Carrboro dominated the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves 36-19 in its season opener Friday night, but coach Jason Tudryn said the win was a wake-up call for his team.
“We’re not a real good team right now, flat-out,” he said. “We turned the ball over too many times, too many penalties, too many mistakes. We’ve got to get a lot better, because the road’s going to get a lot more challenging.”
The Jaguars, went 15-1 and reached the state 2A finals in 2012, forced a three-and-out to start Friday’s game. Then running back Trai Sharp carried his team 44 yards on four carries to the end zone, putting the Jaguars on the board less than three minutes after the opening kickoff.
But it was a seesaw game – and Carrboro led just 13-12 at halftime – before Sharp scored three times in the third quarter. Tudryn hopes his players got the message.
“We were up by one, and they were really upset about that,” Tudryn said. “They see the headlines, they read all the media, and they think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. But it’s not 2012 anymore.”
Some silver linings
East Chapel Hill didn’t leave Northwood Friday after the 39-14 loss with a lot of things to be happy about; but there were a few bright notes.
One was the play of the East Chapel Hill defensive front. Linemen Chris Alston and Vince Herrington both made tackles for losses, and linebacker Ian Levin sacked Northwood QB Ti Pinnix for an 8-yard loss in the second quarter.
Northwood’s Kadarus Rone was the game’s leading rusher, getting most of his 57 yards on three plays over 10 yards.
Offensively, sophomore Connor Stough grew into the starting quarterback role for East, improving as the game went along to get 273 yards and two touchdowns on 16-for-36 passing. He repeatedly escaped pressure and found a way to get something out of nothing.
Pinnix had the better night, able to pick at a young East secondary for 287 yards and three TDs. He completed 21 of 34 passes and, even better, gave up zero interceptions.
The wrong answer
Coach Issac Marsh thought he had drawn up the perfect play. Give it to the horse. The senior who had already rushed for 109 yards on the night.
But running back Jeremy Peck didn’t get the final handoff. Instead, Chapel Hill quarterback Grant Deselm tried to sneak the ball in from the goal line but was stopped short by Riverside defensive lineman Marcus Willoughby.
The Pirates won 17-14 in overtime, the team’s first victory in Chapel Hill since 2005 and the first win against the Tigers since 2009.
After the game, Marsh struggled to find the right answer when asked about the final play.
“Discipline,” he said.
When asked to elaborate, he replied, ”They know. Peck was supposed to get the ball.”
Peck had carried the ball on the first three downs, advancing Chapel Hill from the 10 – where the offense begins in overtime – to 1-yard line. But either a mix-up or a changed call by Deselm was doomed from the start.
Riverside trailed 14-7 with 10:30 left in the game. The Pirates drove 64 yards on five plays that culminated in senior running back Joel Evans 3-yard run to tie the game with 4:14 left.
The Tigers defense could do little to stop Evans who rushed 26 times for 195 yards and two touchdowns.
Picking back up
Orange picked up Friday just about where it left off in 2012. The Panthers ran and then ran some more, in a 40-7 rout of Roxboro Person.
Orange lost some talented backs off last year’s 11-3 state semifinalists but replaced them with others. Seven Panthers took turns running around the Rockets, not counting Garrett Cloer in his first start at quarterback.
Wingback Tay Jones (9-127) and halfback Patrick Pettiford (7-66) did most of the damage on the ground, each getting one touchdown rushing.
The real surprise was Cloer, regarded as one of the best all-around athletes ever at Orange, who burned Person for 177 yards and four touchdowns on 11-for-13 passing. He found Jones, Pettiford, Joe Piscitelli and Patrick Stewart for TD passes.