Chestatee High’s football team held it together to capture a home opening win.
The War Eagles (1-1) played the numbers game, and then made a defensive stop in the waning seconds of the game to beat Union County 41-28 on Friday night. Chestatee’s win snapped an 11-game losing streak, dating back to 2019. It also ignited a celebration that started with less than 15 seconds to play in the game.
Freshman defensive back Josh Kermode intercepted a pass and sealed the game with 85-yard touchdown. As he raced to the end zone, it seemed as if everyone wearing Maroon and Grey ran with Kermode stride for stride to victory.
“That’s what we’re looking for,” an elated Chestatee coach Shaun Conley said. “He made a big play for us at a big time.”
The War Eagles held on after leading 20-0 late in the first quarter.
“I was playing really far back,” said Kermode of reacting to the interception. “Then I saw the ball and I went up to get it. Once I got past the quarterback I knew I was gone.”
Chestatee rode the emotional highs and lows of the game.
The War Eagles’ looked like they were potentially headed into overtime. A punt was muffed late in the fourth quarter giving the Panthers (0-2) deep in the War Eagles territory. Union County’s offense was moving the ball with minimal resistance as Chestatee held onto to a 35-28 lead. Kermode’s heroic play finally stopped Union County’s momentum.
However, after an early lead, the game was all even after halftime.
There was some uncertainty on the sideline but Chestatee had a plan: Get the ball to Jason Granados.
The sophomore ran through every whole provided by the offensive line.
He plowed his way up the field. His 1-yard run with 7:45 to play in the game helped Chestatee take a 28-20 lead after a two-point conversion. It was his third touchdown of the game.
“We played the numbers game,” Conley said. “They were playing five in the box. We knew we had to rush it. He carried the load. It was a great game.”
The War Eagles extended to lead late in the quarter.
Senior quarterback Bornhorst punched it in from the 10-yard line.
This set off a wave of cheers on the sideline as players and coaches were chest bumping one another as victory was within reach.
“The issue we have is when we get down it is tough for us to comeback,” Conley said. “Hats off to them. Our kids kept fighting and they never gave up.”
Adriel Vargas scored the first touchdown of the game on a one-yard run for Chestatee to open the game.
Union County refused to let the War Eagles get too comfortable with the lead. Quarterback Logan threw four touchdown passes against Chestatee’s secondary. However, it was just not enough in the end as his lone interception sealed the win for the War Eagles.
Up next, Chestatee hosts West Hall on Friday.