Mike Holderman, on the job less than a month month as a first-year head coach at East Chapel Hill, remained defiantly optimistic after the Wildcats first game of the high school football season.
"I don't care if it was 100-0. The scoreboard doesn't tell the tale," Holderman said. "All I care about right now is finding guys who want to buy into our program. "
As it was, Friday's 65-0 loss to Northwood was bad enough.
East Chapel Hill, plagued by five fumbles on bad snap exchanges, never got its offense into gear. Northwood (1-0) held the Wildcats (0-1) to minus-22 yards of total offense and just one first down that coming on a personal-foul penalty in the first half.
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After Northwood took a 44-0 lead into halftime, game officials kept the second-half clock running except for penalties, touchdowns and called timeouts.
But "nobody quit," Holderman noted. "Our quarterback (Brater Gerber) got whacked a couple of times and never wavered. The O-line battled all night. There were a lot of positives."
Northwood clearly had more positives.
Northwood senioir Kadarus Rone looked fully recovered from off-season knee surgery as he rushed for 94 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries. Montel Goods rushed for 106 yards and two scores on just five runs. His 44-yard TD run was the longest run of the night.
"It felt really good to be out there on the field again," Rone said. "The team did great tonight. The line did really well."
Northwood scored on every drive until its last possession, when it opted to take a knee to kill the clock. The Chargers finished with 274 yards rushing on 38 carries.
Ti Pinnix completed three of four passes for 38 yards, but the Chargers didn't attempt a pass after their second drive.
Northwood also got scores on runs by Brodie Beasley, reserve quarterback Jacob Fowler and Tyrell Baldwin.
Northwood's Bill Hall, beginning his last year as head coach of the Chargers, said he knew Northwood caught East Chapel Hill in a rebuilding mode. He noted Holderman is East's third head coach in three years.
"I expect next year's game will have a different atmosphere," Hall said.