Winning one of the few “upsets” in last week’s first round of the N.C. High School Athletics Association football playoffs should help Chapel Hill when it returns to the road this Friday.
Forced to travel because it finished fourth in the Big Eight Conference, Chapel Hill (10-3) was the only East 3AA team to win away from home last Friday when it blew past No. 5 seeded West Brunswick (4-9) in Shallotte by a 42-14 score.
“We were very pleased with how our guys came out and executed the game plan,” Chapel Hill head coach Issac Marsh said. “Our coaches had them very well prepared for everything West Brunswick was going to do. Overall, we were thrilled with our kids’ performance.”
The Tigers, seeded No. 12 in the East 3AA, now face a much tougher task in traveling to Fayetteville to take on No. 4 seed Terry Sanford (9-3). Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
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“If we’re going to be successful, it’ll have to be on the road,” Marsh said. “Winning in the first round was key to showing our guys we can win on the road.”
The last time Chapel Hill visited Fayetteville, the Tigers upset Douglas Byrd, 23-20 in overtime in a first-round playoff game in 2012, avenging a 2011 loss to Byrd in Paroli Stadium.
Fayetteville Terry Sanford ran undefeated (6-0) this year through the Cape Fear Valley Conference, with the league’s best scoring offense (39.3 ppg) and scoring defense (8.2 ppg).
“Terry Sanford is big up front, very talented and very athletic,” Marsh said. “We know it’s a tough matchup.”
The Tigers can expect two things for sure: (1) Paris Black – a 6-4, 235 defensive end committed to Wake Forest -- will be hard to handle, and (2) the public address system will play “Who Let The Dogs Out” at least 10 times. The Bulldogs just about wore out a recording of that song in celebrating a 45-6 playoff win last week against 13th-seeded Eastern Guilford.
Chapel Hill is one of three big Eight teams still left in the NCHSAA’s round of 16.
No. 10-seeded Northwood (9-3), third-place finisher in the Big Eight, lost 56-26 at No. 7 Northern Guilford (11-1), and No. 16 seed Cardinal Gibbons (6-6) lost an internecine Big Eight battle 25-6 at No. 1 Southern Durham (12-0), which advances to host under-seeded, No. 8 Cleveland (10-2).
No. 6 Orange (12-1), runner-up to Southern this fall in the Big Eight Conference, has to travel to play Friday at No. 3 Wendell Corinth Holders (10-3), champion of the Two Rivers Conference.
Corinth Holders running back Howard Watson amassed over 1,400 yards rushing during the regular season, and he got 130 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in last Friday’s 29-13 win against Cameron Union Pines.
Pirates quarterback Cole Sakowski threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns in the first half even though the Pirates failed in some early opportunities.
Sakowski ended up with a total of 283 yards on 13-of-28 passing.