The Grid: Week Four

Week four of high school football on WCHL features an intriguing contest between the 2-1 Carrboro Jaguars and the undefeated Northwood Chargers, sitting at 3-0. The collision in Carrboro promises to produce a high-octane offensive shootout.

The Jaguars suffered their first defeat at the hands of the surging Chapel Hill Tigers last week, but the Chargers continued their dominant play with a 37-7 demolition of rival Jordan-Matthews.

Paul Connell and Chris Casey will have the call of the 7:30 pm Friday kickoff right here on WCHL. Pregame coverage will begin at 7 p.m.

In addition to that one, we’ll stream the high school gridiron showdown between the improving 2-1 Cedar Ridge Red Wolves and the 0-3 Riverside Pirates on our website,

The game will be broadcast exclusively on Jeff Hamlin will have the call for you at 7:30 p.m. live from Hillsborough.

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

At 6:30 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 Super Six rankings.

The Whole Nine Yards – Wk. 4

Talk about symmetry … after three weeks, we have three area high school football teams that are 3-0.

It pretty much had to happen that way after Orange rolled to a 45-12 win over Durham-Riverside and Carrboro fell from the unbeaten ranks with a decisive 41-19 home field loss to Chapel Hill in our WCHL game of the week.

What wasn’t expected was the Tigers rout or the beating Northwood put on Chatham rival Jordan-Matthews to keep up with Orange and Chapel Hill. The Chargers, after all, barely defeated the Siler City foe last season and JM surely wanted to ruin Bill Hall’s last chance to defeat them.

So, in case we don’t get to it on Friday’s edition of “The Grid with Matt & Matt” here are our Chapelboro Cup Standings for the week.

Chapelboro Cup Standings

Week 3

T1. Chapel Hill 3-0
T1. Orange 3-0
T1. Northwood 3-0
T4. Carrboro 2-1
T4. Cedar Ridge 2-1
6. East Chapel Hill 0-3

Join Matt Oakes and I at 6:30 pm as we review last week’s action, preview Friday night’s WCHL and games of the week and count down our ‘Super Six’. We’ll also select a ‘Grid Great of the Week’.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER: Can Carrboro bounce back and show toughness when it travels to Pittsboro Friday night for a battle with the Chargers? Can the Jags add some balance to their offense so teams can’t key on standout running back Trai Sharp? Are the Chargers becoming a juggernaut or is it too soon to tell?

Is this Cedar Ridge team for real in what should be a 3-1 to start to the season? Their only setback thus far was a shootout loss to the Jags in the opener. Imagine if the Red Wolves had managed to pull out a win in that contest! Will they move up in both the Chapelboro Cup Standings AND our ‘Super Six’ rankings in the next two weeks.

What is the total number of ‘Zero’ candy bars that Pat Moser will wind up handing out to his team this season? The number of shutouts times the number of players on the Panthers dictates the answer. Just imagine if a can of Orange ‘Crush’ was included in the deal!

Tweet Matt Paul at @mattauge and check out for a great fundraiser for your high school program.

The Grid: Week Two

Week two of high school football on WCHL features an intriguing contest between the 1-0 Carrboro Jaguars and the 0-1 East Chapel Hill Wildcats. The matchup pits two teams led by new head coaches.

The Wildcats struggled to find their form in a blowout loss to the Northwood Chargers last week, but the Jaguars were able to defend their home turf in week one and claim a thrilling back-and-forth win against an upstart Cedar Ridge Red Wolves squad.

Paul Connell and Chris Casey will have the call of the 7:30 pm kickoff on WCHL.

In addition to that one, we’ll stream the high school gridiron showdown between the 1-0 Orange Panthers and 0-1 Northern Durham on

The game will be broadcast exclusively on Jeff Hamlin will have the call for you Friday at 7 p.m. live from Durham.

And don’t forget to start your evening off with ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’, WCHL’s 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, a selection of The Grid Great of the Week, as well as the unveiling of our WCHL/Chapelboro Super Six rankings.

