Perhaps the biggest upset of the season in AAA was White County’s 21-7 win over No. 4 North Hall of Friday night.
White County found a way to stifle a North Hall offense that had run roughshod over the rest of Region 7. North Hall had scored 306 points in its first six games. But the Warriors were able to limit the Trojans to their lowest point total since last year’s 31-6 loss to St. Pius in the state playoffs. It marked White County’s first win over North Hall since 2010 and just the second victory over the Trojans in the last 20 meetings.
Part of it was strategy. White County added an extra linebacker to its defensive alignment in an attempt to counteract North Hall’s strong offensive line. As a result, White limited North Hall to 335 total yards and their powerful running attack to 285.
Part of it was execution. White County ran for 225 yards, 80 on a touchdown run by Coley Loudermilk, and totaled 300 on offense. Quarterback A.J. Vandiver threw touchdown passes to Tucker Cook and Dalton Whitfield for White County.
The win puts White County in position to finish second in the region. The Warriors have already been beaten by Buford, but could secure a first-round playoff game by running the table against Dawson County, West Hall and Banks County. Dawson and West Hall are the other two primary contenders.
North Hall wasn’t the only ranked team to lose on Friday night. No. 8 North Oconee lost to Elbert County 28-23, while No. 9 Cedar Grove was beaten by No. 7 St. Pius 38-12.
Elbert quarterback Mecole Hardman ran for two touchdowns and Tra Barnett and Rantious Reed each scored one in the victory. But the deciding factor may have been Elbert’s defense, which limited North Oconee’s Kawon Bryant, the top rusher in AAA, to a season-low 142 yards and one touchdown. The Elbert defense recovered two fumbles and an interception.
St. Pius churned out 256 rushing yards and overcame a pair of turnovers to beat the Saints. After turning the ball over on their first possession, the Golden Lions scored on four of their next five times they had the ball. Dalton Wilson led St. Pius with 96 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Joey Connors tacked on two touchdowns.