East Chapel Hill’s 30-27 win Friday at Carrboro was a long time coming, but it made up for almost a decade of frustration.
Amier Alston ran for 231 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries Friday to lead the Wildcats (1-1) to their first football victory ever over Carrboro, which first fielded a team in 2007.
Alston ran for TDs on rushes of 12, 21, 22 and 60 yards.
Alston’s 22-yard TD run came on a fourth-and-four-yards-to-go situation with less than 11 minutes remaining in the game. His last score, with 7 minutes, 25 seconds left to play, started when he broke off tackle; he sprinted 60 yards down the right sideline and was dragged down just as he drove for the pylon – giving East a 30-19 lead.
One play after Amier Alston’s 60-yard touchdown run gave East Chapel Hill a two-possession lead, at 30-19 with 7:34 left to play, Carrboro fumbled its own 40. The Wildcats didn’t score on the ensuing possession, but their 8-play drive killed 3:25 off the clock and blunted Carrboro’s momentum.
East took the lead for good in the see-saw game late in the third quarter. Facing a third-down-and-one to go at Carrboro’s 46-yard line, Will Schmidt caught a 46-yard pass over the middle from Brater Gerber for a Wildcat touchdown and an 18-13 lead with 3:07 left in the quarter.
“This team had a lot of heart,” said East Chapel Hill coach Ryan Johnson. “They were resilient, and they really deserved this win.”
The win was the first for East Chapel Hill over any team since 2013, when the Wildcats finished 3-8. They went 0-11 last season and had to forfeit three of the last games in 2014 because of a lack of players.
They said it
East Chapel Hill coach Ryan Johnson: “This is huge for this program. Last year was bumps and bruises, trials and tribulations. This win helps the team to believe than can compete and that they can win ball games.”
On the series after Carrboro took a 13-12 lead on a 30-yard run by Greyson McGee, the Jaguars pinned East Chapel Hill at its own 19 and fielded a punt inside East territory, but a roughing-the-kicker call gave the Wildcats new life. After six straight running plays, facing third-and-one, Brater Gerber launched a 46-yard TD pass to Will Schmidt, and East never trailed again.
Three who mattered
Koby Andrade: On top of Alston’s 231 yards on just 15 carries, Andrade added 149 yards rushing on 27 carries for East Chapel Hill, including some tough yardage to help grind out the clock in the fourth quarter.
Brater Gerber: East Chapel Hill’s sophomore quarterback showed real growth at running East Chapel Hill’s triple-option game. He competed just three passes for 88 yards, but one was his 46-yard scoring strike to Will Schmidt, and, perhaps more importantly, he never turned over the ball.
Greyson McGee: He had a hand in all but 61 yards of Carrboro’s 359 yards of total offense. He rushed 12 times for 155 yards – including touchdowns on runs of 28, 30, 2 and 19 yards – and he caught three passes for another 143 yards.
East Chapel Hill’s Georgia-Techesque triple option developed a running game that proved difficult to stop. No fumbles lost and no interceptions helped tremendously. For Carrboro, the screen pass was an especially effective tool; all of McGee’s 143 receiving yards came off screen thrown by Gordon Guest.
Both teams would like to play better defense, which is difficult for teams with so many men playing offense AND defense.
Carrboro’s Jordan Riggsbee blocked East’s first point-after kick; in all, the Jaguars blocked all three East Chapel Hill PAT kicks and smothered two other PAT runs.
East Chapel Hill (1-1) hosts Cedar Ridge (0-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday. Friday, Carrboro (0-2) plays at Chapel Hill (1-1).