Top 10 Moments from Fall Sports: 8. Cedar Ridge football defeats Chapel Hill

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Updated: November 15, 2019

785 days. That’s the amount of time Cedar Ridge varsity football waited for a win.

In fact, the heartache went deeper on several levels. On August 18, 2017, Cedar Ridge defeated Carrboro 21-6, but the game was stopped late in the second quarter. Though there was little doubt the Red Wolves would still defeat the Jaguars that night, you had to go all the way back to November 4, 2016 to find the last time Cedar Ridge won a game that lasted all four quarters.

That win was against Northern Vance, a school that no longer exists.

On October 11, Cedar Ridge was due. In particular, it was a special night for seniors Bradon Thompson, Braxton Mergenthal, Zach Holmes, K.J. Barnes, Brandon Poteat, Jai’Keel Gibbs and Matthew Hinton. It was Homecoming against Chapel Hill.

As tough as Cedar Ridge’s 1-10 season in 2019 ended up being, it wasn’t nearly as painful as the year before.

That’s because, in 2018, the varsity Red Wolves varsity didn’t play at all.

The deceit, staff turnover, player turnover and stress from that decision has been told time and again in this space. It not only hurt Cedar Ridge in football, but none of the other men’s athletic teams at Cedar Ridge made the state playoffs in 2018-19. It’s doubtful that was a coincidence.

Any or all of Cedar Ridge’s seven seniors could have elected to leave in the summer of 2018. No one would have blamed them. Five of their teammates did. But those seniors remained and they started to see the fruit of their courageousness pay off against Chapel Hill.

Cedar Ridge would defeat Chapel Hill 20-19 behind 190 yards and three touchdowns from sophomore running back Isaiah McCambry.

Cedar Ridge spent much of the game playing catch up. Chapel Hill’s Caleb Clegg opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown run. Tyler Roberts extra point bolted the Tigers ahead 7-0.

McCabry scored his first touchdown on a 53-yard run late in the first half.

Chapel Hill opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Jaylen Mitchell scored off a two-yard touchdown run, but the extra point failed.

Barnes returned the opening kickoff of the second half 40 yards. McCambry rumbled up the middle for a four-yard touchdown run to cut Chapel Hill’s lead to 13-12.

Clegg struck pay dirt for the second time midway through the third quarter. With Chapel Hill leading 19-12, McCambry scored his third touchdown with a 36-yard burst up the middle. Cedar Ridge Coach Torrean Hinton didn’t hesitate on the extra point, sending out his offense for a two-point conversion.

Instead of going to McCambry, the Red Wolves ran a trick play. Quarterback Willam Berger faked a handoff to McCambry, instead sending the ball to Barnes, who ran an end-around. He had the entire end of the field to himself and scored untouched into the left corner of the end zone to give Cedar Ridge a 20-19 lead with four minutes remaining.

The Tigers managed to drive into Cedar Ridge territory late, but junior Desi Raspberry broke up a late pass attempt. A desperation field goal attempt came up short for the Tigers and Cedar Ridge finally savored a long-awaited taste of victory on their Homecoming night.

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