If you’re a fan of quality quarterback play, Valhalla is the place to be this Friday night.
East Hall hosts Chestatee for a 7:30 p.m. kick in a meeting of Hall County’s two most productive quarterbacks to start the year — the Vikings’ Clete Cooper and the War Eagles’ Christian Charles. Cooper — a sophomore and first-year starter for East Hall — has completed 55 of his last 69 pass attempts (80% completion percentage) for 617 yards and three touchdowns.
Chestatee coach Shaun Conley said dealing with the young but improving QB will be a difficult task for a War Eagle defense that surrendered more than 30 points in each of its first two games.
“(Cooper) is playing really good right now,” Conley said. “We’ve watched him progress throughout the season, and each week he just gets better and better as he gets more comfortable in the new offense. He’s doing everything that you want your quarterback to do.”
East Hall coach Michael Perry knows his hands are just as full with Charles.
Though Charles has been less efficient than Cooper, he’s passed for over 600 yards and added more than 100 yards on the ground in Chestatee’s two games played this season. He has accounted for eight total touchdowns (six passing and two rushing) so far this year.
“That’s a phenomenal quarterback they have,” Perry said. “He can make plays both with his arm and legs.”
But in a game that is likely to be dominated by offense, both Conley and Perry were in agreement that defense is where things will truly be decided.
For Conley, that means shoring up the fundamental aspects of a defense that has struggled to keep opponents off the scoreboard of late. Simple things like sound tackling and maintaining assignments could make all the difference in what projects as an offensive shootout.
“We’ve got to limit big plays,” Conley said. “They’re going to try to throw it all over the yard, and we’ve just got to try to limit those plays, limit yards after the catch, be good sound tacklers and play good fundamental defense, and I think we’ll be good.”
Perry is more focused on situational defense.
If the teams do end up trading scores back and forth Friday night, any third down stop could be the one that gives his team the edge.
“It’s going to come down to on that third or fourth down, when you’ve got to get them off the field,” he said. “Ultimately we’re going to win or lose the game on that.”
With two explosive offenses meeting two shaky defenses, this Friday’s matchup projects to be one of the highest scoring games in Hall County football this season. Both teams are fully capable of producing highlight reel worthy plays at any moment; deep throws and long runs should not be rare sights.
And no matter the outcome, well, Conley himself put it best.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It should be interesting.”