Saturday November 28th, 2015 8:40PM

Chestatee riding 'Hard, Fast, Physical' to new heights

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
GAINESVILLE -- "When you think of Chestatee (football), what do you think about?"

War Eagles receiver/defensive back Kelly Arthur was quick to answer his own question.

"We want to be hard, fast and physical. In past years we've heard, 'Chestatee's soft; Chestatee will give up.' We're trying to change that."

In back-to-back outings this season, the War Eagles have done much to show the rest of north Georgia and Region 8-AAAA, that they are indeed, "hard, fast and physical."

Starting with a Sept. 21 double overtime defeat of Eastside, Chestatee began an impressive span that continued last Friday in a 24-20 defeat of then-No. 5 Stephens County in Toccoa. The two-game surge vaulted the War Eagles into the driver's seat in 8-AAAA (along with old foe Monroe Area) and has done much to erase the memories of a season-opening loss to North Hall.

Earlier this week, Access North sports editor Morgan Lee caught up with members of the War Eagles to talk about their stirring start to region play and what challenges remain for Chestatee. To watch the presentation, simply scroll down and click "play."

Feature-Chestatee Football from WDUN TV on Vimeo.

"After North Hall we knew we had a good team, we just didn't play our best that game," Chestatee quarterback Jordan DeGraff said. "It kind of hit us. We're ready to show people that we're for real. Eastside really changed it for us. We had a shaky first half in Stephens County, but we knew we could get it done."

Chestatee got it done impressively last week, especially in the fourth quarter, when the War Eagles put up 21 points, taking a 24-14 lead.

One week after putting up over 600 yards of offense, Chestatee showed it can play some pretty good defense as well, holding Stephens County's explosive ground attack to just 126 yards and limiting the Indians to 243 yards overall. Meanwhile, the War Eagles rushed for 248 yards, including 146 yards from DeGraff -- who says the War Eagles are feeling the buzz of their success around every corner.

"People are starting to jump on board with what we're doing," DeGraff said. "It's pretty fun watching them talk about how we're doing and know that everyone is really starting to support us."

That said, Chestatee knows it faces a different kind of challenge now: how to handle success. None of the current War Eagles players have experienced postseason play, and Chestatee's last winning season came in 2007.

"We talked at length on Monday about making sure we're not complacent," head coach Stan Luttrell said. "Last Friday wasn't the state championship. Every Friday is a test. That was not the final exam, just another test. We're in a new situation as far as Chestatee goes. Some teams are tested with losing streaks or with success and championships, and that's a test we've got to pass."

Yet a senior-laden squad -- the War Eagles feature 50 juniors and seniors combined on the roster -- is doing its best to keep its head down and focus on improving each day.

"We've got to practice every day with great effort," Arthur said. "And it's not just a couple of guys on offense and defense that have to play well. We have to play well as a team. So we've got to keep grinding every day at practice. (Us seniors) also need to step up as leaders a little more so the younger guys all know we're in this together."

And if Chestatee ever starts to lose its focus those seniors can point again at those three words -- hard, fast and physical.

-- WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
-- WHERE: Billy Ellis Memorial Stadium, Oakwood
-- CHESTATEE (3-1, 2-0 Region 8-AAAA): Defeated Stephens County 24-20 last week.
-- JOHNSON (3-2, playing non-region schedule): Bye last week after defeating East Hall 22-21 on Sept. 21.
-- HISTORY: Chestatee won the last meeting, 28-13 in 2011. The War Eagles lead the series 8-3.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Top 10 sports stories of the year: 2012 one for the history books
2012 has been all things to all people in the sports world. The last 12 months have run the gamut of emotions and given fans and spectators much to awe, rue and everything in between.
2:33PM ( 2 years ago )
College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta
Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the museum is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
2:15PM ( 2 years ago )
Boys basketball: Dawson County storms to Battle of States crown, 13-0 mark
The Dawson boys basketball team extended their perfect start to the season to 13-0 -- their best opening in over 40 years -- on Saturday, claiming the Battle of the States tournament title in the process, 62-22 over Murphy, N.C., in Hiawassee.
11:17PM ( 2 years ago )
Girls basketball: Chestatee stumbles to losses in tournament play
The Chestatee girls basketball team dropped a 50-47 decision to Allatoona on Saturday at the Allatoona Christmas Tournament in Acworth.
8:19PM ( 2 years ago )
High School Sports
Run game, defense helps Dogs seal victory over Jackets, 9-win campaign
Mark Richt trotted over to a corner of Bobby Dodd Stadium, where the Georgia band played and the red-clad faithful had nothing but cheers for the embattled coach.
5:00PM ( 3 hours ago )
Watson puts up 4 TDs and No. 1 Clemson moves to 12-0 with 37-32 win over South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Deshaun Watson isn't giving up on Clemson's step-by-step approach, not when it's worked so well.Watson had another big day, running for three touchdowns and passing for a fourth...
4:59PM ( 3 hours ago )
PLAYOFFS: Three goes into four, as area trio earn semifinal berths
Once the dust settled on Friday night, northeast Georgia found three teams still standing in the state football playoffs -- and it was so nearly four...
9:01AM ( 11 hours ago )
(VIDEO) Class AAAA: Buford stomps into ninth straight state semifinal
Were it any other team the number alone would seem absurd, but Buford football could care less about numbers at this time of year -- at least any number but "one."
By AccessWDUN Staff
8:58AM ( 11 hours ago )
(VIDEO) Class AAAAAA: Mill Creek routs Archer to advance to first semifinals
Mill Creek used a dominating defensive performance to whip Archer 23-0 and advance to its first-ever semifinals in a Class AAAAAA quarterfinal matchup Friday night at Mill Creek Community Stadium.
8:58AM ( 11 hours ago )