In need of a win after a tumultuous two-week stretch, Cedar Ridge had something to celebrate Friday night after defeating Chapel Hill 35-19 in its Big 8 Conference opener.
With its offense taking a long time to get going, the Cedar Ridge defense picked up the slack and the Red Wolves (4-2 1-0)outscored Chapel Hill (2-4, 0-1) 28-6 in the second half en route to their second consecutive win over the Tigers.
The Red Wolves, who were disqualified from the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs earlier this month due to a late-game altercation against Riverside, had lost its past two games before facing Chapel Hill.
Despite his team getting off to a slow start and trailing at halftime against the Tigers, Cedar Ridge coach Scott Loosemore said he hasn’t had a hard time motivating his players or getting them to focus despite the reality of no playoffs.
“They’ve bounced back really well,” Loosemore said. “They’ve kept practicing good and they’re all practicing really hard. So, I’ve been really proud of them.”
With Chapel Hill trailing by just one point and driving deep into Red Wolves territory midway through the third quarter, Cedar Ridge junior safety Adam Chnupa made a game-changing play when he picked off a pass from opposing quarterback Alec Stough and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown.
“I felt really good. I almost vomited, but it was pretty good,” Chnupa said.
THREE TO KNOW
Adam Chnupa, Cedar Ridge: The defensive back’s big play was an emotional blow to a Chapel Hill team that had a chance to regain the lead. Loosemore was highly complimentary of Chnupa’s performance.
“I think we found out what kind of football player he can really be tonight,” Loosemore said. “He had the interception for a touchdown return and then he had a couple of big plays at safety there in the second half.”
Jasiah King, Chapel Hill: With his team on the ropes and trailing by eight, the senior linebacker returned a fumble 80 yards for a touchdown. Following the score the Tigers had a chance to tie the game, but their 2-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Shemar Miles, Cedar Ridge: One of the many versatile athletes utilized by the Red Wolves on offense, Miles led his team in rushing yards with 93 and his 36-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter clinched the win.
BY THE NUMBERS
4: Rushing touchdowns for the Red Wolves.
6: Different players who caught passes for Cedar Ridge.
8: Receptions by Chapel Hill senior wide receiver Ben Kelley.
19: Completions for Stough, who threw for 196 yards and opened up the scoring for Chapel Hill with a two-yard run in the second quarter.
THEY SAID IT
“For the first time, I saw some tears from my players. That meant a lot. That showed that this game tonight meant something to them.” – Chapel Hill coach Issac Marsh.