Sole Possession Of First Place In District 9-4A D-I On The Line When Chapel Hill Meets Henderson
DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I
Chapel Hill Bulldogs (5-3, 3-0)
Henderson Lions (7-1, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Lion Stadium, Henderson
- Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton
- Henderson: Phil Castles
- Chapel Hill: def. Kilgore, 38-21
- Henderson: def. Palestine, 51-10
- Chapel Hill: vs. Carthage, Nov. 7
- Henderson: at Kilgore, Nov. 7
- FB/LB Reggie King, Jr., 5-11, 205 (38 carries, 257 yards, 13 TDs; 18 catches, 233 yards, 2 TDs)
- OL/DL Jeremy West, Jr., 6-3, 280
- RB/LB Delenis Garrett, Sr., 5-9, 200 (33 carries, 146 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR/LB Deundre Phillips, Jr., 5-8, 180 (17 catches, 308 yards, 4 TDs; 24 carries, 46 yards, TD)
- RB/DB Ja'Braylon Franklin, Jr. (61 carries, 673 yards, 3 TDs; 5 catches, 51 yards)
- WR Jeffery Minor, Sr., 6-0, 170 (17 catches, 237 yards, 3 TDs; 6 carries, 62 yards)
- RB Michael Bledsoe, Sr., 5-7, 165 (68 carries, 550 yards, 2 TDs)
- QB Konnor Hitchcock, Jr., 5-8, 180 (86 of 144, 1,247 yards, 12 TDs, 5 INTs; 33 carries, 94 yards, TD)
- QB Zane Boles, Sr., 6-5, 205 (59 of 115, 956 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs; 69 carries, 507 yards, 8 TDs)
- RB Randy Davis, Sr., 6-0, 185 (112 carries, 801 yards, 12 TDs; 8 catches, 90 yards)
- RB La'Kendrick Vanzandt, Soph., 6-1, 185 (34 carries, 385 yards, 7 TDs; 9 catches, 164 yards)
- WR Trestan Ebner, Soph., 5-11, 175 (19 catches, 433 yards, 4 TDs; 11 carries, 54 yards, TD)
- WR Jefferson Armstrong, Sr. (13 catches, 261 yards, 2 TDs)
- LB Seth Hensley, Sr., 5-11, 205 (95 tackles, sack, 3 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
- LB Dalton Goode, Sr., 5-11, 205 (89 tackles, 7 for loss, 5 sacks, 7 QB pressures, forced fumble, recovery)
- DL Zach Allen, Sr. (59 tackles, 6 for loss, 3 sacks, 18 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
Just the facts
- This is the 32nd meeting between Chapel Hill and Henderson with Henderson leading the all-time series, 30-5-1.
- Chapel Hill coach Thomas Sitton is 50-22 in his time with the Bulldogs. His predecessor, Henderson coach Phil Castles, was 24-20 from 2005-08.
- Through eight games, Chapel Hill is averaging 42.8 points and 430.4 yards per game -- 274.5 rushing and 155.9 passing.
- Chapel Hill has outscored its three district opponents by an average score of 57-26.
- Chapel Hill's eight previous opponents have a cumulative record of 24-40.
- Through eight games, Henderson is averaging 42.6 points and 397.6 yards per game -- 261.4 rushing and 136.2 passing.
- Henderson has outscored its three district opponents by an average score of 47-9.
- Henderson's eight previous opponents have a cumulative record of 25-39.
Key matchup: Chapel Hill rushing attack vs. Henderson defensive front. After a slow start to the season, the Chapel Hill Bulldogs have rattled off four victories in a row, and their success in the running game is a big reason for that. Over the last four weeks, Chapel Hill is averaging 373.8 rushing yards per game. The Bulldogs are also averaging 8.8 yards per carry during their current four-game winning streak, which has had a positive effect on Chapel Hill's passing attack. In the Bulldogs' last two games, quarterback Konnor Hitchcock has passed for more than 200 yards each time, which has allowed Chapel Hill's offense to become multi-dimensional. The Bulldogs are at their best when the offense is moving uptempo, and gashing opposing defenses with big gainers on the ground out of the spread formation. A calling card for Chapel Hill's rushing attack under sixth-year head coach Thomas Sitton has been depth at the running back position, and this season is no different. Six different Bulldogs ball carriers have logged at least 20 carries and 130 yards on the year with eight separate Chapel Hill players recording rushing touchdowns. The duo of junior Ja'Braylon Franklin and senior Michael Bledsoe have emerged as the significant threats out of the backfield with a combined 1,223 yards, but don't discount the short-yardgae importance of Reggie King and Delenis Garrett, who have combined for 18 of the team's 28 rushing touchdowns.
Even though Henderson's offense has put up solid numbers all season long, the Lions' defense has been dominant for much of the year. Early-season success has carried over into district play where Henderson's defense is allowing less than 10 points per game. Henderson's linebacking corps, and in particular the play of seniors Dalton Goode and Seth Hensley, have become the backbone of the defensive unit. Both players are on the cusp of 100-tackle seasons, meaning they are generally in the right place at the right time when it comes to stopping opposing ball carriers. Chapel Hill's running game has had a tremendous impact on how the Bulldogs have fared in games this season. In Chapel Hill's five wins, the Bulldogs are averaging 343.6 rushing yards per game. But in the 'Dogs' three losses, Chapel Hill has managed an average of just 159.3 yards. In order for Henderson to avoid getting into a shootout with an offense that's been more productive on the year, the Lions' defense must find a way to contain Chapel Hill's ground game. If recent history has taught us anything, it's that the Bulldogs are not as difficult to contend with if their backs aren't productive.
Don't be surprised if: Defensive stops are at a premium Friday night. While Henderson has played very well of late on the defensive side of the ball, the Chapel Hill offense is most likely the toughest test it has faced up to this point. But by the same token, Henderson's offense has been almost as explosive and productive, and the Chapel Hill defense has struggled holding opponents in check for most of the season. The Bulldogs have allowed more than 35 points per game, while Henderson is averaging 42 on offense. Those kind of splits suggest sole possession of first place in 9-4A Division I could be decided in a shootout. If that's the case, Chapel Hill has a slight advantage in overall offensive production, but that doesn't necessarily mean Henderson won't be able to keep up. Chapel Hill's offense moves at such as fast pace and has the potential to score so quickly that the Bulldogs' defense could be on the field quite a bit, which may not be a good thing considering Chapel Hill's defensive shortcomings this season. The best case scenario for Chapel Hill is to take time off the clock while finishing drives with touchdowns because Henderson is capable of scoring with regularity as well.