CHAPEL HILL — With their Wildcats trailing 40-7 to visiting Carrboro on Friday night, East Chapel Hill’s fans were hardly deterred. As the marching band played the school fight song next to a packed out student section, the cheerleaders chanted, "Defense, defense, take that ball away!"
The only problem was, the Wildcats were on offense.
Things weren’t much more organized on the field for East, as it struggled to execute from start to finish in a 53-14 loss to 2-A Carrboro.
"We didn’t play well, I don’t have an explanation," said East Chapel Hill coach Bill Renner. "The way we played tonight was not like our performances the last three weeks. It was out of character."
By contrast, the Jaguars looked sharp almost all night. After losing a fumble to East on the opening kickoff of the game, Carrboro buckled down. The Jags forced punts or turnovers on East’s first five possessions, while ending all six of its own possessions in touchdowns, committing zero turnovers.
"Every game we come in with three goals," said Carrboro coach Jason Tudryn. "One of those goals this week was execution. Executing your techniques and executing your responsibilities. Our guys did a great job of that tonight."
What really broke the game open, though, was Carrboro’s lightning-fast start. Carrboro methodically took its first possession 66 yards on 10 plays for the first score. On the Jaguars’ next play on offense, sophomore running back Trai Sharp burst 30 yards past the Wildcats for a second Jaguar TD. On the next Carrboro possession, Alex McVeigh hit wide-open wideout Marlin Johnson with a 66-yard touchdown pass. With more than five minutes remaining in the first quarter, East found itself in a 21-0 hole.
Carrboro killed east’s best drive of the first quarter by picking off a Wildcat pass at the goal line. The Jaguar offense responded with an 80-yard drive that ended with a 27-yard screen pass to running back Douglas Parrish.
East’s Ben Jones finally found Luke Arlotto in the end zone to make the score 34-7 late in the second quarter. Sharp answered on the next play from scrimmage 70 yards for a score.
Late in the fourth quarter, when Jones hit Jackson Boyer for a 46-yard touchdown and Kieran Sweeney forced a touchback with the ensuing kickoff, the home bleachers were shaking with excitement. On the next play from scrimmage, Carrboro’s Parrish took a handoff from McVeigh 80 yards for a touchdown of his own.
"We know that good teams answer," said Tudryn. "In some games you’re going to get scored on and you can’t sit around and sulk, you have to answer."
Due to the 40-7 score at halftime, the second half was played with a running clock. Renner called the game an anomaly rather than a step back.
"We’re 2-2 after four games," said Renner. "If anyone had said we’d be 2-2 after four games, we’d take it. We’ve played good football, and I’m not discounting what has already happened this season."