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The Grid: Week Nine

Week nine of high school football action on WCHL features another Big 8 conference showdown as 6-1 Chapel Hill travels to Hillsborough to take on 7-0 Orange.

The Tigers lost a 6-0 decision to the Panthers in 2013 on a Hail Mary touchdown pass as time expired. Both squads will be looking to establish their ball control offenses early on in this physical contest where points figure to be a premium.

Jeff Hamlin and Chris Casey will have the call of the 7 p.m. Friday kickoff on 97.9 FM, WCHL. Live pregame coverage from Hillsborough will begin at 6:30 p.m.

We’ll also bring you live updates of the undefeated defending state champions in Southern Durham as they get challenged by the 6-1 Northwood Chargers in Pittsboro.

And don’t forget to start your evening off with ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’, WCHL’s exclusive high school football pregame show hosted by Matt Oakes and Matt Paul.

At 6 p.m., the stage will be set with interviews from all the area head coaches, analysis and predictions from the night’s biggest games, the selection of The Grid Great of the Week, as well as the unveiling of the WCHL/Chapelboro.com Super Six rankings.


HS Girls’ Basketball: Chapel Hill 46 – Cardinal Gibbons 28


VIDEO: Chapel Hill Tiger Girls Complete Perfect Regular Season

CHAPEL HILL – The Tigers capped a perfect regular season Monday night, rolling over visiting Cardinal Gibbons 46-28 to improve to a remarkable 23-0 overall.

Listen back to the game here.

The Tigers (14-0 Big Eight) controlled the tilt from the outset, building a 12-2 first quarter lead and taking a nine-point lead into intermission.

On the strength of a balanced attack, led by Catherine Romaine’s 14 points and 11 from Jamella Smith, Chapel Hill put the contest away with a 16-7 third quarter run.

Cardinal Gibbons, a dangerous team despite getting handled twice by the Tigers this season for their only conference setbacks, didn’t have a player reach double-figure scoring.

Tigers coach Sherry Norris said she wanted her team to clamp down defensively on the Crusaders.

“My team had a great defensive effort in shutting down Cardinal Gibbons,” Norris said. “We went into the game not wanting to foul them to put them at the free throw line and make them take tough shots.”

There were plenty of smiling faces from the Tigers after the game, including Smith.

“Everything about this makes me happy in how we were able to come out and win a tough game,” Smith said. “I feel good about how we’re playing heading into the playoffs.”

If the Tigers can win nine more in a row they will capture a state title that just eluded them last season in the championship contest.

Big-Eight conference tournament action begins Wednesday night at which time No. 1 seed Chapel Hill will host the No. 8 seed, which will be announced soon. The tournament championship for both the girls and the boys will be held Friday night at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. respectively. You can hear both games live on WCHL and Chapelboro.com beginning with pregame coverage at 5:00 p.m.


WCHL Introduces Chapelboro Cup for 2014 High School Football

CHAPEL HILL – Chapelboro and WCHL are excited to announce the Chapelboro Cup, an award to be given annually to the Chapelboro-area high school football team with the best record.

“The competition among our six area schools is at a very high level every year,” says Ran Northam, WCHL’s News and Sports Director. “Each of the last two years, one or more of our teams has made it to the state semifinals after winning their conference tournament. Despite the teams being spread across multiple conferences, the strong cross-town rivalries make for consistently thrilling matchups.”

Chapelboro’s six area teams are the Chapel Hill Tigers, East Chapel Hill Wildcats, Carrboro Jaguars, Orange Panthers, Cedar Ridge Red Wolves, and Northwood Chargers.

The Chapelboro Cup shows WCHL’s and Chapelboro’s continued commitment to coverage of local high school athletics. Last year we created a second broadcast for high school football games each Friday night so that at least two and as many as four of our teams are on the air each week. We also have a page devoted to high school athletics on Chapelboro.com, which will get a makeover next year with the creation of the Chapelboro Cup.

Full details will be released before the kickoff of the 2014 high school football season.


WCHL To Broadcast Chapel Hill Girls’ Basketball Season Finale

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill High School girls’ basketball team has already recorded its best record in school history, and WCHL will be there to broadcast what could be the cap on its undefeated regular season.

2013-2014 Tigers (Photo courtesy of Chapel Hill High School)

2013-2014 Tigers (Photo courtesy of Chapel Hill High School)

“Sherry Norris has another great team, and we’re very excited to usher in the postseason with the Tigers’ final regular season game on our airwaves,” says Ran Northam, WCHL’s News and Sports Director and the play-by-play announcer for high school basketball.

“This team is a very special group of girls,” CHHS girls’ basketball head coach Sherry Norris says. “They had an outstanding year last year, losing in the state championship game, but I think we took a lot from that loss, and the girls matured a lot in a year’s time.”

