TYLER — If the Chapel Hill Bulldogs and their 6-4 record didn’t look good on paper, they sure looked good in person.
The Bulldogs booted the previously undefeated Athens Hornets from the playoffs Friday night with a 52-26 win in a Region II-3A Division I bi-district matchup at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. Athens, the District 15-3A champion that posted the first undefeated regular season in program history, saw its season end at 10-1.
In getting the victory, Chapel Hill claimed its ninth-consecutive win over Athens.
The Bulldogs, hailing from the so-called “District of Doom” that includes state-ranked powerhouses Kilgore and Gilmer, will face Crandall in the second round of the playoffs next Friday. Chapel Hill’s four losses came to teams that finished the regular season with a combined record of 37-2.
One of the big questions coming into the game was whether the Bulldogs could contain the Hornets’ run-heavy Wing-T offense. The answer was no, they couldn’t – Athens rushed for 333 yards, including 184 from sophomore fullback phenom Logan Fuller, the Athens single-season record holder for most rushing yards in a season (1,724) and touchdowns in a season (27).
But with the way the Bulldogs’ offense was clicking, they didn’t have to stop the Hornets’ run game. They just had to outscore them. Chapel Hill senior quarterback Andrew Black broke down the Athens defense with his arm and his legs, rushing 14 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns. He was an efficient 12 of 18 for 166 yards passing with two more scores.
The game didn’t get out of hand until the final six minutes, when a pair of touchdowns sent the Bulldogs past the half-century mark on the scoreboard – easily the most points the Hornets have yielded this season. Chapel Hill grabbed a healthy dose of momentum much earlier thanks to clutch special teams play.