Friday’s scrimmage at the Brickyard will be mostly used as a learning tool for North Hall football coach Bob Christmas. The Trojans coach liked the idea that he’ll have plenty of quality film to evaluate against Class AAAAA’s Roswell, which has been a top-tier Class AAAAA program in recent seasons, even though it did result in a 21-19 loss.
Playing against the Hornets could help magnify some weaknesses the Trojans need to resolve before opening the regular season against Johnson on Aug. 29 at The Brickyard. Trying out new players in real game situations trumped the importance of keeping starters in the game late to try to win a practice game.
"I got so many new faces on this team," Christmas said. "This was a chance to see their heart."
Christmas said he was pleased with the outcome of North Hall’s only scrimmage.
The Trojans finished the game with 336 yards offensively against Roswell, which lost a close game against Class AAAAA state champion Lowndes in the 2007 state quarterfinals. Meanwhile, the Trojans defense only allowed 209 yards and nine first downs.
"We work a ton of people in practice, and our team came out and played well tonight," Christmas said.
North Hall senior quarterback Blayne Gilmer certainly showed he could be a capable leader, finishing the game 14-for-24 passing for 164 yards, completing passes to seven different receivers. The first-year starting quarterback sparked the longest play from scrimmage all night with an 87-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Graham Duncan.
But North Hall hasn’t abandoned it’s running attack. Ten different Trojans running backs combined to rush for 172 yards. Peyton Wilhoite, a junior, finished as North Hall’s leading rusher with 14 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns, which drew the praise of Christmas.
"I think he looked a little like (2007 starting fullback) Bobby Epps out there tonight," Christmas said.
Ben Booth made the biggest play on defense for North Hall with an interception of a tipped pass by Duncan. Nathan Jones, a senior free safety, recovered a fumble for the Trojans in the first half.
North Hall did have some wrinkles it would like to iron out before the Knights visit on Aug. 29. The Trojans fumbled the ball three times, turned it over twice, and threw an interception.