This is the second meeting of the season between the Tigers and Crusaders. It will also determine whether or not Chapel Hill takes the outright regular season Big-Eight championship. The Tigers hold a one-game lead over the Crusaders.

“This game against Cardinal Gibbons should be a good game,” Norris says.

In addition, WCHL will announce some exciting news about the 2014 football season during the broadcast.

It all begins Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with WCHL Gameday live from Chapel Hill High School. Tune in on 97.9 FM and streaming live online here.


Chapel Hill High School’s Ben Fisher is ‘Mr. All-Everything’

CHAPEL HILL–Chapel Hill High School soccer standout Ben Fisher has achieved All-American status.

Fisher, a highs school junior, has been a member of the All-Conference soccer for three straight years starting in 2011. In 2012, Fisher snagged All-Region for his efforts on the field.

But 2013 ushered in huge accolades. Fisher was the primary offensive leader behind Chapel Hill’s Big Eight conference championship-winning team that was ranked No. 1 in the state for the regular season. And he was recognized for his outstanding play.

Fisher was ‘Mr. All-Everything.’ He was named All-Conference, All-Region, All-State, All-South and most impressively, All-American. Only two North Carolina athletes were selected on the All-American team.


HS Football Roundup: Orange Marches On While CH, Northwood Bow Out

DURHAM– Round one of the state playoffs in high school football featured some intriguing match-ups involving three local schools.

Chapel Hill’s season came to an end with a 40-6 loss at Southern Durham. Somehow, the Tigers found a way to slip into the playoffs with a 4-7 record, but the 9-2 Spartans were too much for them on this night.

With the victory, Southern Durham improved to 10-2 on the year and moved on to the second round of the tournament where they will face a daunting challenge against Cardinal Gibbons.

Meanwhile over in Hillsborough, the 10-1 Orange Panthers were busy shutting down 8-3 Rocky Mount in a 31-3 decision.

The vaunted Panther defense reappeared Friday night after a hiatus against Southern Durham a week ago. Running back Tay Jones recorded a 26-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put the game out of reach.

Next up, Head Coach Pat Moser’s squad will take on 9-3 Cleveland in the second round.

If both Orange and Southern Durham win their games next week, they will meet for an anticipated rematch of their regular season finale that saw the Spartans spoil Orange’s run at an undefeated season.

Not to be forgotten, the Northwood Chargers were in playoff action Friday night as well. Things didn’t go too well for Head Coach Bill Hall’s team as they fell 56-21 on the road at Eastern Alamance.

Northwood tailback Kadarus Rone fumbled the ball away early on in the first quarter. The turnover resulted in a score for the Eagles, and Eastern Alamance never looked back from there as they lit up the scoreboard to advance.



The Grid w/ Matt & Matt: Week 11

CHAPEL HILL– Believe it or not, week eleven of high school gridiron action is upon us. And it will feature some intriguing local showdowns that will certainly light up your Friday night.

On 97.9 FM WCHL and Chapelboro.com at 7 p.m., tune in to the undefeated Orange “Crush” Panthers as they continue their drive toward perfection. This week, Head Coach Pat Moser’s squad welcomes a formidable opponent in the form of the 7-2 Crusaders of Cardinal Gibbons.

Last week, Orange throttled struggling Webb 56-7 and Cardinal Gibbons survived improving Chapel Hill 47-36.

Will the Panthers be able to shut down the Crusader attack and move to 10-0 on the year? You won’t want to miss this one.

Tune in to pregame and live game coverage from Orange High School with Paul Connell Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Exclusively on Chapelboro.com, you can catch the 7-2 Northwood Chargers as they look to keep things rolling home against the Chapel Hill Tigers. Chapel Hill has proven to be a tough out in their past two games against powerhouses Orange and Cardinal Gibbons.

What do the Tigers have left for Coach Bill Hall’s high-flying Chargers?

Tune in to pregame coverage and live game play-by-play streaming on our website, Chapelboro.com. Jeff Hamlin will have the call from Pittsboro.

And don’t forget, each Friday at 6 p.m., WCHL’s lively duo of Matt Oakes and Matt Paul will be breaking down all the big games, sitting down with the head coaches of many of your favorite teams, releasing WCHL/Chapelboro’s Super Six rankings, making some bold predictions, and unveiling The Grid Great of the Week.

You can catch up on the entire season of The Grid with Matt & Matt, here.

This Friday, Matt and Matt will chat with Orange’s Pat Moser, Chapel Hill’s Isaac Marsh and Northwood’s Bill Hall.



