A slew of Rebel turnovers and a Chapel Hill pistol offense eating up yards on the ground and in the air turned the game ugly before the final whistle blew. The victory took the Panthers to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the region. Haralson fell to 4-5 and 2-4 in the region on its Senior night.
“We hit on all cylinders tonight,” said Panthers head coach Geoff Pastrick. “It was a total team effort. It took us a few series to adjust to their schemes, but once we did we accomplished what we were supposed to.”
Star running back Tre Mitchell was back in action after missing last week’s win against BEST Academy, scoring three touchdowns before being taken out of the game with Chapel Hill up big. Quarterback Brett Roberts had success throwing short passes to receivers John Chester-Owens, Tre Owens, Jeremiah Bridges and MJ Rockard.
The game looked to be close at first. Haralson’s option attack looked strong and matched Chapel Hill score for score. After trailing just 14-13 early in the second quarter, Chapel Hill seemed to adjust defensively to what Haralson was showing and only allowed one more touchdown the rest of the contest.
Haralson had seven turnovers, which added to the lopsided score. One fumble and one interception were returned for touchdowns by Akil Shaw and Jamal McDaniel, respectively. Danny Williams and Colin Waldron booted several PATs through the uprights.
Late in the game, Chapel Hill backup quarterback Logan Johnstone and backup running back Jamarcus Morrissette got playing time along with several other developing players. Johnstone passed for a touchdown and Morrissette ran one in himself. Pastrick said it gave some of the underclassmen varsity experience.
“We’ve been trying to get our younger guys in all year,” he said. “Some of these guys haven’t had a varsity snap before. We got to get them in the game and get a taste of what it’s like under the Friday night lights.”
Next Friday is the Panthers’ home finale against a tough 5-4 Central Carroll team. A win would solidify Chapel Hill’s chances for a playof spot.
“From what film I’ve seen on Central, they are a physical, tough, very well coached team,” Pastrick said. Another tough road game awaits the season’s final Friday when the team returns to Atlanta’s Grady Stadium to face Jackson.
If the Panthers can hold onto second place in the region, it will guarantee a home game in the first round of the playoffs. Chapel Hill also needs one more win to guarantee a winning season, but Friday night it was clearly the better team. Tallapoosa’s public address announcer might have summed the game up best.
“That’s the last play,” he said when the final whistle blew. “Chapel Hill cannot throw another touchdown pass.”