The Whole Nine Yards

High school football is back and so is Trai Sharp.

The Carrboro High running back, who missed most of the 2013 season due to a knee injury, returned with a vengeance Friday night in piling up 335 yards and four touchdowns as the Jaguars outlasted Cedar Ridge 39-38 in a shootout.

Despite being on the losing side of the ledger, Red Wolves quarterback Peyton Pappas is a ‘Grid Great of the Week’ candidate along with Sharp in rushing for three scores and passing for two more.

Like Sharp, Northwood’s Kadarus Rone also underwent knee surgery in the offseason. Similar to the Jags back, Rone also showed no effects from the procedure in rushing for 94 yards and four scores in the Chargers 65-0 rout of East Chapel Hill.

Find out which one of the three standout performers takes the weekly ‘WCHL/ Grid Great of the Week’ honor Friday night at 6 p.m. on ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’. Matt Oakes joins Matt Paul to review last week’s action and preview the night’s games.

Hear all the action on The Grid with Matt & Matt

Hear all the action on The Grid with Matt & Matt


One area star who didn’t see action was Orange back Tay Jones. The rusher, settling up academic issues, sat out the Panthers season-opening 27-14 win over Person and should be OK for the remainder of the season according to coach Pat Moser.

The ‘Crush’, as we called them last season due to Orange’s devastating defense that produced four shutouts, still collected three rushing scores in posting a convincing win.

Along with Jones, the top team in the ‘WCHL/ Super Six’ is loaded on both sides of the ball and could enjoy another long playoff run.


Perhaps the toughest team to figure out in 2013 was Chapel Hill. The Tigers nearly posted the upset of the season in toppling Orange before losing on the last play of the game. Chapel Hill, which squeaked into the playoffs, also struggled in barely toppling upstart Cedar Ridge.

The Tigers were ready from the opening whistle in their opener, however, crushing Riverside 45-21. Andrew Gillespie raced 90 yards on an interception return for a touchdown and Lonnie Baldwin tacked on a three-yard score.

Chapel Hill could well move to 2-0 when it takes on South Granville, which is coming off a 34-0 blanking by Rocky Mount.


We picked a heckuva’ game to air with last week’s Carrboro-Cedar Ridge shootout on and we’ll double the fun Friday with twice the action.

Orange travels to Northern Durham for our game of the week, while Carrboro heads to East Chapel Hill for our lone Chapelboro Cup contest on WCHL. Like the Jaguars, the Panthers also face a squad coming off a blowout loss, as the Knights fell to Southeast Guilford, 30-0.

The games kick off at 7 p.m. following ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’.

Matt Paul can be contacted via Twitter @mattauge or and message Matt Oakes via Twitter @moakes3 or by email at .

HS Football Returns with ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’

WCHL is gearing up for another exciting season of ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’, the radio station’s weekly high school football show.

The program, hosted by WCHL sports reporter and on-air personality Matt Oakes and sportswriter Matt Paul, will air exclusively on the station at 6:30 pm (and occasionally 6 pm due to other programming) and get you set for the live feature game broadcasts to follow with our Championship Sports team.

It’s the second year the duo will host the show, and the first year they will do so from the beginning of the season, which has them both excited.

“We’re known as the Tar Heels station,” Oakes says, who also covers UNC athletics for WCHL and its companion website “But we know covering high school sports, especially football and basketball, is important to our local communities as well. We can’t wait for another exciting season showcasing our outstanding area schools.”

Oakes, who has been with the station for the last 16 months, is a 2013 graduate of UNC and formerly the Managing Editor at Olympia Media Group. In his extra time, Oakes serves as a tennis instructor at RDU Tennis, regularly runs the American Tobacco Trail, and enjoys contributing his vocal talents to not only the radio, but also as a member of Vox Virorum Men’s Chorus of the Triangle and Heart of Carolina Chorus.

Matt Oakes

Matt Oakes

Paul, who has covered high school and college sports nationally for USA Today and locally for publications like Long Island’s Newsday and the News & Observer, is pleased to team up with Oakes again.

