GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Down 30-7 with just seconds to go in the first half, the Chestatee War Eagles appeared to be headed to defeat at Habersham Central last Friday night, but one big kickoff return and an explosive second half turned the game- and the season- around for head coach Shaun Conley's team. Jacob Goodall returned a kickoff 75-yards for a score, closing the gap to 30-14 as the teams went to their respective locker rooms at the half.
"Coach talked to us at halftime and we got the whole defense up and said we've got this game, let's get it," said Senior running back Nick Lyles. "We went out there and changed the game."
Lyles was the catalyst behind the War Eagle's dramatic comeback, scoring three of his four touchdowns after the half. He finished with 292 yards rushing and recovered a Raider fumble in the end zone with less than two minutes remaining in the game to seal the 41-37 victory for Chestatee (4-2) in their final game before region play.
"It was a great game and a great win for our program," Conley told High 5 Sports. "We talked about playing one play at a time and about giving it all you've got for one play. We made some adjustments at halftime and hats off to our kids, they played extremely hard and I'm so proud of them."
Chestatee has the week off before entering a brutal 7-AAAA region schedule featuring road games at West Hall and Marist, and home opportunities against Blessed Trinity and White County.
The War Eagles will also have to prepare for Paul Milliken and the Good Day Atlanta road crew as they throw a live pep rally at the Gainesville school Thursday morning. Chestatee ran away with the voting on our Team of the Week Facebook poll, securing a second Hand Trophy in as many years--the team won the award last season after ending a 12 game losing streak that dated back to 2013.
"Anytime you can get your school some recognition it's awesome," Conley told us.
You can watch the War Eagles pep rally in the 8 and 9 o'clock hours of Good Day Atlanta on Thursday.