The Blitz, complete high school coverage
DAWSONVILLE — The first half of Friday’s game in Dawsonville played out pretty close to perfection for North Hall.
The Trojans reached the end zone on each of their five first-half possessions, almost entirely shut down Dawson County’s quick-strike passing game and went on to earn a 47-14 win at Tigers Stadium.
“That’s a real confidence boost to play like we did tonight against a great team,” North Hall coach Bob Christmas said. “We jumped on them so early that it gave us some breathing room, but were also able to finish strong.”
“You go five-for-five scoring against a team as good as Dawson County, you have to feel pretty good,” said North Hall junior Andrew Smith. “But we can’t let ourselves get too confident and just have to keep working.
“Really, the offensive line deserves the most credit, they did an amazing job opening up holes for the running game.”
Running out of the wishbone, North Hall finished with 375 rushing yards, while Dawson County lost 15 yards on the ground.
“I’m probably most proud of the way our defense played,” Christmas said. “We put pressure on them all night.”
The difference was the Trojans (3-1, 1-0 Region 7-AAA) ground game. Senior T.J. Tate ran it in on a couple of long touchdown runs, Kevin Christmas had back-to-back scores on late second quarter possessions and Zac Little added an early touchdown run as the Trojans galloped out to a 34-0 lead.
Kevin Christmas finished with 113 yards and one rushing touchdown for the Trojans, while Tate added 103 yards on eight carries.
Even with starting quarterback Bradley Brown sidelined much of the game with what Coach Christmas was told amounted to a minor shoulder injury, Smith filled in for the Trojans on offense, even completing an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Christmas late in the second quarter.
North Hall’s defense was disruptive too against Dawson County’s passing game. The Tigers (3-2, 1-1) were held to just two first downs in the opening half, before putting together a touchdown drive in the final minute of the first half, which ended on a 10-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Tyler Dominy.
The Trojans defense produced three big first-half sacks. North Hall also had a defender in the right place usually to keep Dawson County’s fast-paced offense off track.
In the final minute of the opening half, Dominy got back on track with long completions to Bruce Clark and Chris Sayler, setting up the quarterback’s touchdown run on the final offensive play of the half.
Smith was also North Hall’s leading tackler with eight stops and Destin Bennett added five stops.
Late in the fourth quarter, Dominy hit Mitchell Putnam for a 44-yard touchdown strike. Dominy finished the game completing 12 of 27 passes for 198 yards. Sayler was his leading receiver with two catches for 90 yards.
With the win, North Hall certainly set itself up as a favorite to make the postseason. The Trojans also got rid of the bad taste of letting a lead slip away against Jefferson at The Brickyard on Sept. 14.
“I’m really pleased with how our team responded after that loss to Jefferson,” North Hall’s coach said. “For two weeks, they were really focused on getting ready for this game.
“This team we have is such a hard-working group.”
North Hall jumped on Dawson County right out of the gate. On the opening drive, Kevin Christmas popped a 17-yard run, and Brown followed two plays later for a run that picked up 22. Inside the Tigers 10, Brown picked up 7 on a sneak to get the ball down to the 1.
Little scored on a run the next play.
The Trojans’ second touchdown drive took much less time to reach the end zone. After three modest runs to open the drive and pick up a first down, Tate broke through on the next play, putting a couple nice cut moves together and going in for a score for 55 yards.
Leading 14-0 in the final minute of the opening half, Bennett picked up a big first down with a nice run of 5 up the middle — break a couple tackles along the way — on a fourth-down play. Tate scored two plays later of his run of 25.
On Friday, North Hall visits East Hall; Dawson County visits Banks County.