However, Ben Souther and the Chestatee offense weren’t going to be slowed down by the Indians’ efforts, and the War Eagles plowed their way to a 19-7 victory.
Souther had an outstanding night, rushing for 127 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns.
The rest of the War Eagle offense found footing behind Souther’s efforts, adding 131 yards of offense to Souther’s total to give Chestatee a total of 258 yards of offense.
"Our guys kept believing in our offense, and we were able to overcome mistakes for a solid team win, even though Lumpkin County fought back hard," Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell said.
Despite the War Eagles’ success on offense, it was their defense that set the tone for the game. It created four key turnovers, including three inside the red zone, and one 50-yard interception return by Keaton Summerlin.
The War Eagles’ defense controlled Lumpkin County’s production on the ground and through the air, limiting the Indians to 104 yards rushing and 105 yards passing.
"We were able to create turnovers, and scoring on defense always helps," Luttrell said. "When we had our backs to the wall we were able to step up all night."
The game started slowly, with each team looking to move the ball against two solid defenses, leading way to scoreless tie going into the second quarter. The War Eagles’ steady rushing attack drove to a 4-yard Souther touchdown run with 3:32 to go in the half for a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing drive, Lumpkin seemed to find its offensive rhythm, driving downfield to score as the clock expired on a catch by Kaylen Temples, who fell to the turf in the end zone. The extra point tied it at 7-7.
In the third quarter, the War Eagle defense began to impose its will, pressuring the quarterback and creating Summerlin’s interception return for a touchdown.
Souther scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard run to open the fourth quarter. A failed two-point conversion set the score at 19-7.
The victory was sealed by Pearce Gruenenfelder’s interception in the end zone for a touchback later in the quarter.