Looks like the switch has been flipped.
After toppling No. 7 Flowery Branch on Friday, North Hall has won three straight, knocking out two top 10 teams in the process, rushing for more than 324 yards per game, and taking the inside track to a home game in the playoffs.
The Trojans (4-2, 3-0 Region 7A-AAA) lost two of their first three to Buford (No. 3 Class AA) and Gainesville (No. 1 Class AAA) by wide margins, averaging just 13 points per contest. But since then they’re scoring more than triple that against teams with a .684 combined winning percentage.
Peyton Wilhoite, who is second on the team with 357 rushing yards this season, has topped the 100-yard plateau twice during the winning streak, including 151 yards on 15 carries Friday. Robert Humphrey leads the team with 381 yards, and had 103 on seven carries, including a 74-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Flowery Branch. Wilhoite’s outing only started a big weekend for the North Hall two-way starter. Early on Saturday, he boarded a plane for an official visit to the Air Force Academy’s campus in Colorado Springs, Colo. for an official visit to watch the Falcons play Texas Christian.
North Hall and Chestatee, who meet in two weeks, now share the subregion lead after the War Eagles (4-2, 3-0) defeated Gilmer (4-2, 2-1) on Friday. This week, the Trojans travel to Pickens (1-5, 0-3), while Chestatee plays host to White County (3-3, 0-2).
THE OAKWOOD OFFENSIVE: For the second straight year, the annual Battle of Oakwood turned into a back-and-forth shootout, as Johnson atoned for last year’s loss with a 49-45 win over West Hall on Friday.
The teams combined for 1,053 yards of total offense, and in the last two years have totaled 205 points. The Spartans won last season, 56-55.
Though their methods differed, both teams were sparked by their respective quarterbacks Friday night. Johnson’s Anthony Prophet set a school record with six rushing touchdowns and finished with 174 yards on 12 carries, while the Spartans were led by the area’s leading passer Shunquez Stephens (452 passing yards, six touchdowns). For the season, Stephens is now over 1,700 passing yards.
The Knights (2-5, 1-1 7B-AAA) return to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday, playing host to West Forsyth (3-3, 1-1). Meanwhile, West Hall (0-7, 0-3) will play host to Lumpkin County.
BIG RED WALL: Led by a ferocious front seven, Gainesville’s defense has made running difficult for opponents all season. But in the last two weeks, the Red Elephants have made it a near impossibility.
Gainesville (7-0, 3-0 7B-AAA) dominated East Hall (0-6, 0-2) on Friday, limiting the Vikings to minus-2 yards of total offense. For the season, the top-ranked Red Elephants have four shutouts and are giving up just 6.4 points per game, and in their last two wins, the defense has given up total of 22 rushing yards on 64 carries.
Gainesville is off this week and will travel to take on Gilmer on Oct. 23.
8-AA RETURNS: After a region-wide bye week, the teams of 8-AA will get back on the field on Friday.
Jefferson, North Oconee and East Jackson have separated from the pack and are tied with identical 5-0 region marks.
With a month remaining in the regular season, four team (Banks County, Fannin County, Riverside and Union County are tied for the fourth and final playoff spot).
Riverside’s home game with Fannin County on Friday highlight’s this week 8-AA slate.