CHAPEL HILL — Durham Riverside’s defense allowed East Chapel Hill only 39 rushing yards in the first half and 118 in the game in a 42-10 blowout win Friday night.
The victory is Riverside’s fourth straight and sets up next Friday’s showdown with defending conference champion Durham Hillside.
“It’s undoubtedly our biggest game of the season, and they deserve all the credit for what they’ve done,” Riverside coach David Hackney said. “I told them to celebrate tonight and Saturday night and then Sunday it’s back to business.”
The Pirates defense intercepted quarterback Connor Stough and recovered a fumble.
But East Chapel Hill coach John Sherman is just glad to have a team on the field. The Wildcats have lost 22 players to injury.
Wildcats senior running back Ty Woodard was carried off the field with 6:29 left in the first half, but returned in the second half to give his team a spark.
“It meant a lot to have him return. He did all he could,” Sherman said. “But we want to compete and we expect to, but it’s tough right now.”
The Wildcats scored their only points of the first half — a 30-yard field goal from Ellis Llewellyn — on their first possession of the game. Quarterback Connor Stough led the team 62 yards before the drive stalled on the Pirates 8. A penalty pushed East Chapel Hill back five yards, setting up the kick.
But Riverside needed just one play to take a lead it would not relinquish. Running back Jonathan Rhew took the pitchout from the 20 and rumbled 80 yards for the score.
The Pirates increased their lead 14-3 on Strothers 1-yard plunge with 9:31 left and ended the first-half scoring with Joel Evans’ 20-yard dodge and scamper up the middle for 21-3.
Evans scored his second touchdown at the start of the third quarter to make it 28-3 before East Chapel Hill scored its last points of the game when Stough found Woodard for a 67-yard touchdown with 9:05 left in the third.
Again, the Pirates struck back. Senior defensive back Cameron Roane skyrocketed 57 yards down the right sideline to put his team up 35-10. On Riverside’s next possession, wide receiver Deon Yarborough scored on a 60-yard punt return for the game’s final score.