The bulletin board outside the Orange High School football team’s locker room looks remarkably neater today than it did last week.
Last Friday afternoon, it was covered with newspaper clippings and photos extolling the winning ways of the Triangle’s top-ranked team.
Late Friday night, the Panthers (8-0 overall, 3-0 in the Big-Eight Conference) were still undefeated, and ranked No. 7 in North Carolina’s 3A classification by members of the Associated Press, but the clippings were gone.
Shortly after Friday’s 6-0 win at Chapel Hill (3-5, 2-2), Orange Coach Pat Moser suggested to his players he was a little tired of seeing all the opinions of how great his program was.
“By the time the coaches made it back from the bus to the locker room, the players had already gotten it all down,” Moser said.
Moser said he didn’t want to take anything away from Chapel Hill’s team, especially the defense that pushed back and pulled down his offensive players all night long in Culton-Peerman Stadium.
“Chapel Hill’s defensive line was probably the best we’ve faced this year,” Moser said. “And that middle linebacker (Brandon Nickerson) was all over the field. He played like Dick Butkus.”
Led by Logan Tisch, Chapel Hill’s defensive line spent a huge amount of time Friday night in the Orange backfield, repeatedly chasing quarterback Garrett Cloer out of the pocket.
Orange’s defense was excellent, too, and held Chapel Hill to 59 yards rushing and 113 yards passing on Grant Deselm’s 10-of-26 throwing, which was picked off three times.
Orange’s Tay Jones (8-51), Patrick Pettiford (11-33) and Michael Bolden (4-24) combined for 108 yards, their lowest output of the season.
“We’re lucky that we got a good lesson and still got the win,” Moser said. “A lot of teams have to lose a game before they learn their lesson. We won.”
Wildcat injuries take their toll
East Chapel Hill’s miseries continued unabated last Friday in a 42-6 loss against Northern Durham. If anything, they may have worsened as a few more key Wildcats went down with injuries on the artificial turf in Durham County Memorial Stadium.
East sophomore quarterback Connor Stough was put out of the game on the Wildcats’ second possession, having completed all three of his pass attempts and the score still at 0-0. He spent the rest of the PAC-6 contest with his lower leg covered in ice, propped up on the bench.
Ian Levin, East’s most experienced backup quarterback who’s used more as a starting linebacker, also went down, as Northern rolled to a 21-0 halftime lead.
Freshman Sean Moore was inserted into the lineup and did well, completing 4-of-8 passes for 56 yards, including a TD pass of 5 yards to Ty Woodard.
But Moore was dragged down for 19 yards in losses, indicative of East’s problems maintaining a cohesive front.
Sophomore lineman Carson Clymore-Green saw his first action of the season in East’s loss to Northern. And three freshmen played as well: John Johnson at outside linebacker, Kelsey Acome at defensive back/linebacker and Mujahid Turner along the line.
“We’re hoping to build some experience and just to get better overall,” East coach Jon Sherman said.
Northwood and Southern Durham combined for 997 yards of total offense and 110 points last Friday as the Spartans pulled off a 56-54 victory in their Big-Eight contest.
Despite the gaudy numbers, Southern’s defense was just good enough to preserve the win.
Charger quarterback Ti Pinnix completed 22 of 35 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns, but was picked off two times. He also was taken down for 43 yards in losses, giving him a net total of just 6 yards rushing.
Southern wideout Maurice Trowell, and N.C. State recruit, outdid that with his 199 yards and two touchdowns on just seven catches, while teammate Derrick Mason caught eight passes for 170 yards and three TDs.
They made quarterback Kendall Hinton look golden with his 16-of-31 passing for 369 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Cummings gets revenge
Playing at Burlington last Friday, Carrboro uncharacteristically let a big lead disappear as Cummings scored the 2A Mid-State game’s final 34 points in a 37-20 loss.
Marvin Johnson, playing for the first time in more than two weeks, ran for two touchdowns and quarterback Rowe Mellott ran in one himself from 13 yards out – all in the second quarter as Carrboro (4-4, 1-1 conference) grabbed a 17-point lead.
But Cummings (3-5, 1-1), looking to avenge a 68-31 playoff loss last year at Carrboro, bounced back with a 38-yard run by Vernon Williams and a 42-yard TD pass from Tevin Smith to Ryan Boswell, tying the game at 20 before halftime.
Quae Pinnix put Cummings up for good with a 73-yard breakaway run for a touchdown with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
Red Wolves end streak
In Hillsborough, QB Payton Pappas completed 10 of 15 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns to give Cedar Ridge (1-7, 1-3 conference) something to cheer about for homecoming – a 24-17 win against Oxford Webb. That Big-Eight win broke the Red Wolves’ nine-game losing streak, which had been one of the longest in the state, dating back to last year.
Webb fell to (2-5, 0-4) with a game coming up this week against undefeated Orange.