The UNC defense improved against the run Saturday night at Clemson, but the big plays down the field engineered by freshman Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson doomed the Tar Heels.
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“We didn’t make enough plays on offense, and we gave up too many big plays on defense. That’s all there was to it,” UNC head coach Larry Fedora says.
For Carolina’s much-maligned defense, Saturday was a bit of a mixed bag. The Tar Heels managed to stop the Clemson rushing attack, giving up a stingy 71 yards on the ground.
But through the air, it was another story altogether.
Watson torched the UNC secondary to the tune of 435 yards and six touchdowns. Watson’s six touchdowns tied an ACC record.
All in all, following Saturday, UNC’s pass defense ranks second to last nationally, ahead of only Bowling Green. Shockingly, the Tar Heels average giving up 6.62 yards per play. No power five conference team is allowing more yardage per snap of the football.
Coach Fedora says the only thing that kept UNC hanging around in the contest was their success against the run.
“There were too many major mistakes on the back end. We turned them loose. We’ll have to figure out what went wrong in those situations. We did do a much better job against the run, which gave us a chance,” Coach Fedora says.
On the other side of the ball, Coach Fedora says he was pleased with the play of junior signal caller Marquise Williams, especially given the duress he was under most of the night.
“I thought he stood tough the entire game. He had a lot of pressure. They have a very good defensive line. We knew that was going to happen against our offensive line. Marquise got the ball out. There were just a couple times that he held onto it. Other than that, I think he did a nice job,” Coach Fedora says.
Williams’ four touchdown passes at Clemson moved his career scoring throws up to 25, he is now just one shy of the top 10 in school history.
Looking across the field at Clemson’s quarterback, Coach Fedora says he was thoroughly impressed with the maturity of Watson in leading the Tiger attack.
“He did a really nice job. The kid can throw the ball and run it. He’s a very good player and going to be really good in the future,” Coach Fedora says.
Despite recording their second loss of the year, Coach Fedora says he was happy with the competitiveness and fight displayed by his players.
“Our guys fought. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. There was no lack of confidence that people were worried about. Our guys got after it. We just didn’t make enough plays,” Coach Fedora says.
But in order for Carolina to be successful moving forward, it’s not so much the plays they need to make; it’s the big plays they’ll need to prevent opponents from making that will likely decide UNC football’s 2014 fate.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-defense-still-struggling-find-form/
The North Carolina football team fell behind 17-0 early and couldn’t recover in a 50-35 loss at Clemson Saturday night, dropping to 2-2 on the season.
With the win, the Tigers evened their record up at 2-2 on the year. For the third straight season, the Tar Heels have now dropped their conference opener
Clemson freshman signal caller Deshaun Watson threw for 435 yards and set a school record with six touchdown passes in his first ever start to lead the Tigers to the victory.
The 19-year-old didn’t shrink in the spotlight. Watson completed 27 of his 36 passes.
Watson’s six TDs tied the ACC record and only Tajh Boyd has thrown for more yards in a game for Clemson.
The Tar Heel defense continued to struggle, giving up 528 yards, and has now allowed its opponent to gain more than 500 yards in the past three games.
Mike Williams had six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns for Clemson, which has scored 49 or more points in five of its last 10 ACC games.
UNC was clamping down on the run game, but Watson excelled.
Watson had a 50-yard TD pass to Hopper in the second quarter, waiting in the pocket until the last moment to drop the pass right into the receiver’s hands. Clemson gained 218 yards in the first half, with Watson’s two long passes accounting for more than half that total.
In the second half, Watson had two 33-yard touchdown passes and a 24-yard scoring throw before tight end Jordan Leggett jumped high in the end zone to pull in the freshman’s record-breaking TD pass.
Clemson needed Watson’s passing as the Tigers gained only 71 yards on the ground.
Artavis Scott had eight catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, while Hopper caught three passes for 139 yards and 2 TDs.
Ammon Lakip hit a 27-yard and a 45-yard field goal. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney stuck with the junior kicker after he missed two field goals in last week’s overtime loss to No. 1 Florida State.
The Tar Heels are still struggling, a week after allowing the most yards, points and first downs in school history. On Saturday night, the Tar Heels had 15 penalties, one off the school record, for 130 yards, which was 20 yards away from their worst game.
Marquise Williams was 24-of-38 for 345 yards for North Carolina and threw to 13 different receivers. Elijah Hood ran 13 times for 71 yards to lead the team in rushing.
Next up for the Tar Heels is a home contest in Chapel Hill against ACC Coastal foe Virginia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 4.
