North Hall High’s football community held its collective breath twice Friday night.
However, after Luke Brown’s second attempt of a game-winning field goal split the upright, Trojans (2-2) fans were able to scream with glee, leaving with a 23-21 last-second win against Chestatee at Lynn Cottrell Stadium.
Brown’s successful 43-yard field goal came after a penalty against North Hall pushed back his previous attempt five yards.
The game-winning sequence was full as suspense.
First, Chestatee called a timeout when Brown lined up for the kick.
Then, North Hall drew the flag.
Once it came time, Brown was perfect on the kick as the final second drained off the clock.
“We just told him to relax,” Trojans coach David Bishop said. “He has kicked 57-yarders before. Hats off to coach Conley and those kids. They have come a long way.”
Chestatee (2-2) held a 21-20 lead when quarterback Luke Bornhorst threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Drew Knickel with 4:59 to play in the fourth quarter. The War Eagles defense was looking to create a fumble or penetrate a depleted North Hall offensive line to secure the win.
The Trojans had other plans.
They handed the ball to Kevin Rochester, who carried the ball four times in the closing drive.
Time just ticked away. North Hall ran the clock down to :02 seconds.
Chestatee called a timeout in an attempt to ice Brown. The strategy worked as the attempt was missed but the penalty was called.
There was no doubt after he kicked it the second time.
“We had a lot of kids who weren’t supposed to be out there,” Bishop said. “There was a lot of confusion. But that is part of growing up and being ready at all times.”
Chestatee, which had its two-game winning streak snapped, was dejected after the high’s and low’s of the emotion.
“Man, what a game,” Conley said. “That kid is a good kicker. I wish they hadn’t of moved. It was a good game. I don’t know what to say. Our kids played their hearts out.”
Both teams left everything they had on the field.
North Hall took the lead early in the first quarter.
Senior quarterback Bradford Puryear opened the scoring with two long runs. His first score was a 77-yard dash to the end zone. The second score came from 35-yards out after bouncing off of several would be tacklers. North Hall held a 14-0 lead after one period.
Chestatee responded when Bornhorst punched it in from a yard out.
The War Eagles added to the score on a defensive play by Marin Jeronimo, who tackled a Trojans running back in the end zone for safety.
Hunter Fouche then scored on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Bornhorst, giving the War Eagles a 15-14 lead heading into halftime.
Rochester scored from three-yards out in the third quarter but the two-point conversion failed, giving the Trojans a 20-14.
Chestatee’s final touchdown was enough for a one-point lead but the two-point conversion failed. This gave North Hall a small window for the game-winner.
“We took it early. Then they took it,” Bishop said. “It definitely was a tennis match of emotions.”