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East Hall offense nearly unstoppable in 62-42 win against Union County
Harrison scores six touchdowns, Parker throws for 409 yards in region win
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East Hall's Cambren Harrison carries the ball for the Vikings Friday night during the first half of the game with Union County at East Hall Stadium. - photo by Scott Rogers

East Hall High football coach Bryan Gray knew he’d have to rely on his offense against Union County High on Friday night.

Thankfully for him, the Vikings have one of the best offenses in the state.

East Hall racked up 707 yards and scored on all but two drives in a 62-42 win that pushed their winning streak to five games. Junior running back Cambren Harrison notched six touchdowns, and senior quarterback Austin Parker had 519 total yards in the Region 7-3A victory.

“It was a lot of back-and-forth, but thankfully we had a little bit of space at the end,” Gray said. “ … We made some adjustments, and when those didn’t work, we went back to doing what we do best. We were counting on the offense to carry us tonight.”

With senior quarterback Cole Wright running the show for the Panthers (4-2, 0-2 region), that was East Hall’s most likely path to victory.

Wright — who holds a scholarship offer from Army, according to recruitgeorgia.com — posted 354 total yards and six total touchdowns, five of which came through the air. Union County overcame a slow start to score 28 second-half points, prompting the Vikings (5-1, 2-0) to maintain their offensive onslaught. 

“(Wright) is truly impressive, just an amazing talent,” Gray said. “ … We expected them to get going eventually; they’re too explosive not to.” 

The Panthers flashed that explosiveness on their opening drive when Wright found sophomore receiver Sawyer Drake for a 26-yard score.

But East Hall quickly took control of the game after that, scoring on its first five drives to build a commanding 35-14 halftime lead. Parker, Georgia’s leading passer entering Friday night, connected with senior Sedrion Morse for a 44-yard touchdown on the team’s opening drive before hitting Austin Brock on an 80-yard score later in the first half.

Harrison sandwiched 1-yard rushing scores around a 10-yard touchdown as the Vikings, who received votes in this week’s Georgia Sports Writers Association’s Top 10 poll, built a lead even Union County’s spread-option attack couldn’t overcome.

“We feel like we’re getting better every game, and the offensive line just played their butts off tonight,” said Harrison, who rushed for 146 yards on 27 carries. “We were trying to get revenge after they stole one from us last year.”

East Hall came up just a few yards short of a win against the Panthers in Blairsville last year but ultimately fell in a wild, 51-46 shootout.

The second half of Friday night’s game closely resembled last year’s contest.

The Panthers scored on their four possessions but mostly ended up trading touchdowns with the Vikings. They did, however, get within 14 points twice, though the final two quarters were marred by a slew of penalties that created bizarre down-and-distances like a third and 34 for East Hall and a first and 36 for Union County.

Overall, the teams combined for 25 penalties worth 286 yards.

“Both teams were undisciplined,” Gray said. “We just made a lot of mistakes. A lot of holding penalties and facemasks, and a lot of them came at crucial times.”

After the Panthers cut it to 55-42 on a touchdown reception by junior running back Chad Buzzard (178 total yards, two scores) with less than three minutes to play, East Hall put the game away on Harrison’s sixth rushing touchdown. Parker set up the score with a 47-yard scramble to the 2-yard line.

The senior completed 18 of 26 passes for 409 yards, with Morse serving as the biggest benefactor. Morse caught 10 balls for 206 yards and a pair of scores, the second one coming by way of an acrobatic toe-tap in the back of the end zone.

East Hall recorded 25 first downs in its largest scoring output of the season, but Gray insisted such a performance probably won’t be the new norm for his team going forward.

Especially not with a trip to undefeated region favorite Greater Atlanta Christian looming next Friday.

“We were fortunate enough to be clicking tonight,” Gray said. “We were able to run the ball effectively, and when you do that, it opens up the pass for you.”

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