An old axiom in football is 12 plays decide every game. With that in mind, we here at Hillsboroughsports.com introduce a new feature: the Dire Dozen. We’ll look back at the game of the week for Orange and Cedar Ridge, examine the situations and why they were so pivotal in victory or defeat.
We’ll start with Monday’s victory by Cedar Ridge’s 21-19 over Chapel Hill. It seemed that the Red Wolves were headed down a familiar path to its 50-7 loss to Cardinal Gibbons at halftime. The Tigers led 13-0 at the half, outgaining the Red Wolves 263-88. Yet Cedar Ridge used huge plays from its special teams and the experience of Peyton Pappas and Marquez Hunter, along with strong kicking from Trenton Gill for its first victory over the Tigers since 2011.
Play 1: 1st quarter, Chapel Hill leads 7-0: Issac Armistad recovers a muffed punt returned at the Chapel Hill 48-yard line.
Chapel Hill had roared down the field on its opening possession with quarterback Connor Stough completing a 40-yard pass to Connor Korfas, leading to Stough scoring on a sneak on the next play. After CRHS went 3-and-out, Armistad pounced on a fumble following a 41-yard punt from Gill. Though Cedar Ridge fumbled at the Tigers 4-yard line two plays later, it still flopped field position on a rainy night.
Play 2: 1st quarter, Chapel Hill leads 7-0. London Saunders recovers a fumble at at the Red Wolves 33-yard line.
Get the theme yet? This was a sloppy game, which was only natural given the soggy conditions. The Tigers had already completed a pair of 3rd downs on this drive. Stough and Korfas hooked up for a 18-yard completion to invade Red Wolves territor before Saunders recovered a fumble by Chapel Hill’s Ricki McDowell, who finished with 104 yards on 22 carries. The Tigers led 13-0 at the half after Stough launched a 31-yard touchdown pass to Korfas with 1:07 remaining in the 2nd quarter. That’s when Chapel Hill’s domination ended.
Play 3: 3rd quarter, CHHS leads 13-0. Peyton Pappas converts a 4th-and-7 on Cedar Ridge’s opening drive of the 2nd half.
As mentioned earlier, Chapel Hill outgained Cedar Ridge 263-88 in the first half. In the second half, the Red Wolves outgained the Tigers 181-95. Part of the disparity came from longer Cedar Ridge drives. The opening CRHS series lasted 15 plays. Rule #1 of the Dire Dozen is any drive that goes 15 plays or longer, yet doesn’t score any points in automatically defined “A Griswald Drive.” Kids, if you don’t get that reference, seek out the movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation” from 1984. And please don’t see that horrid remake that came out this summer. While this drive would be defined a Griswald Drive, it helped set the tone for the 2nd half. It wouldn’t have continued without Pappas cutting away from Chapel Hill’s Baxter Sobolewski and netting a first down that ended at the Chapel Hill 8-yard line.
Play 4: 3rd quarter: CHHS leads 13-0. Justin Terrell makes his 1st interception of the season at the Chapel Hill 9-yard line.
Field position dictated the Red Wolves turnaround, and this was a major development for the Tigers. Both sides had chances for interceptions throughout the first half because of the torrential rain, but Terrell’s pick led to…..
Play 5: 3rd quarter: CHHS leads 13-0. Shemar Miles scores on a 4-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 13-7.
Simple blocking up the middle by Dy-Mon Riggsbee and Nate Lewis put Cedar Ridge on the board and started a string of 21 unanswered points.
Play 6: 3rd quarter: CHHS leads 13-7. Pappas hits Marquez Hunter for a 14-yard gain on a 3rd-and-10 from the Cedar Ridge-36 yard line.
If the sloppy play caused by rain in the first half was the theme of the 1st half, the theme of the 2nd half was Marquez Hunter dominating on both sides of the ball. In his first career victory over Chapel Hill, Hunter finished with 8 receptions for 84 yards, along with another huge play later. This 3rd down conversion sustained a 10-play drive and kept the Cedar Ridge defense off the field.
Play 7: Same drive, Pappas runs for 11 yards on a 3rd-and-1 to bring the ball to the Chapel Hill 30-yard line.
Another long drive that ended without points, but another instance where Pappas seemed determined to beat Chapel Hill in his senior year. He would rush for 38 yards in the 2nd half and was never sacked. Chapel Hill led 13-7 going into the 4th quarter, which is when the Red Wolves came up with the biggest plays.
Play 8: 4th quarter, Chapel Hill leads 13-7, Marquez Hunter makes an interception at the Tiger 34-yard line.
Arguably the play of the game. Hunter caught an underthrown ball thrown by Stough and returned it 15 yards, and the Tigers would pay immediately.
Play 9: Pappas throws to Hunter on 2nd-and-8 for a 47-yard touchdown.
Hunter made a living on catch-and-runs during the second half because no one from the Tigers could contain him. While everyone else seemed to have trouble finding their footing in the mud, Hunter streaked down the sideline for a touchdown and the Red Wolves never trailed again.
Play 10: Tyrek Jennings blocks a Jose Escobedo punt and returns it 8 yards for a touchdown.
After Hunter’s touchdown, the Tigers went 3-and-out. If there was an area where the Red Wolves had a clear advantage, it was the kicking game. Trenton Gill was a steady three-way kicker for the Red Wolves, something CHHS lacked. Jennings shuffled past an upback to score easily and give Cedar Ridge a 21-13 lead.
Play 11: 4th quarter. After Chapel Hill gets a touchdown on a quarterback sneak by Stough, Lucas Baldwin breaks up the 2-point conversion pass in an attempt to tie the game.
Baldwin made a break on the ball on a pass intended for Korfas.
Play 12: Cedar Ridge ices the game on a 4-yard run by Dahnte Scott to get a first down and run out the clock.
Scott carried the ball three times on the final drive as Coach Loosemoore wanted the ball in the hands of a steady, sizeable back. It worked.