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High school football: North Hall hopes to set off a celebration to 'Cray Button' with playoff seeding on the line Friday
Trojans can lock up to No. 2 spot to playoffs against Dawson County in Week 12
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North Hall's Kevin Rochester carries the ball for the Trojans Friday, Oct. 3, 2020, during the first half of their game with Chestatee at War Eagle Stadium. - photo by Scott Rogers

If it’s a good night for North Hall’s football team Friday, you’re likely to hear the song ‘Cray Button’ coming from the locker room. A win for the Trojans (5-4, 4-1 Region 7-3A) would give them the No. 2 seed to the postseason and home playoff game at Lynn Cottrell Stadium to open the Class 3A state tournament on Nov. 27 in Gainesville. 

Cray Button, a Christian rock song from 2012, has remained the catchy tune that correlates to success for North Hall’s football program in recent years. Years ago, North Hall coach David Bishop put it to a hype video when he was teaching a broadcasting class. Then the punchy chorus featuring the Christian hip hop artist LeCrae found its way into the postgame celebration when the Trojans pulled an upset against East Hall to earn the No. 3-seed to the playoffs in 2017. 

Bishop freely admits he doesn’t mind breaking out his dance moves, along with the rest of the program when the time is right, with ‘Cray Button’ blasting in the locker room. 

And beating Dawson County (5-4, 4-1) on Friday would certainly qualify. 

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In Region 7-3A, the playoff picture is as clear as anywhere in the state for Week 12. Ninth-ranked Cherokee Bluff (9-0, 5-0) is the region champion, while White County has locked up the No. 4 spot. 

That means, North Hall and Dawson County will be able to settle it on the field to see who opens the playoffs on their home field, while the loser will have to go on the road to open state. 

“There’s definitely extra excitement when you get to play big games at home,” Bishop said.

This makes the third straight season that North Hall has faced Dawson County on the final night of the regular season with direct playoff-seeding implications on the line. 

In 2018, North Hall lost a 17-10 overtime decision, in Dawsonville, while it rebounded last year with a 40-37 win in Gainesville. 

The 2019 win was critical as the Trojans earned the home-playoff game spot and the following week upset ninth-ranked Lovett 24-21 to open the postseason. 

This year, Bishop expects another challenge against a prolific passing attack from the Tigers. 

Dawson County is led by junior quarterback Zach Holtzclaw, who has thrown for 2,146 yards and 23 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. 

Bishop said that the Tigers have the best spread offense his program will face all season. 

“(Dawson) throws the ball as well, if not better, than anyone else on our schedule,” North Hall’s coach said. 

To prepare to face Dawson County, the Trojans’ coach said the defensive adjustments are minimal. 

Bishop said that his players are eager to earn the right to open the postseason at home for consecutive seasons. 

He said players quickly rebounded from any disappointment of losing a shot at the region championship, as a result of falling 41-24 to the Bears during Week 11 in Flowery Branch. Bishop said that game came down to a handful of plays where Cherokee Bluff came out on top, including a couple long conversions on third-down-and-long and fourth-down-and-long passes in the second half that the Bears completed. 

Still, he feels confident that the Trojans will rebound on the final night of the regular season. 

“Our kids believe in the process of what we do and have continually gotten better as the regular season has moved along,” Bishop said. 

And if the Trojans can pull off the win, expect them to crank up some ‘Cray Button.’

Friday’s games

Gainesville vs. North Forsyth

Flowery Branch vs. East Hall

Chestatee vs. Cedar Shoals

North Hall vs. Dawson County

Cherokee Bluff vs. White County

Lakeview Academy vs. Providence Christian

Regional events