“We’re both low-ego guys who just love sports and want the spotlight shining where it belongs … on the area coaches and their players,” said Paul, who also helps sports programs raise funds through “It may not happen, but we want all the area teams to excel.”

Matt Paul

Matt Paul

Orange and Northwood certainly had their moments of excellence last season, while highly competitive Chapel Hill also eked its way into the playoffs. East Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Cedar Ridge are the other schools comprising the race for the Chapelboro Cup.

The trophy, which will be awarded to the top team in the area, should raise the level of excitement for the coming season to another level, according to WCHL news and sports director Ran Northam.

Tune in to all the high school gridiron excitement on ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’ each Friday night with exclusive interviews of all your favorite area coaches, game breakdowns, analysis and predictions, the unveiling of our WCHL/Chapelboro Super Six power rankings and the announcement of our Grid Great of the Week.

Matt Paul can be reached on Twitter at @mattauge, while Matt Oakes can be contacted at @moakes3.

The Grid: Carrboro High Jaguars

We wrap up our weekly preseason high school football series with a trip up over to Carrboro High School. The Jaguars struggled to a 4-7 finish last season. But now, a new era begins for Jaguar football with Jason Tudryn’s departure for UNC and longtime defensive coordinator Melvin Griffin stepping in to take the reins.

***Listen to the story***

A year after a 15-1 season that ended with a state runner-up finish, the Jaguars failed to replicate any of that kind of championship magic in 2013.

Coach Griffin, who assumed the head coaching duties in June, will have his hands full getting the Jaguars back to the top of the 2A Mid-State conference this fall.

Coach Griffin had been working with the former Carrboro skipper Tudryn since 2007. But Coach Griffin says their connection goes back even further, to their days playing college football.

“It was great to work under Coach Tudryn. We realized through our conversations in the summer of ’07 that we played against each other while he was at UMass and I was at William & Mary in the Yankee conference. He gave me full control of the defense,” Coach Griffin says.

The coaching duo grew close on and off the field. Coach Griffin says his former boss helped him improve as a game planner.

“We worked together for the past seven years. Our families have grown close. Our kids have grown up together. I learned a lot from Coach Tudryn about studying films and practice plans,” Coach Griffin says.

Coach Griffin says offseason workouts have garnered impressive attendance. But he says the offensive and defensive line depth remains an issue heading into Friday night’s scrimmage just a week out from the regular season opener against Cedar Ridge.

“We had great attendance. Things are going smoothly. We’re trying to replace our entire defensive and offensive lines. That’s where we’ve been slow. But we’re getting ready for our scrimmage,” Coach Griffin says.

Former head coach Jason Tudryn with players (N&O)

Former head coach Jason Tudryn with players (N&O)

What is Coach Griffin specifically looking for in the final days of preparation? For starters, he says he’s most excited about the talent and skill returning at the perimeter positions.

“We’re looking for our perimeter skill guys to compete. We have a lot of talent coming back on the perimeter. They gained a lot of experience last year playing as freshmen and sophomores due to the injuries we had,” Coach Griffin says.

The quarterback position is up for grabs at Carrboro due to an injury incurred during basketball season that opened up a signal caller showdown between two unproven seniors.

In addition to identifying a starter there, Coach Griffin says he’s stressing the importance of their protection, and that must come from the offensive linemen.

“All in all, we know the young offensive line is going to make mistakes. What we’re really looking for is for the linemen to be aggressive and fire off the ball,” Coach Griffin says.

Coach Griffin’s Jaguars face a daunting early nonconference schedule that includes competitive 3A and 4A squads. But he says he relishes the challenge and thinks it will help his team for conference play down the line.

“It helps us out a lot. We’ll see multiple formations and different styles. Northwood has a lot of talent coming back. Chapel Hill is up-and-coming this year. We do have a challenging non-conference schedule that will help us prepare,” Coach Griffin says.

As far as what will constitute a successful year for Carrboro, Coach Griffin is keeping it short and simple.