CLEMSON – Freshman forward Megan Buckingham scored on header with 13:01 to play in the second half to lift #9 North Carolina to a 2-1 victory over #16 Clemson in women’s soccer action at Historic Riggs Field. It was an evenly played match between the two teams before a crowd of 1,853 fans.
Buckingham’s game-winner, her second of the season, came nine minutes after Clemson had tied the game on a goal by Salma Anastasio in the 68th minute. UNC had led 1-0 since the fourth minute of the game on a goal by Joanna Boyles, assisted by Summer Green.
UNC has now won four straight matches, all against Top 20 NSCAA-ranked teams, and improves to 5-2-1 on the campaign and 2-0-0 in the ACC. Both Tar Heel conference wins have come in tough road environments at Notre Dame and Clemson. The Tigers, who started the year 7-0-1, have now dropped back-to-back matches against Top 10 teams Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Clemson is 7-2-1 overall and 0-2 in the league. UNC has now won 28 of 29 matches in the all-time series against the Tigers.
The stats ended up as mirror images of each other as both teams took 11 shots, had two corner kicks and six fouls. UNC goalkeepers Bryane Heaberlin and Lindsey Harris combined for six saves, making four and two, respectively. Kailen Sheridan made three saves for the Tigers.
The Tar Heels got on the board with 41:17 left in the first half as Joanna Boyles scored her second goal of the season on a header off a corner kick by Summer Green. Cameron Castleberry dribbled with the ball deep into the right corner and earned the corner kick. Green stepped up and sent a perfect ball from the corner to Boyles who was stationed at the far post. Boyles headed the ball from three yards out and it glanced off the left post and hit the underside of the interior netting. Boyles now has three career goals, two in the last two games.
Carolina and Clemson both had six shots in the first half. UNC starting goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin made four first half saves to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard. Her best save of the half came on a shot by Tina Shakes at the 16:42 mark of the half. The Tigers also had a dangerous chance in the 39th minute when a ball bounced around the Tar Heel penalty area before a Clemson shot by Catrina Atanda was deflected into the outside left netting.
In the 52nd minute, Carolina almost doubled its lead as Joanna Boyles fed a perfect through ball to Amber Munerlyn who got behind the Clemson defense. Clemson goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan smartly came off her line to cut down the angle and kicked Munerlyn’s shot away at the 12-yard line.
Clemson tied the score at 67:28 of the match after the Tar Heels committed a foul near midfield. The ball was sent into the box where an initial shot by Savannah Coiner was deflected by the Tar Heel defense. The ball fell directly to the Tigers’ Salma Anastasio who looped a shot from 12 yards out over UNC goalkeeper Lindsey Harris, who had replaced Heaberlin at halftime.
UNC regained the lead 2-1 with 13:01 to play in the second half as freshman Megan Buckingham tallied her second goal of the season off assists by Paige Nielsen and Jewel Christian. Tar Heel freshman forward Christian tracked down a pass deep in the left corner of the pitch, kept the ball alive and fed Nielsen on the left side of the penalty area. Nielsen settled the ball, shifted to her left foot and sent a nifty cross to Buckingham who headed her shot from the six-yard line into the lower left corner of the goal.
The Tar Heels held off the Tigers over the last 13 minutes of play to emerge with the victory, Carolina’s fourth in a row after a 1-2-1 start.
UNC returns to action again on Sunday when it plays at local rival NC State at 1 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN3.
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“They’re really good. They’re really good on defense. They’ve settled on their quarterback for the offense with freshman Deshaun Watson, who’s a very talented young man. He can run or throw. It will definitely be a task,” UNC head coach Larry Fedora says.
UNC will need to reverse its recent trend in head-to-head battles with Clemson as the Tar Heels have dropped four of their last five meetings against the Tigers, including the most recent encounter, a 59-38 loss in 2011.
But Coach Fedora has never taken on Clemson. In his maiden campaign against the Tigers, he’ll be saddled with more inexperience than he’d like.
Coach Fedora says he’s had to work on his patience with the extreme youth on UNC’s roster.
“When you’re playing with young guys, you know there will be mistakes made. I don’t have a whole lot of patience. I have more patience than I used to have, because I have three daughters now. It’s still tough for me. Every day is tough. You want to be as good as you can possibly be every single day,” Coach Fedora says.
For junior wide receiver T.J. Thorpe, an athlete who has persevered through numerous ankle injuries, the key for the Tar Heels is to just keep it simple and compete hard 100 percent of the time.
