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First-half offensive spark carries North Hall to region win against West Hall
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North Hall running back Kevin Rochester breaks off a big run for the Trojans Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, during their game with West Hall at Spartan Field. - photo by Scott Rogers

North Hall knows exactly what it wants to do on the field, which is control the line of scrimmage.

The Trojans did just that Friday night in a 38-14 win over West Hall. 

Defensive coordinators have to make a decision on who they want to focus on in the run game for North Hall (3-2, 1-0 Region 7-3A). 

The Trojans have a duo in Bradford Puryear and Kevin Rochester, who have combined for nearly 1,000 yards this season and those yards just continue to add up.

“Our inside game between our quarterback and fullback has been so good,” North Hall coach David Bishop said. “If you’re stopping one, it is hard to stop the other. We’ve been running a lot of read stuff and that’s been dangerous. We’re going to do what we have to do to win.”

Well, the game plan was on full display in the first half. 

Rochester, a senior, scored four of the Trojans five touchdowns. His first score came when he broke free for a 36-yard run. This was followed by a 29-yard run to end the fist quarter.

North Hall’s offensive line did not let up. Rochester got beyond the line of scrimmage and scampered to a 49-yard run. His final touchdown was just before the end of the second quarter for 3 yards. The Trojans’ control sapped the energy surrounding West Hall, who was playing their first home game of the season on the new turf.

“He’s thick down at the bottom,” Bishop said of Rochester. “So, a lot of shoulder tackles or arm tackles are not going to bring him down. He bounces off them a lot.”

Things were going to well for North Hall as it had a ball bounce its way for a 38-0 lead in the third quarter. A week after nailing the game-winning kick, Luke Brown lined up for a 51-yard field goal. The senior kicker boomed the ball toward the uprights, it hit the crossbar and had it bounce up and through successfully. 

“Physically they took it to us in the fist half,” Spartans coach Krofton Montgomery said. “There is no rhyme or mystery. They do exactly what we practice. They’re a good team and we know that. Our kids didn’t respond to the level we needed to make plays.”

West Hall (2-2, 0-1 Region 7-3A) was able to get on the scoreboard late. 

The first score game late in the third quarter when Nick Sturm scored on a quarterback keeper. 

They scored again late in the period when Sturm threw a strike to Andrew Malin across the middle, resulting into a 59-yard touchdown. 

Things were starting to connect for the Spartans but the game was beyond reach.

“They’re a good team,” Montgomery said. “I am just glad our kids fought all the way to the end. We just have to get better.”

While North Hall knew what it wanted to do against the Spartans offensively, it spent the early part of the weeks preparation focusing on Trojans after their 23-21 win over Chestatee last week.

“The focus become us the next day and a half and then we focused on West Hall because there were a lot of things we had to fix,” Bishop said. “That was the game plan. To forget about the game last week and work on ourselves get better at the fundamentals, which we did today.”

Up next, North Hall hosts White County on Oct. 1 at Lynn Cottrell Stadium. West Hall visits Cherokee Bluff on Oct. 1 in Flowery Branch. 

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