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High school football: Cherokee Bluff posts emphatic 41-24 win against North Hall to wrap up Region 7-3A championship
Bears scored final 17 points to lock up No. 1 spot to the 3A state tournament
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Cherokee Bluff's Eric Gohman, left, is met by teammate Eli Little after a blocked punt led to a Bears touchdown Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, during the first half of their game at Cherokee Bluff High. - photo by Scott Rogers

Cherokee Bluff is no longer simply the new team in Hall County. The Bears are now a region champion. 

On Friday, Eli Little had a huge 56-yard touchdown grab from Sebastian Irons early in the fourth quarter for the Bears (9-0, 5-0 Region 7-3A) to make it a two-score lead and wrap up the Region 7-3A championship by beating North Hall 41-24 on Friday in Flowery Branch. 

Jayquan Smith locked it up with a 26-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter. 

With the win, Cherokee Bluff locks up the No. 1 seed to the state playoffs with a regular season game remaining against White County next week. 

The third-year Bears are also assured a home date to open the state playoffs Nov. 27 in Flowery Branch. 

After a back-and-forth first half, Mason Gill gave Cherokee Bluff the lead with a 30-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter. Gill also had a 28-yard field goal in the first half for the Bears.

The pass game played a crucial part for the Bears. 

Trailing 24-17 late in the third period, Cherokee Bluff's Shad Dabney had a 29-yard catch down to the 1 on a fourth-and-5 play. Brayden Nance punched it in on the next play with a run from the 1 to tie it at 24-24.

Just two minutes into the game, Dabney had a catch that went for a 58-yard Cherokee Bluff score to make it 7-0. 

North Hall battled back with a score when Cameron Crisp recovered a fumbled punt to tie it at 7-7. With the score tied late in the first quarter, Little blocked a North Hall punt and Eric Gohman recovered it and took it in for the score, giving the Bears a 14-7 lead. 

Despite troubles running the ball, North Hall running back Clark Howell had a 63-yard pass reception on the final play of the first quarter, setting up his 1-yard scoring run. 

North Hall wraps up the regular season against Dawson County on Friday in Gainesville. The Trojans are already assured a playoff berth and can lock up the No. 2 seed to state with a win. 

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