GAINESVILLE — It was a typical East Hall-Chestatee game ... long.
After 3 1/2 hours, the War Eagles (1-2, 1-0 Region 8-4A) took advantage of East Hall's mistakes to roll in a 44-12 rout Friday in the Region 8-4A opener at the Lynn Cottrell Complex.
Chestatee's defense set the tone, especially in the third quarter, forcing five East Hall (2-1, 0-1 Region 8-4A) turnovers -- two fumbles and three interceptions. In total, East Hall had seven turnovers.
"I am super proud of those guys because they are made up of a bunch of youngsters," Chestatee coach Shaun Conley said about the defense. "They were playing hard and breaking on the ball. Just super proud because they played their tails off tonight."
Christian Vargas, who had two interceptions, was a step away from completing the pick hat trick.
"He just missed the third one," Conley said. "He broke on it but was just a step late, or he would have gotten it. He had a night tonight and was glad of it."
Sophomore Caysen Goss also had a night, picking up a fumble and returning an interception for a touchdown.
"He's got all the potential in the world," Conley said. "He's young and is improving every week. He had a night as well."
The War Eagles led 14-12 at the half with the Vikings set to get the second-half kickoff, but two plays into East Hall's first drive of the third quarter, Ely Raines pounced on a Viking fumble.
The turnover set the War Eagles up at the East Hall 30-yard line 45 seconds into the second half. On the next play, sophomore quarterback Josh Kermode (18-for-30, 238 yards, 2 TD) hit Christian Jarrard (6-87 yards receiving, 1 TD) on a 30-yard scoring strike to go up 21-12.
That series was the start of the East Hall turnover fest.
Vargas picked off East Hall quarterback Peyton Llewallyn on back-to-back series but couldn't convert them into points. On East Hall's third series of the half, it was Goss that would find pay dirt when he snatched a Llewallyn pass out of the air and returned it 30 yards for a 27-12 lead.
The War Eagles tacked on three more scores after the Goss interception -- an Isaiah Glez 28-yard field goal, Elijah Pruitt's 20-yard fumble return, and a Pruitt (6-82 yards, TD) 36-yard touchdown run.
It wasn't all bad for the Vikings. Llewallyn (21-for-39, 263 yards, TD) connected with Caden Crocker on a 73-yard pass. Jacob Christian capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Vikings on top, 6-0, with 7:20 to go in the first quarter. Llewallyn also found Crocker again, in the second quarter, on a 56-yard touchdown pass.
East Hall plays host to North Hall on Friday, while Chestatee travels to Cherokee Bluff.