While Chapel Hill still has a zero in the win column, the Panthers have made vast improvements since the beginning of the season, despite losing several standout performers in 2014. After such a rough start, Chapel Hill is not focusing on the scoreboard right now, and instead is focusing on small improvements that can lead to a bigger turnaround down the road.
This week, the Panthers look to build to a solid four quarter performance at South Paulding High School. It will be no easy task with the Spartans currently sitting in a tie with Alexander for second place in Region 5-AAAAA. South Paulding is 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the region, trailing only Allatoona, who they lost to in Week 4, 33-13. Last week, the Spartans routed Paulding county, 42-29.
South Paulding has relied on a strong passing game behind quarterback Jake Oglesby, who has completed 118-of-195 passes for 1,643 yards. He has 14 touchdown passes but is prone to interceptions with nine this year. Oglesby’s favorite target is L.J. Pope, who has caught 41 passes for 705 yards and six scores. However, the receiving corps is not a one man show. Anthony Brown has nearly 400 yard receiving and James Story sits at 329. The duo has combined for seven TDs.
Kameron Watts keeps the offense balanced with 443 rushing yards on 75 carries. He has found the end zone three times.
At 27 points per game, the Spartans currently sit fourth in the region in offensive production. They have allowed 23 points per game, also putting them fourth in the region defensively.
The defensive is led by defensive end Taquan Evans and outside linebacker/strong safety Jake Yetter. Yetter leads the team with 31 tackles, including 22 solo, and two interceptions. Evans has 28 tackles, and is first on the team in tackles for a loss at 11. He also leads the Spartans with three sacks.
Chapel Hill (0-6, 0-5) is coming off a 27-7 loss to East Paulding, but the game was much closer than the final score indicated.
The Panthers took a 7-0 lead early in the game when a fumbled punt return gave them the ball on the 50 yard line. On the next play, Tyre Shelton broke off a long run down the left side of the field for a score.
The Chapel Hill faithful thought Shelton had put the Panthers up once again, after East Paulding tied the game at 7. In the opening minute of the second quarter, the running back broke free up the middle for an 83-yard race to the end zone. However, a holding call brought the play back and the Raiders held on to a one score lead heading into the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter and the Panthers still trailed by only seven points with 12 minutes to play. The Chapel Hill defense began to wear down in the fourth quarter, allowing East Paulding to move the ball more effectively. They punched the ball into the end zone twice for the 20 point lead and the win.
Panther coach, Justin DeShon, said he was happy with his team’s performance after the game.
“In the last two weeks our kid shave come farther than I thought possible. We stood toe to toe with a good 5A team [Friday] and came up just short in the fourth quarter. There were many small victories we can build on.”
The Panthers will now turn to South Paulding. The two teams have met twice, with the Spartans winning, 21-10, in 2010, and Chapel Hill winning, 20-14, in 2011. Game time Friday at SPHS is set for 7:30 p.m.