When Chestatee High’s football team gets rolling on offense, they are hard to stop. This was evident after the first quarter Friday night.
The War Eagles took an early lead against county-foe East Hall High before holding on for a 62-50 win at Lynn Cottrell Complex.
“We were able to execute and take advantage of some of the stuff they were giving us,” Chestatee coach Shaun Conley said. “I am proud of our kids. They did what they had to do to get the win.”
What the War Eagles (3-3 overall, 1-1 Region 8 4A) did early was put up some gaudy numbers throughout the game.
Thanks in large part to one of the smallest guys on the team. Adriel Vargas was able to find the end zone a number of times behind Chestatee’s offensive line.
The junior running back, who is returning from an injury earlier in the year, found the end zone three times on the night. His final score was a 26-yard scamper late in the fourth quarter extending the War Eagles lead 62-42. Chestatee’s offense was rolling from the opening whistle.
After winning the coin toss, the War Eagles caught a break from East Hall. The Vikings (1-6, 0-3) attempted an onside kick but it never got beyond 10 yards.
Chestatee took it from East Hall’s 40-yard line and was in the end zone after a plays with Vargas piercing in for a score from 2 yards out.
“He got hurt earlier in the year and he has worked his way back,” Conley said. “Adriel is a good little player and (Jason) Granados is too. We are having to use Granados on defense because of some injuries. Adriel picked up the slack. He had a good night tonight.”
East Hall tied the game midway through the first when Clete Cooper scored on a 6-yard run.
This only amped Chestatee’s sideline.
War Eagles quarterback Luke Bornhorst had touchdown throws to Hunter Fouche and then to Hayden Gowin in the final four minutes of the first quarter for a 21-7 lead.
A hole the Vikings had a hard time getting out of the rest of the game.
“We couldn’t get ourselves out of it,” East Hall head coach Matt Turner said. “We couldn’t get enough stops. We really caught our stride in the second half offensively, but we kinda put ourselves in a hole early and that is hard to come back form.”
Chestatee’s offense was not about to take its foot off the gas.
Vargas scored a 5-yard touchdown early in the second.
Bornhorst connected with Fouche for a 35-yard bomb, extending the lead 35-7.
East Hall’s Marcus Holmberg scored just before the half cutting into the lead.
The Vikings refused to give up.
They rattled off back-to-back scores to open the third quarter. Holmberg found a seam and sprinted in for a 59-yard touchdown run.
It was followed by a 25-yard touchdown pass from Cooper to Darius Holcomb.
East Hall started to feel things working in their favor as it cut the lead 42-28.
“That is a pretty good team,” Conley said. “They are athletic. They have no quit in them, for sure.”
Chestatee showed some resiliency of its own.
Bornhorst connected with Fouche again for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Then Elijah Pruitt opened the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run extending the War Eagles lead.
Cooper, who was being chased all evening by Chestatee’s frontline alluded a few defenders to throw a 24-yard dime to Holcomb.
The senior quarterback converted the two-point attempt with a pass to Brian Silguero.
Late in the fourth, Cooper scored on a 7-yard run cutting into the lead 55-42.
He connected for the games final score on 22-yard touchdown pass to Quaran Jackson, which also include the two-point conversion to Caden Daniels with 18 seconds to play in the game.
At the end of it all, Chestatee could exhale, celebrate homecoming, and then focus on Madison County.
“Any win is a good win, and we will take it,” Conley said. “It doesn’t get any easier from here. Right now, we’re right where we need to be. At this point of the year you have to go 1-0, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”