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War Eagles take to the ground in 41-14 win
Chestatee waltzes past West Hall on running attack, strong defense
West Hall's Rico Jones breaks through the Chestatee line on route to a long touchdown during the second quarter of Friday night's game at Spartans Stadium.

OAKWOOD — It was a promising start for Chestatee High; for West Hall, it was just more of the same.

The War Eagles compiled 420 yards of total offense, 304 on the ground, and easily defeated the Spartans 41-14 Friday night at Spartans Stadium.

Chestatee (1-0) was led by quarterback Jordan Degraff, who ran for 78 yards and two scores and completed 4 of 6 passes for 116 yards.

After falling behind early on a 57-yard touchdown run by West Hall running back Rico Jones, Degraff, a first-year starter, quickly responded. On a designed run, the quarterback eluded a defender and hit a wide-open hole, dashing 60 yards for a game-tying touchdown.

"We just kind of clicked there," Degraff said after the game. "It was an all-out effort. Our offensive line did really good."

He added another 9-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to extend Chestatee's lead to 28-7, effectively putting them out of reach.

Perhaps his biggest play of the night, however, came through the air. With the ball at the West Hall 35-yard line and less than two minutes left in the first half, the War Eagles were faced with a fourth-and-6. Degraff stepped back in the pocket and delivered a crisp pass to tight end Baker McCormack, completing the pass for 17 yards and a first down.

Running back Quan Clark took the ball 18 yards to the end zone on the very next play to give the War Eagles a 14-7 lead going into the half.

"Jordan's been waiting for his turn and this year he's got it," coach Stan Luttrell said. "He did a great job of running the offense for us this game, and I had full faith in letting him throw that ball there.

"He's getting better every day, and I'm very proud of him."

Running backs Brandon Thompson and Montrai Tate added 74 and 94 yards on the ground, respectively. Tate scored on a 33-yard run in the third quarter, and Thompson punched two across in the fourth quarter as the War Eagles pulled away.

Luttrell stressed, however, that this game wasn't all about his offense.

"Please don't forget our defense played a great game," Luttrell said. "You know, there were several three-and-outs. We've got a lot of new faces over there and we're excited about how they flew around and had fun playing defense. I don't want us to skip that."

Despite the margin of defeat, West Hall (0-2) had more success on offense than a week ago when it was shut down by East Hall.

Running back Jones gave the Spartans the lead early in the second quarter with a 57-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Chandler Newton added a 56-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Stephens with the game well out of hand in the fourth.

The offense totaled 278 yards, 155 through the air and 123 on the ground. Jones finished with 75 yards rushing and 20 yards receiving.

"We're gonna try to get him some more touches there," West Hall coach Mike Newton said of Jones. "We went into a tight end set, and we felt like we could run the ball pretty well there. We went to that and had some success, and they adjusted. Then we just didn't have quite as much success as I'd wanted to."

Newton was also proud of the way his defense performed, despite the number of points on the scoreboard.

"Our defense played great for three quarters, we just couldn't flip the field," he said. "We've got a bunch of kids going both ways, and they don't. And it wore on us. That's that - it just wore on us."

Going forward, Newton stressed that his offense needed to limit the mistakes on offense.

"We do some good things offensively, then we shoot ourselves in the foot," Newton said. "And defensively, we had some broken down plays against the option."

West Hall will have a week to correct those problems before playing at White County on Friday. Chestatee will host Johnson at home. Both games will kick off at 7:30.

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