[By Colby Fleet, Special to ETSN.fm]

NEW CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill Bulldogs ran the football, and ran it well.

Eight different ball carriers accounted for 531 yards, pushing Chapel Hill past Palestine 62-27 in front of a wet homecoming crowd at Bulldog Stadium.

Chapel Hill quarterback Andrew Black rushed 13 times for 161 yards and five touchdowns. Teammates Wesley Thompson and Joseph Clark, a Texas Tech commit, combined for 156 yards and three touchdowns.

Chapel Hill's Gabriel Robinson (7) returns an interception during the Bulldogs' win over Palestine on Friday night in New Chapel Hill. (Vanessa Curry, ETSN.fm)

It was all Chapel Hill (2-2) early, as the Bulldogs scored on their first three possessions on runs of 2, 9 and 21 yards from Black, which gave Chapel Hill a 21-0 lead.

Chapel Hill’s defense frustrated Palestine quarterback Fabian "Gee" Clark and running back Ben Luckett all night long. Clark completed 12 of 21 passes for 98 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Luckett managed to break the century mark, rushing 19 times for 108 yards and one touchdown.

Palestine got back in the game on a 35-yard interception return by Marquis Hernandez, who he stepped in front of a Black pass and weaved his way to the sideline and outran the Bulldogs to paydirt, which cut the lead 21-14 with 3:46 remaining before halftime. But on the ensuing possession, Thompson broke through the right side of the defense en route to a 40-yard touchdown run.

Palestine (3-1) lost all hope for a comeback after mishandling a punt from its own 31-yard line and turned the ball over on downs with 1:43 left until intermission. Black took the second snap from center and walked in from 11 yards out to push the Chapel Hill lead 34-14.

Chapel Hill used its ground attack to wear down Palestine’s defense and dominated for the rest of the game.

Palestine caught a break on the half’s opening kickoff, recovered a Bulldogs fumble at the 29-yard line. Clark floated a jump ball to Jarrell Owens and he hauled in at the 6-yard line, which set up Luckett’s 3-yard touchdown two plays later, cutting the lead 34-20.

The second half belonged to the Bulldogs, and the running backs. Black, Thompson, and Joseph Clark scored on the Bulldogs’ next three possessions on runs of 39, 17, and 28 yards, respectively.

Chapel Hill will travel to Henderson next week in the District 16-3A opener, while Palestine visits Athens.


Chapel Hill 62, Palestine 27

Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill

Palestine               0   14    6     7    --  27
Chapel Hill           14   20   14   14   --  62
First Quarter
CH--Andrew Black 2 run (Bonilla kick), 5:45.
CH--Black 9 run (Bonilla kick), 1:01.
Second Quarter
CH- Black 21 run (Bonilla kick), 10:10.
PAL--Ben Luckett 2 run (Gierkey kick), 7:52.
PAL--Marquis Hernandez 35 interception return (Gierkey kick), 3:46.
CH--Wesley Thompson 40 run (Bonilla kick), 2:44.
CH- Black 11 yard run (kick failed), 1:11.
Third Quarter
PAL--Luckett 3 run (kick failed), 11:03.
CH--Black 39 run (Bonilla kick), 9:37.
CH--Thompson 17 run (Bonilla kick), 1:15.
Fourth Quarter
CH--Joseph Clark 28 run (Bonilla kick), 11:51.
CH--Jesse Mumphrey 9 run (Bonilla kick), 5:00.
PAL--Devin Lomax 12 pass from Fabian "Gee" Clark (Gierkey kick), 2:25.

                                   PAL             CH
First Downs                     15              28
Total Yards                    251             662
Rushes-Yards            36-153        53-531
Passing-Yards                  98             131
Comp.-Att.-Int.         12-21-2         9-16-2
Punts-Avg.                 4-31.8         1-43.0
Fumbles-Lost                   2-2             6-1
Penalties-Yards               3-40       15-112

RUSHING--Palestine, Ben Luckett 19-108, Fabian "Gee" Clark 8-(-14), Isaiah Mitchell 4-45, Jarrell Owens 3-15, Marcus Robinson 2-(-1). Chapel Hill, Andrew Black 13-161, Jesse Mumphrey 12-79, Joseph Clark 11-65, Wesley Thompson 7-91, Malik Walker 5-81, Ja’Braylon Franklin 3-51, Kenyotta Henderson 1-7, Samuel Williams 1-(-4).
PASSING--Palestine, Fabian "Gee" Clark, 12-21-2--98. Chapel Hill, Black 9-16-2--131.
RECEIVING--Palestine, Marquis Clark, 3-1, Sheldon Watson 2-24, Devin Lomax 2-19, Marquis Hernandez 2-7, Jarrell Owens 1-23, Anthony Baker 1-16, Kendall Gomez 1-8. Chapel Hill, Lex Heckel 3-48, Reggie King 3-30, Gabriel Robinson 2-47, Blake Mayfield, 1-6.

Chapel Hill receiver Lex Heckel gains yardage after a catch against Palestine during their game Friday night in New Chapel Hill. (Vanessa Curry, ETSN.fm)