A North Hall and Chestatee game typifies what high school football is all about. A huge part of this rivalry is the fact that Chestatee peeled off its student body from what used to be part of the North Hall district.
That proximity between these two northern Hall County schools brings a sense of urgency to players that want to secure local bragging rights.
“Everyone is just getting really pumped up for this game,” North Hall junior running back/linebacker Peyton Wilhoite said. “I think it’s one of the most fun games of the year.
“We’ve been playing against them since little league, and it’s fun on Friday night getting to fight it out with them.”
With these two schools so closely tied together, this is a game that gets talked about for the next 365 days at church, in the grocery store, and even across the kitchen table. A fair number of parents of Chestatee players attended North Hall themselves.
“It’s just a good small town high school football rivalry,” Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell said. “It’s what high school football is all about.”
But just talking about this game in terms of the neighboring aspect doesn’t do this matchup justice.
When Chestatee and North Hall play there are usually some big postseason implications, and this season is no exception.
Right now, North Hall (4-3, 3-0 Region 7A-AAA) sits alone at the top of the subregion with its sights set on the title. Chestatee (4-3, 3-1) needs a win tonight if it hopes to control its own playoff destiny, with only one more subregion game remaining on the schedule against Creekview.
Here’s a synopsis of what is at stake in tonight’s game at The Brickyard:
- If North Hall wins, it’s almost a lock to win the subregion. The Trojans’ final two subregion games are winnable road contests against Gilmer and Lumpkin County. The subregion champion secures a No. 2 spot in the playoffs and a home playoff game to start the postseason. A War Eagles loss could knock them out of the playoff race entirely.
- If Chestatee wins, then the subregion becomes a toss up. Chestatee, North Hall, Lumpkin County and Creekview could all be sitting at one loss in subregion ‘A’ after tonight. This game could make the difference in Chestatee eventually becoming the subregion champion or not even making the playoffs at all. Lumpkin County has its big rivalry game against White County tonight in Dahlonega. Creekview has a game it should win against Pickens in Canton.
“This game ought to be a good one,” North Hall coach Bob Christmas said. “We have Creekview and Chestatee sitting right behind us.
“And we know Chestatee has to have this one.”
“It’s a game that has a lot of playoff implications,” Luttrell added. “If we win we can still possibly win the subregion and host a playoff game, and if we lose it puts us in a situation where we’d need someone else’s help to get in the playoffs.”
The magnitude of this season’s game is nothing new to this relatively young rivalry. Each of the past two seasons, North Hall had to beat Chestatee to lock-up the 7-AAA title. Last year 9-0 North Hall entered the game against the War Eagles knowing that a loss would drop it to a No. 3 seed. This season’s game will have much the same impact, with the Trojans looking at the prospect of possibly being either a No. 2 or No. 4 seed.
“It gives us a little extra motivation playing against our cross town rivals,” North Hall safety Nathan Jones said. “Our ultimate goal this season was the region title, but we’re getting better each week, and we want to be the best we’ve been all year by week 10 and get the No. 2 spot in the region.”