Wednesday October 7th, 2015 4:39AM

North Hall liking the depth it sees in the backfield

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
GAINESVILLE -- Bob Christmas is well aware of the special talent that Imani Cross brought to North Hall football.

That's why the Trojans coach won't be saddling the burden of replacing Cross's production on just one North Hall back in 2012.

"We won't have anyone as prolific as Imani -- he's at Nebraska for a reason -- but what we will have is some real depth and several quality backs we can run in there," Christmas said. "We've got a bunch of backs that will run hard and love the game. And you won't see much of a drop off when we rotate those guys."

Players such as Kevin Christmas, Zac Little, Marcus Hulsey, Isaac Seid, Brandon Dyer, Trystan Regnier, David Epps and Destin Bennett will each take their reps as they look to make up for the 1,706 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns that Cross supplied in his senior campaign in 2011 (he also racked up a team-high 88 tackles as a linebacker). And each has been preparing hard this summer to make the most of the opportunity.

"We've got people in the backfield that can get it done," said Hulsey, a senior. "We don't have any all-stars, just a bunch of good backs."

Kevin Christmas also believes the running back corps will be aided by an imposing offensive line.

"Our line will be as strong as any we've ever had this season," said Kevin Christmas, also a senior. "They're working hard, and they're also a smart group."

North Hall's running backs also believe they will be aided by some tweaks to the Trojans' offensive attack.

"It's going to be faster-paced," senior quarterback Bradley Brown said. "Our backs will be at full speed when they're getting the ball, and I think that will make a difference."

Coach Christmas says not to expect any sea-changes to the Trojans' tried-and-true rush-oriented attack, but North Hall has made some slight to alterations to the wing-T offense it has leaned on since his arrival in Gainesville in 2001.

"We've tweaked some stuff and added to it," coach Christmas said. "Some of what you'll see is very much the same."

Finding the right players to pace that attack has been one of the keys of this summer for a North Hall team ready for a new challenge after watching a seismic shift in the landscape of Region 8-AAA.

Gone is old rival Gainesville, along with former subregion rivals Stephens County and Lumpkin County. Cross-county rival Chestatee has also moved up, though the Trojans will face the War Eagles in a non-region showdown in the season opener (Aug. 31).

Moving in, however, is Buford -- which just missed out on a fifth straight Class AA championship last season -- as well as Banks County, Dawson County, East Hall and Fannin County.

"Of course Buford is a state powerhouse in any class; they'll be the team to beat," coach Christmas said. "A lot of these other teams will be new to us though. We haven't played East Hall or West Hall in a few years (2007 for each). It's been a long time since we've played Fannin County (2005 was their last contest). We've never played Banks County. So there are a lot of unknowns for us coming into this region."

Christmas does feel safe in believing this will be an extremely difficult schedule, however -- and that goes beyond Buford.

"Dawson County may have as many as 27 seniors," Christmas said. "That's an incredible number for a school in this classification. White County played us real tough last year and will be a year older and better. And we're playing a Chestatee team that is also loaded with seniors, and Jefferson has a bunch too. I think this may be as tough a schedule if not tougher than the last few we've had."

That said North Hall's players are looking forward to the challenge.

"We've been pushing ourselves from the very first day this summer, and we're not scared of anyone," Brown said.

"Better competition will only make us better," Hulsey added. "We just have to work hard and get ready. We've got to treat every single practice just like a game. When we're getting near the end of the workout that's like the fourth quarter of a game -- and we want to finish every fourth quarter strong."
© 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
(VIDEO) Player of the Week: Cain trashes Fannin to spark Leopards win
Banks County football needed a spark on Friday night. And Trevae Cain was happy to help provide it...
4:59PM ( 12 hours from now )
Region races ready for exciting sprint to the finish
With just five weeks left before the start of the playoffs, it’s crunch time for every team in northeast Georgia as the playoff stretch run gets under way.
4:50PM ( 12 hours from now )
Richt says he understands criticism from Georgia fans
Mark Richt has heard criticism from Georgia fans impatient for a championship and especially tired of losing to Alabama...
1:34PM ( 8 hours from now )
Projected as title contender, Tech mired in slide with Clemson, Watson looming
Not so long ago, Georgia Tech was being touted as one of the top teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference and maybe even a dark horse in the national race.
10:24AM ( 5 hours from now )
Volleyball: North Hall moves on in Area tournament
The North Hall volleyball team defeated Monroe Area but fell to North Oconee in the Area 8-AAAA tournament on Tuesday in Bogart.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:23PM ( 5 hours ago )