Published: Nov 06, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Nov 05, 2011 08:19 AM
CHAPEL HILL - R.J. Quick's smile was as wide as the goal posts following Chapel Hill High School's 7-2 win against Asheboro on Friday night.
The senior wide receiver hadn't played a minute of the game but instead served out his one-game suspension on the sideline after being ejected last week.
Quick, one of Chapel Hill's biggest playmakers, told the team how thankful he was for the chance to play one more game, and there wasn't anyone he should be more thankful for than junior defensive back Alex Duncan.
After a scoreless first half, Duncan picked off a high pass from Asheboro (6-6) quarterback Caleb Mason and returned it 35 yards for the touchdown.
"It was a little bit over-thrown, but I had to put effort into catching that pick," Duncan said. "I was in cover-three, so I just picked it off and, you know -- touchdown."
The win gave Chapel Hill's seniors their first playoff victory and the school its first 10-win season. It advances No. 10 seeded Chapel Hill (10-2) to play next at Fayetteville Byrd (12-0), the top-seeded team in the NCHSAA East.
After a difficult first half against Asheboro (6-6), it was clear at the time that Duncan's pick-six would play a large role in the outcome of the game. But the Tigers recorded just two first downs in the second half and both were at the end to ice the game.
"The interception was huge," said Chapel Hill head coach Isaac Marsh. "He's been working hard all week. For him to make the play and hold onto it for the touchdown, I'm happy for him more than anything."
Duncan's interception was the difference, and Chapel Hill's stingy defense finished the game off. That defensive play was crucial for the Tigers, especially on a night where Chapel Hill struggled to move the ball on offense.
The Tigers tried going to the air early, but didn't find much success on a cold, windy night. Chapel Hill struggled all through the first quarter and only produced 20 total offensive yards in three first-quarter drives.
And Asheboro certainly played a role in that.
The Tigers started their second drive of the game from their own 14-yard line, and the Blue Comets dropped running back Darius Allen for eight yards on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later, Asheboro linebacker J.T. Harper sacked Chapel Hill quarterback T.J. Johnson for six yards and a safety.
Those two points stood all through the first half as the Blue Comets took a 2-0 lead into halftime. Asheboro certainly dominated the first quarter against Chapel Hill, moving the ball for 65 yards on offense while holding the Tigers to just 20 yards.
The Blue Comets finished the game with 206 yards of total offense, while the Tigers recorded just 100 yards of offense. Asheboro just had five turnovers - an interception, two fumbles and two on downs.
"Turnovers, that was the story of the game," said Asheboro coach Chuck Henderson.
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