Chapel Hill proves problem guest in 45-21 win over Riverside
Chapel Hill High School coach Issac Marsh believes he has two capable quarterbacks to run the no-huddle offense this season.
In the season’s first game on Friday night, though, Connor Stough showed why he’s the starter coming out of preseason practices.
Stough threw for 173 yards and a touchdown, adding a key run on third down which led to an important score before halftime, as visiting Chapel Hill ran over Riverside 45-21.
A junior transfer who started at East Chapel Hill last fall, Stough earned the starting job over senior Jacob Guskiewicz and did little to relinquish it against Riverside.
“We have two quarterbacks now,” Marsh said. “Connor is a bit above Jacob. But I feel we have two good quarterbacks in our system who can lead us on any given night. Connor did do a good job tonight with extending the play.”
That play that Marsh was referring to came on Chapel Hill’s final offensive possession of the first half. With the Tigers leading 17-7, they faced fourth down and nine from the Pirates 30.
Stough dropped back to pass but stepped up to avoid the rush and scrambled for a nine-yard gain to earn the first down.
With 44.6 seconds left, Lonnie Baldwin ran for a 1-yard touchdown that pushed Chapel Hill’s lead to 24-7.
Riverside launched a desperate attempt to respond before halftime. But Dianté Strothers’ pass deep into Tiger territory was intercepted by Andrew Gillespie, who returned it 85 yards for a touchdown that gave Chapel Hill a commanding 31-7 halftime lead.
Baldwin scored the only touchdown of the third quarter on a 3-yard run. Stough set up the score by completing three passes on the drive, netting 42 yards.
A 35-yard pass from Stough to Gillespie highlighted a Chapel Hill drive in the fourth quarter that ended with Ricki McDowell scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run. That gave the Tigers a 45-7 lead.
“We played really well together,” Stough said. “All summer we had really hard work. The line was there for me. I know I can count on them and stand behind them safely. The receivers made some great catches for me.”
Stough and the Tigers offense was solid from the beginning as they took the opening kickoff and scored to take the lead for good. Stough completed three of his four passes on the drive, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to Arkavius Parks.
After the Pirates went three and out and Chapel Hill took over in Pirates territory thanks to a shanked punt, Stough fired a 15-yard pass to Gillespie to the Riverside 24. The drive stalled but Connor Albrecht booted a 41-yard field goal for a 10-0 Chapel Hill lead.
“I thought offensively we came out with some energy,” Marsh said. “ Riverside struck back on its next possession as Strothers threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Deon Yarborough.
Stough and the Tigers embarked on an 80-yard touchdown drive early in the second quarter. Chapel Hill faced third-and-13 when Stough completed a 12-yard pass to Brandon Wendel to the Riverside 11. On fourth-and-1, Wendel took the handoff, broke through the line and scored on an 11-yard run to put the Tigers up 17-7.
That set the stage for the final minutes of the half when Chapel Hill turned the game into a rout.
CHAPEL HILL 45, RIVERSIDE 21
Chapel Hill 10 21 7 7 — 45
Riverside 7 0 0 14 — 21
CH — Arkavius Parks 35 pass from Connor Stough (Connor Albrecht kick), 10:18
CH — Albrecht 41 FG, 6:35
R — Deon Yarborough 38 pass from Dianté Strothers (Jose Enamorado kick), 4:43
CH — Brandon Wendel 11 run (Albrecht kick), 7:17
CH — Lonnie Baldwin 1 run (Albrecht kick), :44.6
CH — Andrew Gillespie 85 interception return (Albrecht kick), :05.6
CH — Lonnie Baldwin 3 run (Albrecht kick), 7:29
CH — Ricki McDowell 3 run (Albrecht kick), 11:31
R — Tyrek Davis 14 run (Enamorado kick), 4:37
R — Trayveion Jackson recovered fumble in end zone (Enamorado kick), 1:01
RUSHING — Lonnie Baldwin 13-39, Ricki McDowell 12-51, Brandon Wendel 1-11, Jeff McNeil 6-13, Connor Stough 5-11. Riverside, Jaquon Sowell 9-3, Dianté Strothers 10-74, Tyrek Davis 4-78, Daryl Nickerson 2-13.
PASSING — Chapel Hill, Connor Stough 10-19-0 173, Jacob Guskiewicz 1-1-0 10. Riverside, Dianté Strothers 11-17-1 136.
RECEIVING — Chapel Hill, Wendel 5-43, Andrew Gillespie 3-69, Arkavius Parks 2-61, Sam Bauers 1-10. Riverside, Deon Yarborough 3-60, Troy Hill 4-30, Davis 1-3, Nickerson 2-13, Pierre Jenkins 1-30, Juwan Parker 1-0.
Records — Chapel Hill 1-0, Riverside 0-1