HS Roundup: Orange Survives, Chargers Fall & Red Wolves Rise Up

CHAPEL HILL– What a night of high school football action we had. Week nine had it all as one local titan survived a grueling slugfest and another top-notch area school dropped a shootout.

In our WCHL game of the week, the Chapel Hill fans were treated to an unexpected nail biter. Depleted by injuries, Coach Isaac Marsh’s squad entered their contest against undefeated powerhouse Orange High School with a 3-4 record.

But on this night, the Chapel Hill Tigers played much better than their record suggests, matching the physicality and speed of the Orange “Crush” Panthers every step of the way. In a defensive battle, it wasn’t until two seconds left in the game that lightning struck for the Panthers.

And with the dramatic 55-yard touchdown throw by Garrett Cloer, Coach Pat Moser’s Orange Panthers survived 6-0 over a valiant Chapel Hill team.

Over in Durham, the 6-1 Northwood Chargers faced 5-2 Southern Durham in our exclusive Chapelboro.com game. And unlike the Orange-Chapel Hill affair, this one kept the scorekeeper busy.

It was a back and forth contest, but ultimately it was the home team, Southern Durham that pulled out the 56-54 win to improve to 6-2 on the season.

In other area action, Carrboro continued its struggles as the Jaguars fell to Cummings 37-20. East Chapel Hill was blown out by Northern Durham 42-6 to drop to 1-7 on the season.

And in the feel good story of the night, the winless Cedar Ridge Red Wolves nabbed their first victory of 2013 with 24-17 home win over Webb.

Hear all the action on the Grid with Matt & Matt

Hear all the action on the Grid with Matt & Matt


The Whole Nine Yards: Week 8

CHAPEL HILL – Northwood didn’t try to run the score up on Cedar Ridge on Friday night, REALLY it didn’t.

The Chargers utilized their reserves early and often in a 79-28 rout, but even many of those players were more talented than the undermanned and outgunned Red Wolves. Your heart goes out to classy coach Chris Casey and his squad, but credit the Red Wolves for not feeling sorry for themselves and staying positive in tough times.

It doesn’t get any easier for Cedar Ridge, which travels to 6-0 Orange Friday. The Panthers are EVEN better than the Chargers, which they showed in a dominant 41-21 win in Pittsboro the previous week.

WHO’S YOUR PAPPAS? – Everyone likes Jim Pappas, it’s just a matter of how much or how little. Pappas was an interesting figure again Friday night as Cedar Ridge hosted Northwood in what became a Chargers rout. Pappas, a Red Wolves assistant, is not only the father of Cedar Ridge sophomore quarterback Peyton Pappas, but has also had roles as Athletic Director at both schools.

The elder Pappas can be fiery and controversial, for sure, but he’s also a kind and decent man. The latter is my take, as Pappas gave me a shot to serve as his assistant AD for two seasons at Cedar Ridge. Anyone can also feel free to judge him as a father striving for excellence for his children, and it looks like he’s done a superb job in that department.

CARRBORO OUT OF GAS? – The mighty have fallen hard and fast at Carrboro, a state championship runner-up in 2012 that fell to 3-3 this season with three straight devastating defeats. Injuries to stars Trai Sharp and Marlin Johnson hurt the Jaguars cause for sure, but the team’s dearth of talent after the pair is still surprising.

Coach Jason Tudryn was reportedly pleased about how some youngsters played Friday but the result was still a double-digit home loss to Randleman. The Jaguars special teams certainly weren’t special in allowing a blocked punt return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown and mishandling a punt return for a turnover in gifting 21 points to the visitors.

CH TRAMPLED UNDER FEET – Almost any football coach at any level will tell you they want to establish their running game in order to top their opponent. Southern Durham certainly did just that Friday in racking up 387 yards on 31 carries for over 12 yards per attempt in its 59-20 win over Chapel Hill. Despite the lopsided win, Southern didn’t appear to run up the score, either, with eight different players getting touches and no back piling up over 100 yards. It’s probably been a hard week of practice for Chapel Hill defenders, particularly on the D-Line.

SHAMELESS PLUG: Orange is No. 1 in the WCHL/Chapelboro.com ‘Super Six’ High School Football poll, while Northwood is No. 2 and winless Cedar Ridge is at the bottom rung. Be sure to tune in to ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’ Friday evenings at 6 pm on 97.9 FM as we reveal the new poll, talk to area coaches, analyze and predict games and select our ‘Grid Great of the Week’.

Matt Oakes is 4-0 with his picks the last TWO weeks, which he will hopefully be gracious about?! Perhaps he may even belt out another tune as he did during Friday’s show. Matt Paul is his usual humble, or humbled self, at just 5-3 over the same span. Thankfully for listeners, I have NO plans to sing.