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Player of the Week: Chestatee's Christian Charles dazzles against Dawson County
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Chestatee High quarterback Christian Charles looks for an open receiver Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, during the first half of their game with Flowery Branch at The Branch. - photo by Scott Rogers

Chestatee quarterback Christian Charles did a little bit of everything for the War Eagles in last Friday night’s home game against Dawson County, a 45-42 overtime loss. 

Charles passed for nearly 400 yards, tossing four touchdowns through the air while also running for a pair of scores. But perhaps his most impressive play came in one of the game’s most important moments. The War Eagles trailed 42-34 late in the fourth quarter when Charles rushed in a score from 5 yards out to get his team within a two-point conversion of tying things up. 

Charles’ first read on the two-point attempt wasn’t open, so he scrambled around in the pocket, looking for a receiver with separation. His eventual pass attempt in the direction of Caleb Carter was swatted directly back at the young QB. 

“Next thing I know, I have the ball back in my hands, and I’m running with it,” he said.

Charles managed to take the “reception” into the end zone to tie the game at 42 late. And while the War Eagles didn’t have quite enough left to finish off the upset, Charles’ effort in the contest was good enough for him to be named this week’s Times Player of the Week.

His spectacular performance came as no surprise to Chestatee coach Shaun Conley, who believes Charles’ understanding of the War Eagles offense has progressed leaps and bounds since last season. 

“Last year, as a 10th grader, he came in, and he could execute what we were trying to do,” Conley said of his junior quarterback. “But as far as the understanding of what we were looking at and what we were trying to accomplish, I’m not real sure last year he understood that. This year, I think he’s made strides in that area. He’s starting to understand why we try to do certain things. He’s willing to take what the defense gives. That type of stuff.”

On Friday, Charles was able to capitalize on every Dawson County mistake, helping to force the game into overtime only a year after the Tigers won last season’s matchup 58-0.

Charles said the key to the quick turnaround was a simple one. 

“Just keeping calm,” he said. “I was just really calm and just focused on the task at hand.”

Conley hopes for many more big performances from Charles this season, and he’s expecting them. Though the Chestatee quarterback exploded statistically last Friday, Conley said stellar play has come to be the expectation.

“That’s just Christian,” he said.

And while Charles’ on field production has been impressive, his off field contributions are equally crucial to the Chestatee football program. 

As a sophomore, Charles was still coming into his own as a leader for the War Eagles. It’s a role that has expanded greatly for Charles in his junior season, and one that came to him naturally.

“It’s not like I sat down one day and said ‘Hey, I’m going to be a leader,’” he said. “It’s just something I kind of just felt. It wasn’t something I had to try hard to do. I just gained the respect of my guys. They believe in me and I believe in them.”

That belief could be the driving force behind Chestatee football as the season unfolds. 

Although the War Eagles are 0-2 to start the year, their losses to North Hall and Dawson County were both significantly closer affairs than the same matchups a season ago. And while every single player on the Chestatee roster is important to the team’s success, Conley said Charles’ development will be crucial to turning the program into a winner over the next two years.

“If we can keep improving, I expect big things out of this team, and Christian does play a big role in that,” Conley said. “He is a big part of Chestatee football.”