Tatum Tangles With Chapel Hill Friday Night In Bulldogs’ Final Non-District Game Of The Year
Tatum Eagles (2-1)
Chapel Hill Bulldogs (1-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill
- Tatum: Andy Evans
- Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton
- Tatum: vs. Hardin-Jefferson, Oct. 3
- Chapel Hill: idle
- RB/LB Kyshaun Smith, Sr., 6-1, 180 (2 carries, 14 yards; 33 tackles, 1 for loss)
- RB/LB Devon Boyd, Sr., 5-10, 180 (17 carries, 145 yards; 2 catches, 34 yards, TD; 30 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 PBU)
- ATH Chaston Brooks, Sr., 6-0, 190 (17 of 30, 237 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INTs; 15 carries, 60 yards, TD; 12 tackles, 1 PBU)
- QB J.D. Taylor, Jr., 6-2, 180 (15 of 28, 218 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs; 31 carries, 224 yards, 3 TDs)
- WR Deyanta Roberson, Sr., 6-2, 190 (11 catches, 134 yards, 3 TDs)
- WR Martin Williams, Sr., 6-3, 190 (8 catches, 102 yards)
- DB Jordan Nelson, Sr., 6-0, 170 (32 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 3 PBU)
- RB Denarius Earl, Jr., 5-6, 150 (10 carries, 89 yards, 2 TDs; 3 catches, 78 yards)
- FB/LB Reggie King, Jr., 5-11, 205 (19 carries, 111 yards, 5 TDs; 10 catches, 74 yards, TD)
- WR/LB Deundre Phillips, Jr., 5-8, 180 (8 catches, 145 yards, TD)
- OL/DL Jeremy West, Jr., 6-3, 270
- RB/LB Delenis Garrett, Sr., 5-9, 200 (12 carries, 24 yards, 3 TDs; 1 catch, 5 yards)
- OL/DL Rex Cicero, Sr., 6-2, 245
- WR Jeffery Minor, Sr., 6-0, 170 (12 catches, 152 yards, 2 TDs; 5 carries, 14 yards)
- RB/DB Ja'Braylon Franklin, Jr., 5-9, 170 (25 carries, 264 yards; 3 catches, 35 yards)
- QB Konnor Hitchcock, Jr., 5-8, 160 (49 of 94, 600 yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs)
Just the facts
- This is just the fifth meeting all-time between Tatum and Chapel Hill, which first met in 2002. Tatum leads the series, 3-1.
- Tatum and Chapel Hill shared the same district in 2002 and 2003, and again in 2008 and 2009.
- Tatum is averaging 38.3 points and 400.3 yards per game -- 248.6 rushing and 151.3 passing.
- Tatum has 13 players with at least one rushing attempt, and seven with at least one reception.
- Under head coach Andy Evans, Tatum has compiled a record of 110-25.
- Chapel Hill is averaging 32.5 points and 325.3 yards per game -- 175.3 rushing and 150 passing.
- Chapel Hill has seven ball carriers with at least 10 rushing attempts on the season.
- Under head coach Thomas Sitton, Chapel Hill has compiled a record of 46-22.
Key matchup: Tatum rushing attack vs. Chapel Hill defensive front. If the first few weeks of the season are any indication, Friday's meeting favors Tatum's offense. Through three games, Tatum is averaging more than 38 points ad 400 yards a week, while Chapel Hill's defense has had trouble slowing down opposing offenses all season. Last Friday, Chapel Hill allowed more than 300 rushing yards to a Port Neches-Groves team that was averaging less than 100 yards on the ground coming into the game. And over the last three weeks, Chapel Hill is surrendering an average of 48.7 points per game. Compounding the problem is, that after two solid weeks on offense, the Bulldogs took a step back in that department a week ago by scoring just three touchdowns while committing four turnovers. If there was ever a game when Chapel Hill's offense needed to protect the ball and consistently move the chains, it would be this week against Tatum.
Tatum's only loss came against third-ranked Gilmer in the final seconds of the game. Its other two contests resulted in blowout wins -- 39-7 over Newton in the season opener, and 41-14 last week at Liberty-Eylau. A balanced approach on offense has sparked Tatum's strong beginning to the season, but since a strong performance through the air in the season opener, the Eagles have been getting it done on the ground. Coming into Friday's game at Chapel Hill, Tatum is averaging almost 250 rushing yards per game. Junior quarterback J.D. Taylor leads the team in rushing with 218 yards, but there have been 12 other players with at least one carry on the young season. The Eagles' offense is very diverse, with its read-option game mixed in with its downfield passing attack. Tatum has used a rotation of two quarterbacks -- Taylor and senior Chaston Brooks, who has done a little bit of everything for the Eagles throughout his high school career. When Tatum does hand the ball off, it usually goes to senior Devon Boyd or junior Denarius Earl, and when the Eagles put the ball in the air, they have two big targets at receiver -- 6-foot-2 Deyanta Roberson and the 6-3 Martin Williams. But as the stats indicate, much of Tatum's success in the passing game comes after its dynamic rushing attack has been established. If Chapel Hill wishes to enter its bye week on a winning note, the Bulldogs must be able to contain Tatum on the ground.
Don't be surprised if: Chapel Hill comes out aggressive on offense. The Bulldogs have plenty of weapons on that side of the ball -- from H-back Reggie King, to wideouts Jeffery Minor and Deundre Phillips, and running backs Ja'Braylon Franklin and Delenis Garrett. The offensive line was also thought to be a strength coming into the season. But the first four weeks have been marred by inconsistent play on offense. In the season opener at Lindale, Chapel Hill's offense struggled to stay on the field by getting dominated in the time of possession department. The Bulldogs played better the next two weeks against Whitehouse and Paris, but turnovers and mental mistakes plagued them last Friday night against Port Neches-Groves. With district play fast approaching, the time is now for Chapel Hill's offense to start rounding into shape. Running the football has become more difficult for the Bulldogs than in recent years, so it would not be shocking to see a Chapel Hill passing game that thrived during 7-on-7 play during the summer begin utilizing its weapons downfield.