“A successful year is a return trip to the playoffs. Once we get into the playoffs, we’ll let the chips fall where they may, but we’re really looking forward to a return trip to the playoffs,” Coach Griffin says.

The Grid: Chapel Hill High Tigers

The high school football season is rapidly approaching. With that in mind, here’s the launch of a new preseason series to get you ready for all the exciting game broadcasts this fall that will kick off each Friday night with ‘The Grid with Matt & Matt’ on WCHL, 97.9 FM.

First up comes Chapel Hill High School and Tiger head coach Isaac Marsh.

***Listen to the story***

After a couple superb seasons in 2011 and 2012, the Tigers were never able to find their footing a season ago, stumbling to a 4-8 final mark in 2013.

Coach Marsh says the injuries and inexperience were just too much for Chapel Hill to overcome.

“We were never quite there. We were in several games, but we were never quite able to finish the games out. That comes from injuries and just having a young team,” Coach Marsh says.

But the Tigers were competitive. Most notably, in a 6-0 narrow defeat to then undefeated Orange High School that memorably ended on a last-second touchdown as time expired.

But Coach Marsh is looking for more. He says he’s liked what he’s seen in offseason workouts so far for a couple of positive reasons.

“The offseason has been an interesting one. I think we’ve improved greatly with the numbers of guys that are coming out to play football. That’s a positive. The next thing that we have noticed is the high energy in workouts,” Coach Marsh says.

The Tigers are getting it done on the scoreboard as well. Chapel Hill claimed the title at the 7-on-7 tournament in Pinecrest earlier this summer.

Who are the guys to watch out for in black and gold this season? Coach Marsh says he has two big-time players in mind.

“They have been playing up on varsity for a long time now. Logan Tisch is a top college prospect with offers and Noah Layden as well. Those are our two top guys. We return a strong nucleus of guys up front,” Coach Marsh says.

Speaking of the guys up front, Coach Marsh says the linemen on both sides of the ball will be the strengths of the Tiger team.

“On the offensive line, we return four out of our five starters from last season. On the defensive line, we return all four starters. So definitely, up front for us in the trenches, that’s where our strength lies,” Coach Marsh says.

Isaac Marsh (

Isaac Marsh (

With such a veteran-laden offensive line, it’s easy to envision some success moving the ball for Chapel Hill this fall. But on the other side of the spectrum, Coach Marsh says he worries about complacency in his team.

He says he wants to impress upon the Tigers to be focused on upping the ante at every practice.

“Our players have to constantly improve on something each day. Don’t just when you come out here, ‘I don’t have anything to work on. I’m just going to go through the normal flow.’ Whatever you improved upon or learned the day before, try to increase it the next day,” Coach Marsh says.

Although the Tigers have even loftier aspirations, Coach Marsh says the team is staying local with its goals first.

“We want to be the top school in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district. We want to beat Carrboro. We want to beat East [Chapel Hill]. From that goal, we want to win the county. We want to beat Orange and Cedar Ridge. If we’re able to do that, that’s four wins right there,” Coach Marsh says.

If Chapel Hill finds a way to be crowned town and county champions in 2014, given the tough competition in the area, there promises to be more success at the conference, and maybe even state levels, for Coach Marsh and the Tigers.

The Grid with Matt & Matt: Playoffs-Round Two

CHAPEL HILL–  The hunt for the high school football state championship rolls on Friday night with the second round of the playoffs. Postseason play leaves no room for error and 11-1 Orange High School looks to stay alive when they face Cleveland.

Tune in to the 11-1 Orange “Crush” Panthers as they attempt to set up a rematch with Southern Durham, the team that spoiled their run at an undefeated regular season a couple weeks ago. Head Coach Pat Moser’s squad will be traveling to take on a worthy opponent in 9-3 Cleveland. Orange will need their stingy defense to slow down the Ram attack.

