchdown run off a sweep to the left. With his diminutive size, Moman seemed to get swallowed up by a host of North Hall defenders, but he squirted free for the long score.
The big win still leaves the Trojans at 1-3, but as Christmas pointed out, “All our goals, except for the undefeated season, are still in front of us. We can still win the region, and we can still make the playoffs if we continue to execute like we did tonight.”
The Trojans hope to begin their march toward a return to the postseason next week when they open the subregion schedule against Chestatee.