Chapel Hill Tries to Take Playoff Destiny in Own Hands With Win At Carthage
DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION I
Chapel Hill Bulldogs (3-6, 2-2)
Carthage Bulldogs (6-3, 3-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bulldog Stadium, Carthage
- Chapel Hill: Thomas Sitton
- Carthage: Scott Surratt
- Chapel Hill: TBD
- Carthage: TBD, 4A Division I playoffs
- QB Konnor Hitchcock, Sr., 5-9, 175
- WR Reggie King, Sr., 5-11, 220
- WR Zack Walters, Sr., 6-3, 200
- RB Kenyotta Henderson, Sr., 5-8, 180
- DB Deundre Phillips, Sr., 5-8, 180 (93 tackles, 4 for loss, 1 sack, 6 PBUs, 1 INT, 2 forced fumbles, 1 defensive TD)
- OL Jeremy West, Sr., 6-3, 295
- LB Ladarian Hudson, Jr., 5-11, 180 (69 tackles, 11 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery)
- LB Brysien Cross, Sr., 5-11, 175 (98 tackles, 7 for loss)
- TE/DE Jarrod McLin, Sr., 6-3, 215 (16 catches, 188 yards 3 TDs; 78 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 21 QB pressures, 5 PBUs)
- WR Marquise Guinn, Sr., 6-4, 220 (38 catches, 515 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Jakeldric Jackson, Sr., 5-9, 160 (57 catches, 962 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB Jarod Blissett, Sr., 6-1, 200 (166 of 278, 2,416 yards, 23 TDs, 5 INTs)
- RB Ravodney Hardy, Sr., 5-9, 200 (119 carries, 669 yards, 6 TDs)
- LB Mykel Gates, Soph., 5-11, 215 (40 tackles, 2 for loss, 2 QB pressures, 2 PBU, 2 forced fumbles, 1 INT)
- ATH Hunter Townsend, Soph., 5-11, 185 (27 carries, 189 yards, 1 TD; 22 catches, 371 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL Cagan Baldree, Sr., 6-4, 250
Just the facts
- This is the 34th all-time meeting between Carthage and Chapel Hill. Carthage leads the series, 25-8.
- Carthage needs a win to nail down the No. 2 seed from 9-4A in the 4A Division I playoffs, while Chapel Hill needs a win, or a Henderson loss, or Brownsboro win to reach the postseason.
- Chapel Hill is averaging 21.3 points per game overall, and 24.3 in district games.
- Chapel Hill is allowing 30.6 points per game overall, but just 23.3 in four district games.
- Chapel Hill is shooting for its fifth playoff appearance in seven years under head coach Thomas Sitton.
- Carthage is averaging 31.9 points and 399.4 yards per game -- 131 rushing and 268.4 passing.
- Carthage is allowing 22.7 points per game overall, but just 18.5 in four district games.
- Carthage has amassed a 39-3 district record under head coach Scott Surratt.
Key matchup: Carthage passing attack vs. Chapel Hill secondary. To say that the Carthage Bulldogs' passing game is clicking right now is an understatement. In Carthage's last two games, senior quarterback Jarod Blissett has passed for 618 yards with nine touchdowns. The Dawgs' signal-caller enters the final night of the regular season with more than 2,400 passing yards and 23 touchdowns on the year, and he has plenty of weapons at his disposal. Senior Jakeldric Jackson, coming off a three-TD performance in the win over Palestine last week, is closing in on 1,000 receiving yards for the season. Meanwhile, seniors Marquise Guinm and Jarrod McLin and sophomore Hunter Townsend have combined to catch 76 passes for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns.
Chapel Hill's pass defense, which is much improved since the beginning of the season, will face its toughest challenge since Week 2 against Whitehouse. In that game, a 51-21 loss, Chapel Hill allowed 449 passing yards and four touchdowns through the air. If Chapel HIll is to have success against Carthage's passing attack, it won't be completely left up to the secondary. The Bulldogs must be able to apply pressure to the quarterback, forcing Blissett out of his rhythm. On the season, Chapel HIll's defense has racked up a total of 12 sacks, or about 1.3 per game. The lack of production up front may explain why Chapel HIll has combined for just five interceptions and 20 passes broken up in nine games.
Don't be surprised if: Chapel Hill's offense continues to show progress. For the first time since a Week 1 loss to Lindale, Chapel Hill had starting quarterback Konnor Hitchcock directing the offense. In his return to the lineup following injury, Hitchcock was intercepted twice by the Henderson defense, but made up for it by tossing three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 58 seconds remaining. With another full week of practice and a game under his belt, expect a more crisp Chapel Hill offense on Friday night. There could also be a personal score to settle for Hitchcock, who missed the Carthage game last season -- a 28-21 Chapel Hill loss -- after suffering a concussion the week before.