GAINESVILLE — ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’
North Hall proved that to a fault Friday night. The Trojans rushed 66 times, including the same play 45 times, and rallied from a pair of deficits to beat Lovett 24-21 in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs at Lynn Cottrell Field at The Brickyard.
Clark Howell, taking over for the injured J.T. Fair, piled up 187 yards on 33 carries and scored three times, including the eventual game-winner midway through the fourth quarter. For the game, North Hall (8-3) ran 69 plays to Lovett’s 36 and outgained the Lions (7-4) 353 to 193 for the game.
“Lovett kept giving us the same look and we just kept running the same play,” North Hall coach David Bishop said. “If it’s working, just keep doing it. (Lovett) didn’t adjust that much and when they did we adjusted. The guys did a great job of executing.”
The Trojans (8-3) trailed 7-0 early and then 21-14 early in the third quarter. A Luke Brown field goal in the third quarter pulled them within 21-17 and Howell’s 3-yard run with 8:07 left capped the comeback. Tate Brooks had 55 yards rushing and Jacob Dickey 52 for North Hall.
The North Hall defense held the Lions to just 63 yards rushing.
Bishop said he, for one, was not surprised.
“Not at all,” he said. Not with this group. They are a hard-working bunch. A lot of people didn’t think we could win with the injuries that we had. But I see what they do everyday. They are just a confident group right now.”
North Hall moves on to the second round and will travel to Crisp County next week in the second round.
“I’m sure it will be another tough game but I’m sure our guys will be ready to do whatever it takes,” Bishop said.
North Hall will be looking for its first quarterfinals since 2012.