CHAPEL HILL — Frustrated by missed opportunities and bobbled snaps, Chapel Hill turned to two beefy defenders to set up a power-I backfield with Darius Allen at tailback. Allen ended up with touchdowns on runs of 28 and 15 yards to spark Chapel Hill to a 24-17 non-conference victory over visiting Riverside.
Defense came up big Friday for Chapel Hill in the Tigers offensive backfield.
Frustrated by missed opportunities and bobbled snaps, Chapel Hill turned to beefy defenders Brian James and Alex Colson to set up a power-I backfield with Darius Allen at tailback. Allen ended up with touchdowns on runs of 28 and 15 yards to spark Chapel Hill to a 24-17 non-conference victory over visiting Riverside.
Allen's 15-yard TD run with 3:37 left in the game proved to be the winning points, putting Chapel Hill (3-0) up 24-3.
Riverside (0-3) made it a game after Darius Smiley returned Chapel Hill's last kickoff 64 yards for a touchdown with 3:26 left in the game and Marqualess Goldston caught a 32-yard pass from Johnnie Bass to cut the margin to 24-17 with 33.8 seconds left.
Eddie Bugard fell on Riverside's final onside kick and the Tigers ran out the clock.
Chapel Hill quarterback T.J.Johnson passed 17 yards to Alex Duncan for a first-half touchdown and ran in one himself on a one-yard keeper early in the fourth quarter.
With a quarter-ton of James and Colson leading the way, Allen busted up the middle 32 yards for a touchdown that put Chapel Hill up 12-3 with 4:00 minutes left in the third quarter.
Allen rushed for a total of 139 yards on 26 carries.
It was great having them lead the way," Allen said. "They opened huge holes and I just went through them."
On the next series after Allen's first TD, Chapel Hill capped a six-play, 38-yard drive with the same formation for one-yard keeper by Johnson for another touchdown and an 18-3 lead
One play after a 41-yard pass from T.J. Johnson to Grant DeSelm, Duncan sprinted on a fly pattern past two Riverside defenders and hauled in a 17-yard lob from T.J. Johnson for a 6-3 Chapel Hill lead with 55 seconds left in the first half. It was Duncan's third touchdown reception in three games.
Special teams were good to Riverside in the first half. The Pirates pinned Chapel Hill inside its own 10 with a second-quarter punt and forced a CHHS punt that gave Riverside possession at the Tigers' 33. That set a 32-yard field goal by Riverside's Alex Brese for the night's first points.
Riverside's Stephan Jacobs recovered a muffed punt at midfield for another great starting position late in the second quarter, but the Pirates failed to get a first down and Chapel Hill scored four plays later.
The 3A Tigers defeated 4A Riverside for the third straight year. Riverside hasn't won at Chapel Hill since 2005, when the Tigers and Pirates still were conference rivals in the PAC-6 4A.
Chapel Hill was without former starting outside linebacker Tim Duffy, who injured a knee in the previous week's 19-6 win against arch-rival East Chapel Hill.
Chapel Hill completes a four-game homestand to open its season next week with a Friday game against 2A Northwood. Riverside, which has next Friday off, plays at Northwood one week later on Sept. 14.