The North Hall football team ran all over Chestatee on the road Friday, racking up 489 rushing yards to run away with a 48-28 win. The victory was the first of the season after a slow start for the Trojans (1-3), and after the game, North Hall coach David Bishop said he was pleased with the way his team responded to early season adversity.
“The kids’ resiliency, not just through opening 0-3, but also dealing with all the COVID and everything else -- I’m just proud of the way they’ve started to really respond,” he said. “Tonight was big, especially going into region play.”
Clark Howell and Kevin Rochester led the way for the Trojans, combining to rush for 439 yards and seven touchdowns. Chestatee quarterback Luke Bornhorst led the War Eagles (0-4), completing 18 of 33 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and a late interception.
Rochester started the scoring with a 7-yard plunge early in the first quarter, and Howell added a 4-yard score later in the period. Rochester got into the end zone two more times in the second quarter to extend the Trojan lead.
Chestatee managed to find some rhythm right before the half with a 77-yard touchdown drive capped off with a 7-yard score from Christian Jarrard that came with just two second left in the half, leaving North Hall on top 27-7 at the break.
The teams exchanged touchdown drives in the third quarter, then scored two touchdowns a piece in the fourth, as the War Eagles offense came alive late but could not find enough to even the score. Chestatee cut the deficit to just 13 points on a couple of occasions in the final frame, but a Bornhorst interception grabbed by North Hall’s Keegan Smith with two minutes left to play put an end to the War Eagle comeback bid.THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
North Hall’s running back duo of Howell and Rochester were the stars of the game for the Trojans, racking up huge chunks of yardage throughout the contest. Howell was electric in the first half, bouncing several runs outside and slashing his way for 156 yards in the opening 24 minutes. Rochester supplied three, short-yardage touchdowns in the first half to complement Howell’s outside attack.
The roles were switched a bit in the second half, with Howell scoring three times and Rochester ripping off runs of 46 and 59 yards, both down the right sideline and both leading to eventual touchdown runs from Howell.
All told, Howell racked up 259 yards and four scores on the ground, while Rochester added 180 rushing yards and three touchdowns of his own. After the game, Bishop commended his pair of backs, but also added that their production would not have been possible without the entire offense clicking.
“You’ve got to say hats off to the line and some of the kids that were blocking to make it all happen,” he said. “I’m proud of those kids too.”BLOCK PARTY
In addition to rolling all day on offense, the Trojans also found plenty of momentum on special teams, thanks to senior Kalab Wyatt.
Wyatt made his first impact play early in the second quarter when he burst through the War Eagle line on a punt attempt to make a clean block and set the Trojans offense up on the Chestatee 17-yard line.
Wyatt got through to block another punt in the third quarter, giving North Hall the ball on the Chestatee 22-yard line and leading to a long rushing score from Howell on the very next play.
Bishop said Wyatt was “pretty dang good at blocking” and has blocked a number of field goals and extra points during his time with the Trojans, including one block against Paulding County in Week 1 of this season. He added that Wyatt’s blocks in Friday’s game provided a couple of timely boosts of energy for the rest of the team.
“I think it adds a little excitement,” Bishop said. “There were things we saw on game tape that we felt we could take advantage of, and we were able to do that.”