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Chapel Hill Faces Ex-Coach Phil Castles When Bulldogs Travel to Henderson in 16-3A Opener

Henderson coach Phil Castles talks to players during an Aug. 5 practice. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)
District 16-3A Opener

Chapel Hill Bulldogs (2-2)

vs.

Henderson Lions (1-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday

Lion Stadium, Henderson

 

Coaches
  • Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton
  • Henderson: Phil Castles

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Chapel Hill: vs. Gilmer
  • Henderson: idle

 

Playmakers

Chapel Hill

  • RB/LB Joseph Clark, Sr., 5-9, 180 (committed to Texas Tech; 38 carries, 319 yards, 4 TDs; 4 catches, 38 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB/LB Wesley Thompson, Sr., 6-1, 185 (38 carries, 387 yards, 4 TDs)
  • QB Andrew Black, Sr., 6-1, 180 (58 of 110, 583 yards, 4 TDs, 9 INTs; 39 carries, 295 yards, 8 TDs)
  • WR/DB Gabriel Robinson, Sr., 5-8, 160 (12 catches, 142 yards)
  • WR Lex Heckel, Sr. (11 catches, 139 yards, 1 TD)
  • OL/DL Keith Minor, Sr., 6-3, 237
  • HB Reggie King, Soph., 5-10, 175 (15 catches, 104 yards, 1 TD)
  • OL/DL Shaq Warren, Sr., 6-3, 235

 

Henderson

  • QB Zane Boles, Jr., 6-5, 200
  • WR/DB Tre’ Hollins, Sr., 5-11, 175
  • TE Jordan Dickeson, Sr., 6-0, 175
  • RB/DB Randy Davis, Jr., 6-0, 175
  • LB Dalton Goode, Jr., 5-11, 190
  • DL Ta’Ondrick Thurkill, Sr., 6-1, 220
  • DL Brandon Armstrong, Sr., 5-9, 160
  • RB Zedrick Lester, Sr., 5-9, 170

 

Just the facts
  • Chapel Hill and Henderson have met 30 times in a series dating back to 1970, including the 2010 Class 3A Division I state championship game. Henderson leads the all-time series 25-4-1.
  • The Bulldogs are averaging 43.5 points and 518.5 yards per game.
  • Chapel Hill has run 279 plays from scrimmage — 169 rushing, 110 passing — and are averaging 7.4 yards per snap.
  • Under head coach Thomas Sitton, Chapel Hill is sporting a district record of 12-7. The Bulldogs were 8-0 in league play from 2010-11.
  • Henderson, at 1-3, is off to its worst four-game start since 2008′s team began the year 0-7.
  • The Lions’ 33-10 record from 2010-12 was the best three-year stretch in school history.
  • Henderson is averaging 24.5 points per game on offense, while its defense is allowing 33.8.
  • The Lions have lost two district games in each of the last three seasons — three times to Gilmer, twice to Carthage and once to Kilgore.
  • Friday’s meeting will be the first time Chapel Hill has faced former coach Phil Castles, who led the Bulldogs to a 24-20 record from 2005-08.

 

Chapel Hill RB/LB Joseph Clark. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Chapel Hill running game vs. Henderson defensive front. Few teams in East Texas have had as much success on the ground as Chapel Hill so far in 2013. The Bulldogs, which have eclipsed the 500-yard rushing mark twice in four games, is averaging 373 yards per game on the ground. Not surprisingly, in the Bulldogs’ two wins they put up a combined 1,067 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. However, in its two losses, Chapel Hill has totaled 425 yards and five touchdowns. Turnovers in the passing game have hurt the Bulldogs this season. Chapel Hill passers have thrown 10 interceptions on the season — seven in its two losses and three in the victories.

Chapel Hill RB/LB Wesley Thompson. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

The Bulldogs have four ball carriers with at least 239 yards — Wesley Thompson, Joseph Clark, Andrew Black and Jesse Mumphrey. In all, 10 different Bulldogs have attempted a rush. The Bulldogs rely on an uptempo, spread look on offense. The uptempo nature generally wears down opposing defenses, while operating out of the spread creates more room to maneuver.

Henderson must do all it can to prevent Chapel Hill from gaining steam with its running game. That may mean taking chances by sending extra defenders to collapse on the backfield. As evidenced by their two wins, the Bulldogs are at their best when they’re having success on the ground. It’s up to a young defensive front, led by defensive linemen Ta’Ondrick Thurkill and Brandon Armstrong and linebacker Dalton Goode to keep the Bulldogs’ running game in check. Carthage had great success in limiting Chapel Hill’s rushing effectiveness, which ultimately led to the Bulldogs committing four turnovers in the passing game.

Henderson DT Brandon Armstrong. (© Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Don’t be surprised if: Henderson gives Chapel Hill a fight. Judging by the numbers, Friday’s game might seem like a mismatch in favor of Chapel Hill, but the Lions did themselves a favor by collecting a win over Jacksonville last week that might give Henderson a boost in its district opener. It will all come down to Chapel Hill’s rushing attack against the Lions’ defensive front. If Chapel Hill can go for at least 300 yards on the ground and can play turnover-free football, the Bulldogs should be able to come away with a key league win on the road. Henderson needs to prevent Chapel Hill’s backs from getting into a rhythm and force a few mistakes in order to give itself a better chance.

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