Following Friday night’s region contest with Lumpkin County, North Hall High football coach David Bishop saw plenty of positives.
The biggest one of them all wasn’t necessarily the final score — a 70-0 shutout of the Indians at the Brickyard — but the fact his Trojans followed through on a conversation had about the lapses against Fannin County last week.
“The biggest thing with our kids was that we saw very little mistakes this week,” Bishop said. “Last week, the kids were frustrated at halftime with themselves. ... This week, I can remember just one (obvious) mistake for the whole first half.”
Still, Bishop had to like the general scope of production in the final home game of the regular season for North Hall.
Six different players found the end zone as North Hall accrued over 500 all-purpose yards and scored in all four quarters in the Trojans’ second shutout win of the season, and the team’s highest scoring effort since 2007 (73).
The region win also appeared to secure a fourth-straight playoff berth for North Hall (7-1, 3-1 Region 7-3A), which goes on the road for the final two weeks of the regular season beginning next Friday against East Hall.
“They’re having fun,” Bishop said of his squad’s overall success. “They work hard, and it’s just a great group of kids to be associated with in any way or form.”
A large chunk of North Hall’s roster saw the field, including many of the team’s seniors on the school’s senior night.
“They all got to play a good bit tonight,” Bishop said of the seniors. “It was a good way to finish up their regular season (here), and our goal is to be playing here in the playoffs.”
A win at East Hall next Friday night would set up North Hall for a region finale with Dawson County to determine who gets the No. 2 playoff seed in the 7-3A.
The Indians (3-5, 1-3) just couldn’t contain the speed of North Hall, especially as its many ball carriers found the edge. Daniel Jackson (183 all-purpose yards, three touchdowns) and JT Fair (187 total yards, three total touchdowns) spearheaded the Trojans backfield, combining for 256 of North Hall’s 367 rushing yards in the contest. Fair showcased his closing speed off the exchange, exploding into space and finding the end zone on four of his first five touches, though had two of those long touchdowns called back via penalty.
Starting quarterback David Seavey added balance to North Hall’s Wing-T attack as he completed all five attempts for 75 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Luke Volle and Fair in the first half.
Touchdowns by Jacob Dickey, Clark Howell and Tate Brooks added to the scoring surge for North Hall in the second half.
North Hall's defense recovered a pair of Lumpkin County fumbles and got a second quarter interception from defensive back Trey Sanders while holding a battered Indians unit to seven first downs. Lumpkin County was without the talents of a pair of its lead backs that included top rusher Luke Smith, who is also their starting kicker and free safety. Smith was sidelined due to an undisclosed injury sustained against Greater Atlanta Christian last week.
It only took a handful of plays for North Hall to seize full control of this region contest and pull away. Trojans running back JT Fair took his first two carries of the night straight into the end zone on long scoring scampers of 53 and 67 yards, the latter coming off the pitch of a perfectly-executed trademark “Tag” play from the backfield to give North Hall an early two-touchdown lead by the 7:32 mark of the opening quarter.
The Trojans went on to build a 49-0 halftime lead after just 17 plays. Jackson was another to produce on offense and special teams, first breaking free along the visitor’s sideline for a 60-yard punt return down to Lumpkin County’s 6-yard-line, and then finding the end zone untouched for a 2-yard score — and 20-0 lead — two snaps later.
Jackson added a 61-yard touchdown run off a called sweep on the next possession, while starting quarterback Seavey added to the scoring flurry on back-to-back drives to follow. Seavey’s longest pass play of the half resulted in the Trojans’ sixth score. Seavey got hit as he released a throw to Fair down field for a 42-yard, catch-and-dash score with 5:24 left in second period.
An interception by Sanders berthed the Trojans’ seventh scoring drive six plays later.