CLEVELAND — White County High's football team has a date for the Region 8-AAA title game.
The Warriors scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, from four different players, and cruised to a 56-14 win over Chestatee (2-6, 0-4 Region 8A-AAA) on Friday at Warriors Stadium.
The Warriors (7-1, 4-0) are a lock for the region title game regardless of next Friday's game at Franklin County, thanks to head-to-head advantage against Lumpkin County (5-3, 2-2) and Stephens County (6-2, 3-1).
"It's nice to win the subregion and I'm gonna let the team enjoy this one tonight," White County coach Tommy Flowers said. "But I'm ready to start thinking about playing Franklin County."
With the win, White County (7-1, 4-0) clinches the subregion title and will play host to Gainesville (7-1, 4-0 Region 8B-AAA) in the region title game on Nov. 5 in Cleveland. The Warriors will also open the Class AAA state playoffs in Cleveland on Nov. 12.
The Red Elephants clinched the south subregion title with a 55-6 win over Walnut Grove at City Park in Gainesville.
"This is fantastic to win the subregion," White County senior Ashely Lowery said. "We know how big it is to our community and we've worked so hard all season."
Leading 28-7 with 40 seconds remaining in the opening half, White County receiver Ethan McCallister (two catches, 81 yards) hauled in a pass in double coverage. After the catch, he ran to the nearest sideline, cut back and with the help of some good blocking ran all the way to the other side of the field and then untouched to the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown.
"It was just an end around and I saw an opening," McCallister said. "When I got to the other sideline, I knew I was going to be able to score."
Lowery led White County with three touchdowns and 117 yards on nine carries, and sophomore quarterback Cole Segraves scored twice with 112 yards on the ground.
In the second quarter, White County only needed 11 offensive plays to score four touchdowns. As a result of two interceptions by the defense and a pair of failed fourth-down conversions by the War Eagles, White County had an average starting position at the Chestatee 39-yard line for its scoring drives.
"We knew after they scored early, we had to take it to them," Lowery said. "We had to stop playing at their level and start playing to our level.
"After that, we ran all over them."
White County started its big second quarter as a result of a Ryan Kennedy interception on a fourth-and-14 play and return down to the Chestatee 30-yard line. It was the first play of the second period.
Lowery scored his second touchdown of the game two plays later on a 24-yard run.
On its next scoring drive, White County was set up with a short field again after an incomplete pass by Chestatee on fourth-and-5. Warriors senior Adam Hooper scored four plays later on a run from the 1.
"As a defensive coach, I like the 12 and 14 playing scoring drives," Flowers said. "But I'll take this, too."
White County quarterback Cole Segraves also scored in the second quarter on a 32-yard run. Lowery added a 45-yard touchdown run on White County's first offensive play in the third quarter. The Warriors' final touchdown came on a 47-yard run from senior Brandon Ward.
White County finished the game with 293 yards rushing on 24 attempts (12 yards per carry). Chestatee was held to 107 yards rushing and only 145 yards of total offense.
In the first quarter, time of possession was all in favor of Chestatee. On the game's first drive, the War Eagles took seven minutes off the clock and converted on a short fourth-down play before scoring on a 20-yard catch by Alex Moore to take a 7-0 lead.
However, White County was quick to respond. Following a 24-yard run by Segraves, Lowery scored on a run from the 3. The Warriors only possessed the ball 44 seconds in the first quarter.
Moore scored again late in the fourth quarter on a 63-yard run for the War Eagles.
With the loss, Chestatee has now dropped eight consecutive subregion games.