Tune in to coverage from Clayton with Paul Connell and Jeff Hamlin Friday at 7 p.m. on 97. 9 FM, WCHL and streaming live on

And don’t forget, Friday at 6:30 p.m., WCHL’s lively duo of Matt Oakes and Matt Paul wil have your pregame show. They’ll be breaking down the big game, sitting down with the head coaches of many of your favorite teams, releasing WCHL/’s Super Six rankings, making some bold predictions, and unveiling The Grid Great of the Week. And this week, Matt & Matt will be selecting their Play of the 2013 Regular Season.

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

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

Opinion: The Whole Nine Yards

PURE PREMIUM ORANGE:  It’s disappointing but probably appropriate that Orange is the lone remaining squad from our area to still be in the state high school football playoffs.

Despite a tough regular season finale loss at Southern Durham, Orange is a premier program in the entire region. The Panthers, whom we re-dubbed the ‘Crush’ as an homage to the John Elway/Tom Jackson Broncos of the past and this team’s awesome defense, moved on to the second round with a 31-3 win over Rocky Mount.

Orange lived up to its billing, collecting five sacks in yet another stellar defensive effort.

The ‘Crush’ will take on a tough Cleveland squad in round two. Cleveland thumped Gray’s Creek 33-13. Isaac Martin ran for 117 yards and three scores while Aaron Farmer threw for 114 yards and ran for 109 more to lead the victors.

DOWN AND OUT: Chapel Hill was thumped by Southern Durham 40-6 and Pittsboro fell to Eastern Alamance in a 56-21 rout, capping both their seasons.

Brandon Wendel, a WCHL/ ‘Grid Great of the Week’ during the regular season, opened the scoring with a four-yard touchdown run but the Spartans rolled from there behind quarterback Kendall Hinton’s 67-yard scamper. The senior amassed 352 yards of total offense – 181 passing, 171 rushing – and two touchdowns.

The Chargers were never in their road contest, as Bill Hall’s troops fell behind 35-0 at the half. Malcolm Summers had three touchdowns – 40- and 50-yard rushing plays and a 73-yard pass reception for the winners, who travel to nemesis Western Alamance tonight.

‘MATT & MATT’ ROLL ON: Matt Oakes and I will recap all three playoff tilts, interview an area coach or two and select our WCHL/ ‘Grid Great Of The Week’ Friday night at 6p on our weekly show. If time allows, which lately is has not in our jam-packed show, we’ll also run down our ‘Super Six’ poll of area teams.

Last week, Orange proved it’s a worthy No. 1 with the area’s lone playoff win, while No. 2 and No. 3 Northwood and Chapel Hill bowed out in the opening round. The Chargers still had an impressive campaign, while the Tigers competed in several games but failed to pull out a significant win.

No. 4 Carrboro opened the season 3-0, including a win over Chapel Hill, but floundered in dropping seven of eight. No. 5 East Chapel Hill and No. 6 Cedar Ridge capped their regular seasons with improved play but they are where they are in the poll for a reason.

The Grid w/ Matt & Matt: Playoffs-Round 1

CHAPEL HILL– The brackets are set. And the hunt for the state championship begins Friday night with the first round of the playoffs. Postseason play leaves no room for error as three of our area schools face elimination.

On at 7 p.m., tune in to the 10-1 Orange “Crush” Panthers as they attempt to rebound from that stunning loss at Southern Durham last week. Head Coach Pat Moser’s squad will be hosting a worthy opponent in Rocky Mount. Orange will need their stingy defense to reemerge to make a deep push into the tournament.

Will the Panthers be able to shut down the Rocky Mount attack and advance to the second round of the playoffs? You won’t want to miss any of the action.

Tune in to coverage from Hillsborough with Jeff Hamlin Friday at 7 p.m. exclusively on

In the other feature game of the night, Chapel Hill will head over to Southern Durham to take on the high-flying attack of the 9-2 conference champion Spartans. The Chapel Hill Tigers are a much more formidable team than their 4-7 record suggests so this one could be a competitive affair.

Tune in to coverage from Durham with Paul Connell Friday at 7 p.m. exclusively on

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/’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 by clicking here.

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