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High school football: East Hall, Chestatee gearing up for rare Saturday afternoon game
Game moved back a day after Vikings missed two weeks due to a small group of players contracting coronavirus
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West Hall's Shakye Shaw loses the football as he's hit by East Hall's Marcus Holmberg Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, during the first half at of their game at Spartan Field. - photo by Scott Rogers
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North Hall's Clark Howell looks for running room n the Chestatee defense Friday, Oct. 3, 2020, during the first half of their game at War Eagle Stadium. - photo by Scott Rogers

East Hall’s football program is working in overdrive with two days of practice to prepare for its first game since beating East Jackson on Oct. 2.

The Vikings (3-3, 0-2 Region 8-4A) shut down football functions right after its last game when a small group of players tested positive for coronavirus, but have all made a full recovery and are cleared to play. Thursday was their first day back on the practice field.

There’s no time to worry about the two games (Cedar Shoals and second-ranked Jefferson) that went down in the loss column. 

All East Hall coach Michael Perry is thinking about is the four remaining games on the regular-season schedule. 

“I think our kids were upset that we had to shut down for a while but they were able to get over it quick,” Perry said. “It’s 2020 and that just the way it is. They understand that.”

Up next, East Hall has a Saturday afternoon game against Chestatee (0-5, 0-1). 

Kickoff is at 3 p.m. and seating is 40 percent of capacity at Vikings Stadium, based on coronavirus guidelines. 

Perry gives a big tip of the hat to Chestatee coach Shaun Conley for being amiable in moving the game back a day, which is allowed without needing approval by the Georgia High Schools Association. 

“I know if I was in their shoes, I would want the extra day,” Conley said. “Plus, I don’t know how safe it would be for them to play a game with just one day of practice.”

Chestatee’s coach said the Saturday game comes with a bit of excitement for players who grew up dreaming about playing college football. 

The War Eagles are playing the reminder of the season without University of Tennessee commit Christian Charles at quarterback, who had season-ending shoulder surgery after playing in just one game in 2020. 

Conley has been pleased with the development of backup quarterback Luke Bornhorst, who was thrust into action when Charles went down against No. 10 Cherokee Bluff on Sept. 5. 

“Losing Christian was certainly hard, but we’ve been pleased that Luke has stepped up and done a good job,” Conley said. 

Meanwhile, quarterback is one of the strengths for the Vikings. 

Junior Clete Cooper has thrown for almost 1,200 yards in four outings. 

East Hall’s quarterback has completed 66 percent of his throws with nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. 

East Hall’s top two wide receivers are Macere Walker (469 yards, three touchdowns) and Montavious Tabor (396 yards, four touchdowns). 

“(Cooper) is getting more and more comfortable in their system at East Hall,” Conley said. “He’s a competitor and definitely makes their offense dangerous.”

In the region, it’s going to be an uphill climb for either to make the postseason. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a fighting chance for either or both to get into the playoffs. 

“The only thing we can control is what we do when we get the chance to play,” Perry said. 

Friday’s games

Lakeview Academy vs. King’s Ridge Christian

Flowery Branch vs. North Oconee

West Hall vs. White County

North Hall vs. Lumpkin County

Johnson vs. Jackson County

Saturday’s game 

East Hall vs. Chestatee

BYE: Gainesville, Cherokee Bluff

Regional events