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Carthage sails to victory over Chapel Hill

By Rick McPherson
Nov. 13, 2017 at 10:29 p.m.

Bulldog Keaontay Ingram (28) jumps an obstacle in order to advance the ball.

The defending state-champion, Carthage Bulldogs ran up 424 yards of total offense and 42 points in the first half of Friday night's game against Chapel Hill, and then cruised to a 49-20 victory. The win gave Carthage a perfect 10-0 mark for regular season play.

For Chapel Hill, the best that could be said of the game was that it brought a disappointing season to an end. Led by quarterback Khalan Griffin, a sophomore, who is already receiving scholarship offers, the Chapel Hill Bulldogs started strong this year. They were 3-1 after four games. But then the wheels came off. They lost the next five games. The loss to Carthage Friday Night ran the losing streak to 6.

Going into the last Friday of regular season play, there were two certainties in the District 9-4A Division I race. Carthage was going into the playoffs as the outright district champion. Chapel Hill wasn't going anywhere but home.

Where the remaining five teams in the district might end up was anybody's guess. There were three more playoff berths at stake and all five had a shot. In one scenario – a Henderson loss to Palestine and a Kilgore loss to Bullard – all five would end the season tied for second with identical 3-3 district records. Had that happened, various tie-breakers would have determined who went where.

It didn't happen. Henderson beat Palestine 47-17, and after falling behind 19-0 in the first quarter, Kilgore stomped Bullard 56-25. Henderson and Kilgore tied for second in District and got two of the remaining playoff spots. The Center Roughriders, who were idle Friday, finished in sole possession of third place, and got the third.

Meanwhile back in chilly Bulldog Stadium, Carthage scored on its first four possessions of the game. Facing a fourth and two at the Chapel Hill 39-yard line, Mekhi Colbert lined up at quarterback. Colbert kept the ball and picked up the needed two plus 17 yards more. On the next play, Gunner Capps threw the first of his three touchdown passes a 20 yard strike to Dee Bowen. The extra-point was good and Carthage was up 7-0.

After forcing a punt, the Carthage Bulldogs took over at their own 37-yard line and drove to the Chapel Hill 18. With another fourth and short situation, Capps handed off to Keaontay Ingram who went untouched into the end-zone.

On its next possession it took Carthage just three plays to get from its own 37-yard line to the Chapel Hill 1. The Bulldogs brought in linebacker, Mikhal Gates, for its goal line package. Gates got the handoff and went in for the touchdown.

The fourth Carthage touchdown came with 9:07 left in the second quarter. After being sacked for a 6-yard loss, Capps handed off to Keaontay Ingram at the Chapel Hill 21. Ingram hurtled a defender at the 15-yard line and went in for the score. Alberto Sigala's fourth extra-point of the night made the score 28-0, Carthage.

Chapel Hill finally got on the board on the following kickoff. For the second week in a row, Carthage, gave up a big return. Chapel Hill's Hunter Branin took the long line-drive kickoff at his own 9-yard line and went 91 yards up the right sideline for the first Chapel Hill touchdown of the night.

With 5:52 left in the first half Capps and Dee Bowen teamed up for their second touchdown pass of the night. This time Capps threw a 25 yard strike to Bowen in the Corner of the end zone. The extra point made the score 35-7.

Chapel Hill's second touchdown of the game came with 4:10 left in the half. After Griffin evaded a Carthage blitz and scrambled for 25 yards, he hit wide-out Robbie Williams with a 19-yard scoring pass to make the score 35-13. The extra point was no good.

Carthage came right back and scored on its next possession. Capps threw his third touchdown pass of the night to Callahan Baldree. The extra point was good and the scoring for the first half was over. The teams went to the locker-rooms with the half-time score 42-13.

The only Carthage score of the second half came on a 35-yard Tucker Smith touchdown run. Jesus Jimenez added the extra point and Carthage lead at that point 49-13.

The only Chapel Hill score in the second half came with 5:55 left in the game. The 7-yard touchdown run and extra point made the final score 49-20

Ahmad Brown had 9 tackles in the game, two for losses. The Carthage coaches named him defensive player of the game. Keaontay Ingram was named offensive player of the game. On the basis of his great kickoff coverage, including two tackles at the 20-yardline, Jaylon Brooks was named the special-teams player of the game.

On the night, Carthage picked up 24 first downs on its way to running up 547 yards of total offense. The Carthage Bulldogs had 273 yards through the air, and 274 yards on the ground.

The leading Carthage rushers in the game were Tucker Smith with 112 yards on 8 carries and Keaontay Ingram, who also had 8 carries and picked up 104 yards.

Gunner Capps hit on 13 of 22 passes, and Jackson Blisset threw the ball 6 times with 4 completions. Neither Carthage quarterback threw an interception. The leading Carthage receivers were Dee Bowen, who caught four balls for 74 yardCas and 2 touchdowns and Sam Houston State commit, Dewaylon Ingram, who had 5 catches for 126 yards.

Chapel Hill gained 311 yards in the game with 130 yards coming through the air and 181 on the ground. Griffin completed 14 of 24 passes and gave up an interception to Carthage cornerback, Jacorey Ware, right before halftime.

Both teams fumbled twice. Carthage lost one fumble and Chapel Hill lost both. Carthage was penalized 5 times for 36 yards. Chapel Hill was penalized 8 times for 60 yards.

Chapel Hill punted 5 times for an average of 31 yards a kick. Carthage didn't punt in the game.

The first playoff game for Carthage will be against Huffman Hargrave, at Bulldog Stadium in Jasper, this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Hargrave secured its spot in the playoffs with a 21-7 win over Bridge City on Friday. The Falcons are 4-4 for the year, and 2-3 in district play. They finished fourth in District 104A Division I.

In the other playoff games involving District 9 teams, Henderson (8-2) will face Navasota (6-4) on Friday in Tiger Stadium in Corsicana, Kilgore (7-3) will play Little Cypress-Mauriceville (4-4) Thursday in Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, and Center (3-7) takes on Silsbee (5-4) in Nacogdoches.

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