Carrboro takes first win at Chapel Hill
“It’s not a game; it’s a war,” a Chapel Hill football player screamed in pregame warmups Friday, exhorting his teammates to defend their home turf against favored rival Carrboro.
The unidentified player’s words were prophetic. And when it was all over, Carrboro (3-0) escaped with an historic 29-28 victory.
The outcome came down to a lot of things, but the dagger for Chapel Hill (0-3) was a botched snap on a potential game-tying extra point try with 1:27 left in the game.
Holder Austin Turner managed to corral the snap after a momentary bobble, but it was too late to allow kicker Connor Albrecht to take a swipe at it. Instead, Turner’s pass bounced harmlessly at the goal line and Carrboro’s 29-28 lead was safe.
Or was it?
On the ensuing onside kick, the ball bounced off the chest of Carrboro’s Samuel Blobe and back towards Chapel Hill’s coverage team. Sean Dawson came up with it to give the Tigers another chance at victory.
But three incomplete passes, a 13-yard scramble by quarterback Grant DeSelm and a holding penalty later, Carrboro had held on downs and then ran out the clock from the Chapel Hill 46.
Carrboro, the 2012 state 2-AA runner-up, wasn’t in much of a mood to celebrate despite the 7-year-old program’s first win on 3-A rival Chapel Hill’s home field.
“I’m proud of the guys; they got out of here with a win,” Carrboro coach Jason Tudryn said. “But we had four turnovers. ... I told the guys afterwards that we’ve got to learn to live in the moment. They’ve got to learn to relax and focus in. Sometimes you need to chill.”
Tudryn counted a lost onside kick as a turnover. Technically, the Jags only had three.
“It’s a turnover to us,” Tudryn said.
The Jaguars had dominated much of the game but made key second-half errors that allowed Chapel Hill to hang around and have a chance to win at the end.
A couple of the errors — a muffed punt by Marlin Johnson deep in Carrboro territory in the fourth quarter and an onside kick with 3:16 to play that squirted through Carrboro’s two-line “hands” team — were recovered by Johnson to keep Chapel Hill at bay.
Another error, a block in the back by Johnson on an apparent 67-yard scoring run by Trai Sharp with 2:22 left, erased what would have clinched the outcome.
“I’d like to see that one again,” Tudryn said. “That’s something that doesn’t always get called.”
Sharp, who ran for 208 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, had to leave the game after the long run, and backup Rowe Mellott fumbled on the next play to set up the Tigers at the Carrboro 31.
Five plays later, DeSelm scrambled 8 yards for the touchdown that could have tied the game — before the PAT was botched.
For a half, the game didn’t appear to be much of a contest.
In the first half, Sharp rushed for almost as much yardage as the rest of both teams combined. Sharp had 121 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries in the first 24 minutes. Everyone else on the field combined for 127 yards and no scores.
Chapel Hill coach Issac Marsh was excited at the progress his team has made, despite its second tough home loss of the year (Riverside beat the Tigers in overtime in their opener).
“We’re young,” Marsh said. “We’ve only got two guys playing on defense that started last year, but our guys are getting better. On and off the field, they’re doing it the right way.
“We didn’t quit. In the second half, we played better than we have all year.”
Carrboro 29, Chapel Hill 28
C—Trai Sharp 36 run (Simon Schlehuber kick), 3:10
C—Sharp 3 run (Samuel Blobe, pass from Rowe Mellott), 9:33
CH—Noah Layden 50 pass from Grant DeSelm (Connor Albrecht kick), 10:37
C—Marlin Johnson 86 pass from Jonah Mendys (Schlehuber kick), 7:49
CH—Layden 24 pass from DeSelm (Albrecht kick), 0:8.3
C—Rowe Mellott 10 run (Schlehuber kick), 6:32
CH—Brandon Wendel 6 pass from DeSelm (Emmett Thorpe pass from DeSelm), 3:16
CH—DeSelm 8 run (Pass failed), 1:27
PASSING—Carrboro, Jonah Mendys 10-17-1-162, Rowe Mellott 1-1-0-3. Chapel Hill, Grant DeSelm 22-41-1-245.
RUSHING—Carrboro, Trai Sharp 29-208, Mendys 1-(minus-7), Marlin Johnson 1-(minus-1), Mellott 3-23. Chapel Hill, Jeremy Peck 13-40, DeSelm 10-57, Lonnie Baldwin 1-1, Brandon Wendel 2-4, Ricky McDowell 2-7.
RECEIVING—Carrboro, Marlin Johnson 6-146, Sharp 1-4, Kenndrick Edwards 3-12, Samuel Blobe 1-3. Chapel Hill, Noah Layden 3-100, Aaron Hirsch 7-84, Austin Turner 5-18, Emmett Thorpe 1-3, Harrison Young 4-9.
Records—Carrboro 3-0, Chapel Hill 0-3.