East Hall survived a thriller in their first region game played on the field Saturday.
And after three weeks between games, it came with some rust.
“I’m lucky to still be alive after that one,” East Hall coach Michael Perry said. “I never want to play a game with just two days to prepare ever again.”
The Vikings built a massive first-half lead, but saw it slip away after a 30-minute lightning delay early in the third quarter, but held on to win 55-50 against Chestatee.
East Hall (4-3, 1-2 Region 8-4A) faced such a long hiatus between games, due to a small group of players who tested positive for coronavirus after beating East Jackson on Oct. 2. All players who previously tested positive for COVID-19 have since tested negative and are able to resume playing, Perry said.
As a result, region games for the Vikings against Cedar Shoals and second-ranked Jefferson were forfeited and went down as a loss.
After a mandatory two-week quarantine, the Vikings were given an extra day to face the War Eagles, thanks to an agreement with Chestatee (0-6, 0-2 Region 8-4A) coach Shaun Conley.
“Coach Conley is the classiest coach I’ve ever dealt with,” Perry said. “He’s doing a great job with his program.”
After going down 50-49 in the final two minutes, the Vikings drove back down the field and quarterback Clete Cooper (11 of 15 passing for 300 yards) punched it in for the go-ahead score on a 5-yard run with 22 seconds left.
“Clete kept us going and never gave up,” Perry said.
Trailing by three scores when the game was halted 30 minutes for weather early in the third quarter, the War Eagles struck back and even took a 50-49 lead with less than two minutes to play.
East Hall’s leading receiver was Mon Tabor with 100 yards, 30 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Tabor had a diving touchdown late in the first half, giving the Vikings a 34-7 lead.
Macere Walker added 70 receiving yards for the Vikings.
On the ground, Matthew Lott had 40 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Kyle Hughes had a pair of interceptions for the Vikings.
East Hall also scored on a blocked punt in the first quarter.
Despite some ups and downs, Perry said he’s proud to pick up that first region victory.
“This shows the heart of our team and that they never give up,” Perry said. “Our guys work so hard.”
Up next, East Hall visits North Oconee on Friday. Chestatee will host Madison County in six days.