It had been a while since East Chapel Hill had felt like winners. Presented with the chance to blow out Cedar Ridge Friday night, the Wildcats looked as though they’d forgotten what to do with it.
But East Chapel Hill held on for a 24-21 victory, its first of the season and first under new head coach John Sherman.
East (1-2) led 21-6 at halftime, thanks to touchdown passes of 77 and 17 yards from Connor Stough to Jack Hankins and then Stough’s own 1-yard dive with 4:18 left in the half.
East went up 24-6 on Ellis Llewellyn’s 36-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Cedar Ridge outscored the Wildcats 15-0 in the game’s final 13:40 half – on Peyton Pappas’s TD passes of 19 yards to Julian Walton and 41 to Marquez Hunter. But that wasn’t enough to overcome an East Chapel Hill team, and offensive line in particular, that looked much improved from its first two outings.
“I was really worried when we came out for the second half,” Sherman said. “We’ve never been on top this year – we’re always coming from behind – so we’ve got to learn to finish games. I was scared of that, and that’s what happened.”
The Wildcats were able to kill the final 2:07 after Cedar Ridge’s last score (and a failed onside kick attempt) with a series of pounding runs by the redoubtable Colby Owens for two first downs.
Owens ended up with 54 yards on nine carries, part of East’s running-by-committee effort. Chris Fowler gained 58 yards on 15 rushes and Jeremy Hubbard 17 on three carries, while Hankins had 31 yards rushing to go with his team-high 133 yards on four receptions.
Stough completed 12 of 19 passes for 259 yards.
Pappas led Cedar Ridge (0-3) by completing 18 of 31 passes for 292 yards.
Six turnovers – and holding calls that negated a number of long-yardage plays – marred what was an otherwise impressive offensive performance from both sides.
“We’ve got to keep fighting, and we did,” Sherman said. “I’m happy that we’ve come back from an 0-2 start, because that can demoralize a team, especially with a new coach.”
Orange 38, Riverside 0
At Linny Wrenn Stadium in Durham, Orange’s defense notched its first shutout of the year, holding 4A Riverside to 204 yards of total offense.
Orange (3-0) has given up just 22 points in its first three games. Last year, the Panthers shut out three opponents and yielded an average of 14.4 points a game.
Known for its fleet of running backs, Orange displayed some aerial prowess with Garret Cloer’s touchdown passes of 47 yards to Ky Muller and 85 yards to Patrick Pettiford, helping the Panthers to a 21-0 halftime lead. Bryse Wilson added a fourth-quarter TD with his catch-and-run of a Josh Kiehle throw.
Orange’s Tay Jones led all runners with his 108 yards on just eight carries – including a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 55-yard TD run in the third.
Pettiford’s big TD catch helped him get a game-high 107 receiving yards on just three catches and accounted for more than half of Cloer’s 167 passing yards. Cloer completed six of 13 attempts.
Northwood 22, Jordan-Matthews 6
In Siler City’s Senter Stadium, Northwood (3-0) set the stage for this week’s showdown with Carrboro (3-0) with a balanced attack against the Chargers’ Chatham County arch-rivals.
Kadarus Rone caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ti Pinnix and added a 3-yard touchdown run in the second half, ending up with a game-high 120 yards on 16 carries.
Pinnix threw the ball 38 times, completing 17 for 151 yards despite two interceptions.
The Chargers’ defense tackled running back Tre Jones in the end zone to help Northwood lead 9-0 at halftime.
With Northwood up 15-6 in the fourth quarter, Jalen Smith clinched the win with a 37-yard punt return.
Carrboro 29, Chapel Hill 28
At Culton-Peerman Stadium, the Tiger defense had some notable moments despite Chapel Hill’s third straight loss. Hudson Price, a 6-foot, 250-pound sophomore, fulfilled every defensive lineman’s dream by reading a Carrboro screen and intercepting the attempted pass.
CHHS senior Darrell Parker made two tackles for losses, including a sack for a 7-yard Carrboro loss. Brandon Nickerson, Coby Fisher, Neal Duncan and Price all had at least one tackle for losses.
But Carrboro (3-0) had its own big-yet-unsung moments. Handling a low snap on an extra-point attempt midway through the second quarter, holder Rowe Mellott scrambled around until he found Samuel Blobe in the end zone.
And after Chapel Hill’s Sean Dawson recovered an onside kick for CHHS, Blobe broke up what could have been a touchdown pass to Chapel Hill’s Austin Turner to help stymie the Tigers’ last drive.
W.E. Warnock contributed to this report