DURHAM — Southern Durham shook off a sluggish start Friday to defeat Chapel Hill 40-6 in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 3AA playoffs. The win is the Spartans’ ninth straight since their 53-31 loss to 4A Scotland on Sept. 13.
Southern Durham defeated the Tigers earlier in the season 59-20, which worried Spartans coach Adrian Jones.
“We talked all week about not taking them lightly because we played them earlier in the season,” he said. “That’s why we came out sluggish, but we can’t make the same mistakes next week against Cardinal Gibbons, who we also played during the season.”
The Tigers (4-8) got on the scoreboard first by taking advantage of a Southern Durham fumble on its first possession. Quarterback Grant Deselm led the team on an eight-play, 53-yard drive for a 6-0 lead after fullback Brandon Wendel bulled in from the 4-yard line.
But the Spartans’ defense came alive, intercepting Deselm twice – both in the red zone – and recovering a fumble and returning it 96 yards for a score.
“(The defense) showed up tonight,” Jones said. “We need that in the playoffs if we are going to go deep.”
The Spartans (10-2) tied it on Kameron Johnson’s 1-yard plunge to cap an 84-yard drive. But a missed extra point attempt kept it tied at 6.
Southern Durham went ahead for good on its next possession which culminated in quarterback Kendall Hinton’s 67-yard scamper. The senior amassed 352 yards of total offense – 181 passing, 171 rushing – and two touchdowns.
“I’m proud of how our team played tonight,” Chapel Hill coach Isaac Marsh said. “The players came to play. We just had too many missed opportunities.”
Hinton threw his first touchdown pass, a 16-yard strike to Jordan Brown, to put Southern Durham up 26-6 with 8:34 left in the third.
Running back James Taylor added another score with a 1-yard run, before Marvin Tillman closed it out with the fumble return.