Roundup: Tigers reduce game to basics

ewarnock@newsobserver.comSeptember 23, 2013 

Chapel Hill kept it simple when approaching its game last week at East Chapel Hill High School.

Rather than trying to counter every twist in the Wildcats’ playbook, the Tigers concentrated on the basics, CHHS coach Issac Marsh said.

“We narrowed the film down to focusing on 10 plays,” Marsh said. “That's all we really worked on in practice — 10 plays.”

Chapel Hill knew that if the Tigers could take the dive play away from Colby Owens, limit the number of times Jack Hankins or Arkavious Parks could get loose in the secondary, and keep the pressure on quarterback Connor Stough, than CHHS was at least three-quarters of the way to a win.

It worked. Chapel Hill won 26-7.

Owens earned every bit of the 37 yards he ran for Friday, almost all of it coming after initial contact with CHHS defenders.

The Tigers didn’t get to Stough that often, but he spent much of the night running away from pressure.

Hankins was limited to one pass. Parks caught three, including a 49-yarder for a first-quarter touchdown.

Parks’ a 33-yard catch in the fourth quarter was East’s last big gain. As the night wore on, so did the Wildcats.

Decimated by injuries, East played a considerable amount of its remaining players on both sides of the ball. The line has been especially hard hit, with the Wildcats losing three starters within the week of the CHHS game.

“We started off well at full speed, then we just started to wear out,” East Chapel Hill coach Jon Sherman said.

The difference between ‘losing and getting beat’

Injuries have been a big part of Carrboro’s story so far this year.

Trai Sharp’s absence since twisting his leg early in the Jaguars’ loss to Northwood has seemed huge.

“He’s week to week,” Carrboro coach Jason Tudryn said. “We don't know how bad it is.”

Without Sharp’s breakaway speed, Carrboro (2-2) was limited offensively heading to South Granville last week. And that was extremely unfortunate going against a team that’s given up a total of 13 points in its last three games.

The only team to score more than 13 on 2A South Granville (3-1) was 4A Rocky Mount (4-1) in the Vikings’ 27-14 season-opening loss.

South Granville, which has won all three of its home games with Carrboro, held the Jaguars to 97 yards of total offense Friday, 47 on the ground. Most of that came on Rowe Mellott’s nine scrambles for 46 yards. Starting quarterback Jonah Mendys was sacked twice for 13 yards in losses. South Granville won 43 to 0.

Between the two of them, Mendys and Mellott completed nine of 19 passes for 51 yards, each of them giving up one interception.

Tudryn thinks his players are coping well with the sea change they’ve experienced since last year’s 15-1 finish.

“Our guys are an experienced group,” Tudryn noted. “They know what competition is all about. There is a difference between losing and getting beat.”

A week off for everyone else

Chapel Hill, East and Carrboro were the only area teams in action last week. Cedar Ridge, Orange and Northwood all took Friday off, giving them an extra week to get ready for the start of Big-8 Conference play.

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