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5 things to watch in 2021 North Hall High School football season
North Hall football 2021
North Hall's Jeremiah Telander (1) and Jarrett Latty (54) go in for a stop against Redan on Aug. 6, 2021 in a preseason game in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

North Hall is looking to build on the biggest turnaround in Hall County in 2020. 

Trojans coach David Bishop, right now, feels pretty good about their chances.

Inexperience up and down the roster slowed the Trojans down at the beginning of last year, leading to an 0-3 start. But once North Hall put things together, it looked like a completely different team. 

The Trojans won 6 of their last 7 games to close out the regular season, and even earned a playoff win in the first round over North Murray, before falling to eventual state semifinalist Greater Atlanta Christian. 

Now, Bishop is hoping to build on that momentum.

“Last year, they were young, but now they’ve got a lot of experience,” he said. “They made it to the second round of the playoffs, so I think that’s big.”

2021 Schedule

  • Aug. 20 at Paulding County
  • Sept. 3 at Hart County
  • Sept. 17 CHESTATEE
  • Sept. 24 at West Hall*
  • Oct. 1 WHITE COUNTY*
  • Oct. 8 at Lumpkin County*
  • Oct. 15 GILMER
  • Nov. 5 at Dawson County*

*Region games

New year, new Puryear

Senior Bradford Puryear will return as the starting quarterback for the Trojans, and according to Bishop, North Hall fans have plenty of new tricks to look forward to from the now-veteran signal caller. 

“Bradford is a much, much improved quarterback from the beginning of last year to now,” he said. “You wouldn’t recognize him with his abilities to do the things that he’s needed to do for our success.”

Bishop said that in addition to trusting Puryear more to read defenses and get the team into the correct plays, he’s also implementing several new plays to get the quarterback in space on the ground more frequently.

“It’s definitely a different dynamic than what we had this time last year with him,” he said.

There’s no questioning Puryear’s athletic ability. 

He was a key member, starting in left field, for North Hall’s state championship baseball program in 2021.

Telander’s time to shine

One of the Trojans’ most exciting players this season is junior linebacker and tight end Jeremiah Telander, the reigning Region 7-3A Defensive Player of the Year. 

Telander, who Bishop said has been clocked running a sub 4.7 40-yard dash this offseason, along with Austin Atha make up an inside linebacking duo that Bishop referred to as the best tandem he’s had at the position since arriving at North Hall 20 years ago. 

“That’s pretty high praise, to be honest with you,” he said. 

Offensively, Bishop said Telander’s elite combination of size and speed make him a threat to score any time the ball comes his way.

“We’re finding ways that we can do things to get him the ball more than just what we’ve done in the past,” Bishop said. “He’s a big man who moves really well.”

Telander’s talent has certainly been noticed early by Division-I schools, already holding scholarship offers from Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Memphis.

Experience on the offensive front

North Hall’s most experienced unit will be its offensive line, which returns all five starters this season.

Consistent offensive line play is always crucial for team success, but even more so in the Trojans’ Wing-T offense, which is largely dependent on winning in the trenches. 

Bishop said he believes this group, all of whom are seniors, has the right team mindset to get the job done this season.

This group is anchored by Jarrett Latty, Austin Copper and Baker Dyer, among others.

“They’ve been working together since they were young,” he said.

New faces in the backfield

Perhaps North Hall’s biggest vacancy comes at one of the most important positions for the Trojans: running back. 

Star tailback Clark Howell, who rushed for over 1,700 yards and more than 20 touchdowns a year ago, is graduated, as is blocking back Menfiz Dyer, leaving a couple of big holes on the North Hall offense. 

At the moment, Bishop said Will Jackson, Clay Stover, Tate Ruth, and Puryear’s younger brother, Ryals, will all be in the race for playing time and carries.

“Right now, you’ve got a lot of guys fighting for spots,” he said.

Starting by stopping the run

The North Hall defense will be manned by a combination of new and returning starters, with most of the experienced talent up front. 

Only two of the Trojans regular starting defensive backs from a year ago will be back, but five of the six starters in the defensive line and linebacking crew will reclaim their spots. 

To that end, Bishop said the front, highlighted by Telander and Atha at the linebacker position and Jarrett Latty, a versatile defensive lineman who will be asked to play both at defensive tackle and defensive end, will be responsible for preventing big running plays and letting the defensive backs focus on passing plays. 

He’s not expecting many teams to be able to run on North Hall, which means the three new starters in the secondary will have to learn quickly on the job. 

“We’ve been pretty good at stopping the run, so what that does is force people to have to throw the ball more,” Bishop said. “So we’re going to be tested.”

2021 Roster

1. Jeremiah Telander TE/LB Jr.

2. Bradford Puryear QB/DB Sr.

4. Clay Stover RB/DB Sr.

5. Austin Atha RB/LB Sr.

6. David Garrison WR/DE Jr.

8. Blane Seabolt QB/DB Fr.

9. Will Jackson RB/DB Jr.

10. Ezekiel Harris TE/LB So.

11. Ryals Puryear RB/DB So.

12. Britton Glover QB/DB Jr.

13. Luke Evans QB/DB So.

15. Glenn Hulsey RB/DB So.

16. Alex Brown WR/DB Jr.

17. Tate Ruth RB/DB So.

18. Conner Free RB/DB So.

19. Jake Wishousky WR/DB So.

20. Charlie Dyer RB/DB Fr.

21. Tanner Marsh WR/DB So.

22. Ajay Jones RB/DB So.

24. Luke Martin WR/DB Fr.

25. Malachi Herbert WR/DB Fr.

26. Mason Kerrick WR/DB So.

27. Ethan Little RB/DB Jr.

28. Alston Self RB/LB Jr.

31. McKinley Kemp RB/DB Fr.

33. Trey Patterson RB/LB So.

34. Hunter Riley RB/DB So.

35. Luke Brown K/P Sr.

37. Jess Freeman RB/DB Fr.

38. Nikolas Carmona K/P Sr.

49, Kevin Rochester RB/DE Sr.

50. Zander Glider OL/DL Jr.

52. Baker Dyer OL/DL Sr.

54. Jarrett Latty OL/DL Sr.

55. Charlie House OL/DL Fr.

56. Zane Hall OL/DL Sr.

57. Hayden Chase OL/DL Jr.

58. Wyatt Gowan OL/DL Jr.

60. Akim Reyes PK So.

63. Bryce Truett OL/DL So.

64, Nick Sanders OL/DL Fr.

66. Rolando Laguna OL/DL So.

67. Austin Copper OL/DL Sr.

68. Triston Bassett OL/DL Jr.

75. Grayson Blair OL/DL So.

76. Luke Tyner OL/DL So.

78. Kyler Olson OL/DL Sr.

81. Blayde Carmona WR/DB Fr.

82. Jake Clark TE/DE Fr.

83. Camden McCaleb WR/DB So.

85. Gus Maldonado WR/DB Fr.

87. Caden Webb TE/DE Jr.

88. Jackson Poreda WR/DB Jr.

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