Chapel Hill pulls out 56-46 win over Navasota
April 4, 2012Chapel Hill High School Football
WACO – The Chapel Hill Bulldogs have overcome several obstacles throughout the course of this season.
The state’s top-ranked withstood even more Friday night to advance to the state semifinals for the second consecutive year.
Despite allowing three defensive touchdowns and losing two key players on offense, the Bulldogs found a way to come out on top of Navasota, 56-46, in their Class 3A Division I state quarterfinal at Floyd Casey Stadium.
Chapel Hill (13-0), despite outgaining Navasota (11-2) by more than 300 yards, was trailing early in the fourth quarter after surrendering its third defensive score of the game, which gave the Rattlers a 46-41 lead.
“We’ve talked about it all year long,” Chapel Hill coach Thomas Sitton said. “The thing that we’ve got to do is continue to trust each other and keep believing in each other when adversity hits. That’s the time when we’ve got to be our best.”
The Bulldogs leaned on their stout running game to carry them to victory.
Senior Jay Reagan rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns, the final two coming in the fourth quarter to send Chapel Hill to the next round where the Bulldogs will meet West Columbia (13-0) in a rematch of last season’s state semifinal.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Stephen F. Austin’s Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches.
Trailing 46-41, Chapel Hill began its drive at midfield and rushed the ball on all 10 plays. The series was capped by Reagan’s 1-yard touchdown run. Avery Saenz hooked up with Tre Allen on the two-point conversion to give Chapel Hill a 49-46 lead with 6:08 remaining.
Chapel Hill forced the Rattlers into a three-and-out, and faced and third-and-3 from its own 35, when Reagan put the game away with a 65-yard touchdown with 1:30 showing on the clock.
Four Bulldogs ball carriers rushed for at least 65 yards, including Reagan, Rex Rollins (99 yards), Joseph Clark (83) and Andrew Tucker (65).
“It’s the strength of our offense,” Sitton said. “Our offensive line does an outstanding job week-in and week-out. They practice hard, they play hard and they play for each other.”
Tucker, the hero from last week however, was injured late in the first half and did not return. And leading receiver Nelson Onwuzu also did not play in the second half after hauling in five catches for 98 yards and two first-half touchdowns.
Navasota quarterback Kadarius Baker led Navasota, completing 16 of 25 attempts for 274 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
With the score gridlocked at 27-27 after one half, each team traded scores in the third quarter. Reagan scored his first TD of the night on Chapel Hill’s first series of the half, while Baker found Austin Collins for a 22-yard score for Navasota to even the game at 34-34.
The Bulldogs went on top 41-34 early in the fourth quarter when Allen fumbled the ball into the end zone where teammate Deaveron Dean recovered. However, Navasota responded on the first play of the ensuing drive when Baker found Collins again for a 66-yard score. The Rattlers missed the PAT, however, and the Bulldogs were clinging to a 41-40 lead early in the fourth.
That’s when Navasota broke through and took the lead when Autra Maxey recovered a Chapel Hill fumble and rumbled 25 yards to the end zone to put Navasota up 46-41 with 10:11 remaining in the game.
Chapel Hill got off to a fast start, scoring on its first two offensive snaps.
The first touchdown was set up when Navasota fumbled the opening kickoff, and Tucker raced 15 yards on first down to put the Bulldogs up 7-0.
Baker was intercepted on the ensuing drive, and Saenz fired a strike to Onwuzu for a 40-yard touchdown on the very next play and Chapel Hill was ahead 13-0 just 39 seconds into the contest.
That’s when things began to turn.
On Chapel Hill’s fourth offensive series, Saenz was intercepted by McGinty at midfield and the Rattlers defender raced all the way to the end zone to get Navasota on the board.
The Bulldogs regained a two-touchdown edge on their next drive when Rollins crossed the goal line from 2 yards out. The score was set up by Saenz’s fourth-down, 23-yard completion to Onwuzu down to the Navasota 10.
Chapel Hill attempted an onside kick, but it went into the arms of Navasota’s Ryan Serres, who returned it to the Bulldogs’ 32.
Baker found McGinty down the sideline for a 32-yard touchdown on the first play. The extra point cut Chapel Hill’s lead to 20-13 with 10:24 remaining in the second quarter.
The turnover bug bit Chapel Hill once more when Jaylyin Minor fielded a deflected pass from Saenz and rolled 50 yards to the end zone, tying the game at 20-20 with 7:56 to go in the half.
Chapel Hill took a 27-20 lead on its next possession when Saenz hooked up with Onwuzu, who made a diving catch in the end zone from 23 yards out.
But Navasota marched right back down the field and found the equalizer when Baker rushed up the middle for an 8-yard touchdown with 2:03 remaining in the first half.
No. 1 Chapel Hill 56, Navasota 46
Class 3A Division I State Quarterfinal
At Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco
Navasota 7 20 7 12 – 46
RUSHING—Navasota, Jacob Malek 2-13, Kadarius Baker 12-(-25). Chapel Hill, Jay Reagan 18-144, Rex Rollins 16-99, Joseph Clark 13-83, Andrew Tucker 10-65, Tre Allen 3-28, Avery Saenz 5-5, Deaveron Dean 1-0.
PASSING—Navasota, Baker 15-26-1—274. Chapel Hill, Saenz 13-24-2—169.
RECEIVING—Navasota, Solomon McGinty 4-58, Austin Collins 3-94, Xavier Creeks 3-54, Austin Baumert 3-32, Malek 1-35, Howard Horn 1-1. Chapel Hill, Allen 7-70, Nelson Onwuzu 5-98, Avery Henderson 1-2, Dean 1-(-1).