After losing their star running back, Jamarcus Morrissette, to an injury over the summer, Chapel Hill knew the 2014 season was going to be a rough one, especially with the jump up in classification from 3A to 5A. However, what the Panthers did not expect, was the plague of injuries and other player losses, including the transfer of Syracuse commit, Tyler Cross, all of which have played a factor in the team’s winless season so far.
Chapel Hill is young, and to say they are really does not define just how young the team is. Primary staters on both sides of the ball are mostly freshmen and sophomores.
With all the young starters, it is not surprising that Chapel Hill is currently 0-8 overall and 0-7 in the region as they head into this week’s Region 5-AAAAA game against Paulding County. it is also not surprising that the team sits dead last in offensive production, averaging five points per game, and is last in defense, allowing 37 points per game.
However, all the youth does mean one thing, Chapel Hill could have a very promising future ahead, led by duel threat quarterback, Tajai Owens. The team has already shown improvements on both ends of the field.
Last week against New Manchester, who is currently ranked fourth in the region, Chapel Hill hung with the Jaguars for nearly two and a half quarters of play. The Panthers came out and stuffed the ball up the middle, over and over, managing a long first quarter drive that took off nearly nine minutes. Unfortunately, the drive stalled inside the redzone, but Chapel Hill came away with a field goal, a 24-yard kick by Markel Clontz.
Down 14-3 at the half, New Manchester came out and scored on a kickoff return to start the third quarter. Chapel Hill answered when Quincy Shelton returned a Jaguar’s kick for a touchdown. The score doubled the average output per game for the Panthers this year.
Chapel Hill never moved the ball as well for the rest of the game, though they did manage to have their moments. The defense, despite being so young, has played well most. Most points have been scored on Chapel Hill in the second half, as the guys began to wear down.
CHHS has showed a little improvement in each game this season, and the future is bright with Morrissette able to return in 2015 as a senior. However, first the Panthers have to finish the 2014 year and next up is another team that has struggled at times, but not quite to the same extent.
Paulding sits eighth out of 10 teams in the region with a 2-5 record. They are 3-5 overall. The Patriots have played well offensively, averaging 24 points per game, but have struggled on defense, allowing 28. Paulding is coming off three straight losses, all to top four teams in Allatoona New Manchester and South Paulding. They have beaten the fifth place team, East Paulding, and Villa Rica in the region.
The Patriots moved to a two quarterback system over the past two weeks, switching off between Bailey Johnson and Marquis Tre’von Lewis. Lewis saw his number of snaps quadruple against New Manchester and Allatoona. In the two games he completed 21-of-34 passes for 228 yards and one TD. He also rushed 37 times for 200 yards and four TD’s. Johnson has completed 17-of-31 passes for 331 yards and a TD. Antonio Gandy-Golden has been the primary receiver. He has caught 44 passes for 749 yards this year.
The last time Chapel Hill and Paulding met was 2011, with the Panthers winning, 17-14. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Paulding.