Chapel Hill’s State 7-on-7 Run Ends With Division II Semifinal Loss To China Spring
COLLEGE STATION -- The Chapel HIll Bulldogs began Championship Friday at the Division II state 7-on-7 tournament with the hope of becoming just the second team from East Texas to bring home a title.
And while that goal fell short with a 47-28 loss to China Spring in the semifinal round at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex, Chapel Hill became the final East Texas team from the Division II championship bracket standing.
It was the furthest any Chapel Hill 7-on-7 squad had advanced at the state tournament.
"It was our first time coming this deep, so it was fun," said Bulldogs senior receiver Reggie King.
Chapel Hill took first place in its pool Thursday, then reeled off three consecutive wins Friday -- Hamshire-Fannett (41-34), Goliad (27-13), and Celina (39-32) -- to reach the final four.
However, Chapel Hill found itself in a 26-0 hole by halftime of its semifinal bout with China Spring. The Bulldogs' four first-half possessions ended on downs twice, and that was followed by an interception in the end zone. The halftime buzzer killed the final drive of the first 20 minutes.
Chapel Hill rebounded offensively in the second half by scoring on all four possessions, but the Bulldogs' defense never could keep China Spring out of the end zone.
"We all fell apart the first half, but in the second half we picked it back up," said Bulldogs senior receiver/defensive back Deundre Phillips, who made big plays on both sides of the ball throughout the day.
China Spring fell to Navasota, 40-39, in the Division II title game.
Despite falling short of championship glory, the Bulldogs believe their experience over the weekend will yield positive dividends for the upcoming 2015 season.
"This last game, we came together a little bit and came back," King said. "Hopefully, during the season we can carry that on, and come back and get us some wins."
Chapel Hill's players will have a little more than weeks before two-a-day camps begin Aug. 3. The Bulldogs return 11 starters from last season's Class 4A Division I area finalist, and will open the season at home Aug. 28 against Lindale.
"We just need a little bit of work defensive-wise, and little bit offensive-wise; we'll be alright," King added.
Bulldogs senior quarterback Konnor Hitchock was on fire, especially with the deep ball early Friday. He recorded four touchdown passes of at least 30 yards in Chapel Hill's Round-of-32 defeat of Hamshire-Fannett -- two apiece to Phillips and senior Kenyotta Henderson.
Chapel Hill pitched a shutout in the second half of its win over Goliad. A 45-yard TD strike from Hitchcock to Phillips gave the Bulldogs a comfortable 20-0 lead midway through the first.
Phillips, once again, came up clutch in the Bulldogs' quarterfinal victory over Celina. Following his 45-yard scoring reception, he picked off the Celina quarterback and returned it for a touchdown on the very next play to give Chapel Hill a 19-7 lead.
Celina ultimately fell behind by three scores on two occasions, and never got any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Chapel Hill was the only East Texas team in the Division II championship bracket to advance beyond the Round of 32.
Crockett dropped a 40-34 decision to Pilot Point, Houston Worthing scored a 39-28 victory over Gilmer, and Carthage fell to Kountze, 34-28.
Diboll, after going 0-3 in pool play Thursday, reached the consolation semifinals. But the Lumberjacks were beaten by eventual consolation champ Giddings, 52-28.
White Oak won its first game in consolation (20-18 over Groesbeck), but was eliminated by Clyde in the next round, while Canton and Pittsburg were each defeated in the consolation Round of 32.
For complete Division II results from Friday, click here.