"We won the games we had to win," said White County coach Gregg Segraves. "Chestatee, East Hall and Gilmer, we kind of went through the motions, but we had to put it together tonight and I thought we did that."
Thanks to North Hall’s 53-6 rout of Chestatee, and the Warriors’ 32-7 win over Lumpkin County, White County (7-3, 4-1) earned the No. 4 seed out of Region 7-AAA. They will travel to Atlanta to take on 5-AAA’a No. 1 seed Carver-Atlanta (9-0, 6-0), who beat Therrell 36-6 Friday night.
"I thought our team played extremely well tonight," Segraves said. "I’m real proud of them."
Lumpkin County scored on its first possession of the game thanks to a 16-play, 85-yard drive that took up nine minutes of the first quarter.
The drive ended on a Cameron Jackson 2-yard scamper through the middle of the line and into the end zone.
"They took that first drive down and they’ve done that all year, even against North Hall," Segraves said. "We knew that we would be in better shape the later the game went on."
That first drive would be the best of the night for the Indians, who finished the game with only 143 yards of offense, 101 on the ground.
Playing in their final game for Lumpkin County, standouts Cameron and Ken Jackson were held to a combined 66 yards rushing. Ken Jackson had 26 yards rushing on six carries to Cameron Jackson’s 40 yards on 16 carries.
"Our defense has played great all year," Segraves said.
White County was as successful moving the ball down the field as they were stopping the Indians from doing so.
Tyler Norman scored three rushing touchdowns (21, 5, 10 yards) to lead the Warriors, the first coming on White County’s first, and only, drive of the opening quarter.
During that possession, a three-play, 71-yard drive that lasted two minutes, senior running back Jesse Brown had a 30-yard run of his own. It was Brown’s first run of the game and set up Norman’s 21-yard rushing score on the following play.
Brown finished the contest with 91 yards on nine carries and one touchdown.
Lumpkin County blocked the ensuing extra-point attempt to keep the lead, but relinquished the lead for good on White County’s first drive of the second quarter.
The Warriors took their second possession of the game 50 yards on 12 plays — five passing and seven rushing — to another score, a 5-yard run by Norman that made the score 12-7. The two-point conversion attempt failed.
The senior quarterback finished the game with 75 yards on eight carries and three touchdowns. He also was 9-for-12 passing for 96 yards.
"I’ve got to give all the credit to the offensive line," Norman said. "They opened up holes and I just ran through them. We did a lot of film study and really knew our assignments."
White County scored again before the end of the half on a 2-yard run by senior running back Eli McCallister.
McCallister finished the game with 47 yards on 10 carries and with one catch for 7 yards.
The half ended on an interception of Lumpkin County quarterback Daniel Abercrombie; junior defensive back Kevin Frederick was credited with the pick.
The Warriors had deferred to the second half after winning the game’s coin toss and, as a result, jumped on the scoreboard first in the second half. That put the game out of touch for the Indians.
White County’s final two scores came on runs of 10 and 5 yards by Norman and Brown respectively.
Lumpkin County will lose 16 seniors off this year’s team that rebounded from an 0-10 showing in 2006 to go 5-5 in 2007.
The Warriors move on for a first round showdown with Carver-Atlanta on Friday night in Atlanta.
"We’ve got our hands full, they have a lot of speed," Segraves said. "But we’re going to go in not just glad to be here but going to go in prepared and try to win a football game."