Finding the first win of the season has been elusive for East Hall and Chestatee. For one, the hunt will come to an end when the two play at War Eagles Stadium in Gainesville.
The Vikings have started off by losing each of their first three games by an average of more than 47 points per game. Chestatee, meanwhile, lost its first two games by a combined 114, before getting a bye on Aug. 31.
East Hall (0-3) head coach Scott Patrick said a large portion of his teams early season struggles can be attributed to changes in personnel, both on the coaching side with the departure of former head coach Bryan Gray and on the players side with the graduation of record-setting quarterback Austin Parker.
“We’re just trying to find our identity,” Patrick said. “We’ve had our identity the last several years, and with the new players, we’re just getting our identity. We’ve just got to get more consistent at what we’re doing.”
War Eagles (0-2) head coach Shaun Conley, meanwhile, said Chestatee’s struggles have been the result of an intentionally front-loaded schedule against top level competition.
“You look at our region right now, and three of the top five teams in the state are in our region,” Conley said. “So we knew that we had to get some good competition to begin with.”
But no matter the reason for the teams’ combined 0-5 start, something has got to give Friday night when the two programs clash, each looking for an elusive first win of the season.
For Patrick and the Vikings, that turnaround starts by attempting to stop Chestatee’s athletic, dual-threat quarterback, Christian Charles.
“Their quarterback is very good,” Patrick said. “They want to spread it out and kind of get you out on the edge with their little screens.”
Patrick added that Chestatee will always try to keep things balanced and establish a running game early on, but he remains most worried about “that quarterback getting out on the edge.”
When asked how he plans to turn his team’s recent misfortune around against the War Eagles, Patrick’s response was simple.
“We’ve got to play to our capabilities,” he said.
From the Chestatee perspective, Conley said he anticipates a tough task against the Vikings. He said East Hall is a team that is “always very athletic” while also lauding the coaching staff that consistently “does a good job.”
Conley said whether or not the War Eagles get their season back on track Friday is going to be dependent on how his team approaches the contest.
“We’re going to try to control the things that we can control, and the main two of those are attitude and effort,” he said. “And if we play with a great attitude and great effort, a lot of times that takes care of itself.”
With region games coming just over the horizon, Conley said his team has progressed, getting better every week since the start of the season.
And if the War Eagles want to take their next big step today, they’ll have to do it by playing mistake-free football against the Vikings, according to Conley.
“We’re going to have to limit mistakes,” he said. “We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot. We just want to be in the ballgame and be able to compete in the end.”