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High school football: North Hall uses fast start to hold off North Murray to open Class 3A state playoffs
Trojans scored on two long Clark Howell touchdowns in the first quarter
North Hall
North Hall's Clark Howell weaves through the North Murray defense during the first round of the Class 3A state playoff game Friday in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

North Hall recovered an onside kick to start the game, jumped to a big early lead and never trailed en route to a 36-28 victory over North Murray to open the Class 3A state playoffs Friday at Lynn Cottrell Stadium in Gainesville. With the win, the Trojans will visit Greater Atlanta Christian in the second round on Dec. 3 in Lilburn. 

On Friday, the Trojans struck fast after recovering the opening kick with Clark Howell's 25-yard scoring run. Midway through the first quarter, Howell scampered for a 51-yard scoring run. 

Kevin Rochester scored on a 16-yard run early in the second quarter, giving the Trojans a 21-0 lead. 

Howell finished with 22 runs for 232 yards for the Trojans, while Rochester ran for 94 yards. 

Rochester added a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, which came between touchdown throws from Seth Griffin for the Mountaineers. 

North Hall finished the game with 370 yards on the ground, while North Murray ran for just 57 yards. 

Greater Atlanta Christian advanced with a 37-7 win against Franklin County in the first round Friday. 

North Hall is 0-4 in school history against Greater Atlanta Christian, losing in each of the past four seasons when both were region rivals. 

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