“We just need to play hard. Above all, that’s the thing that I feel like we lack. We need to play hard and sustain playing hard – just compete. We have good players the same way they do. We have talented guys who can make plays. That’s it – focus, attention to detail and play as hard as we can,” Thorpe says.
With an experienced defensive unit at Clemson that includes National Player of the Week Stephone Anthony, the young UNC offensive line figures to have its hands full.
Sophomore offensive tackle John Ferranto says he’s prepared for a rugged battle Saturday night.
“They’re an experienced group. The interior linemen are big, strong and quick. Their defensive ends are quick and really good pass rushers. They have a really good group on defense,” Ferranto says.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney recognizes the challenge of facing a UNC offense that he says is the most up-tempo unit the Tigers have faced.
Coach Swinney says the best defense against the Tar Heels will be a good offense.
“We are a tempo team ourselves, but they’re a little faster than us. We’re trying to do some things ‘good on good’ to try to prepare our guys, use our scouts and get them ready for the tempo that they’ll see. But the biggest thing that we have to do is take care of the football on our side. We’ve got to do a good job offensively and keep them off the field,” Coach Swinney says.
The Tigers have returned 8 starters on their defense. To put that in perspective, the Tar Heels returned a total of 10 starters on their entire team.
Coach Fedora is concerned from the havoc the Tiger defense can create, especially from veteran defensive end Vic Beasley.
“The Vic Beasley kid that everybody talks about is as good as everybody says. He’s relentless and has speed like a defensive back or receiver. He’s quick as a cat. They’ve got guys that can run at every position. They have a lot of confidence right now,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora identifies two keys to the game – big plays on special teams and stopping the run.
“Starting with special teams, we’ve got to have a game-changing play, we really do. We have to make some plays. It’s going to be vital for our success this week. Jumping over to defense, we have to stop the run,” Coach Fedora says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/tar-heels-hoping-tame-tigers-death-valley/
WCHL’s Matt Oakes caught up with Tiger head coach Dabo Swinney as his squad prepares to host the Tar Heels Saturday night. Among other things, the two discussed the legendary Death Valley atmosphere, the emergence of freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson and the best way to stop UNC’s Ryan Switzer on special teams.
***Listen to the conversation***http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/scouting-report-chat-clemson-coach-dabo-swinney/
Commissioner Davis Whitfield of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association confirmed Wednesday that the eight NCHSAA basketball championship games culminating the 2014-15 season will all be played in Chapel Hill.
Four games will be played at the Smith Center and four games at Carmichael Arena, both on the campus of the University of North Carolina, all on Saturday, March 14. The 2-A and 4-A games for men and women will be played at the Smith Center while the 1-A and 3-A contests are slated fro Carmichael Arena.
State basketball championship games have been held at the Smith Center and at Reynolds Coliseum on the North Carolina State University campus every year since 2003, with specific classifications for men and women alternating between the two sites. But major renovations scheduled for Reynolds Coliseum make it unavailable for use for state championship play.
“We look forward to contesting the 2015 NCHSAA state basketball championships on the campus of the University of North Carolina,” said Whitfield. “Since the NCHSAA moved to neutral sites for basketball championships, the Smith Center has figured prominently in that mix, with the first championship there in 1986 not long the after the Smith Center opened. Due to construction taking place at Reynolds, we have to make an adjustment and we thank UNC and its administration for its willingness to open its campus to all four classes of NCHSAA basketball.”
For a number of years, men’s games were played at the Smith Center and women’s at Carmichael Auditorium, and then for a couple of seasons all eight games were played at the Smith Center before the Raleigh-Chapel Hill rotation was developed.http://chapelboro.com/sports/high-school/nchsaa-basketball-finals-played-chapel-hill-season/
The Chapel Hill High boy’s basketball team is introducing a new head coach in the form of Bill Walton. No, he’s not the legendary player from UCLA and the NBA, but this Walton is a 28-year veteran of the game.
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Coach Walton, however, recalls a memorable conversation concerning his more famous namesake.
“I reached out to his folks and I said, ‘This is Coach Bill Walton.’ She was like, ‘Really? Coach Bill Walton?’ I said, ‘Really’. She said, ‘Wow. I don’t know about him going over there now. I didn’t know Coach Bill Walton was there at Grimsley.’ I said, ‘Ma’am, I’m not the seven-footer. I’ve got a tan,” Coach Walton says.
But all jokes aside, this Coach Walton is a Virginia boy who grew up in Roanoke and later attended James Madison University. It didn’t take long for Walton to make his way down to North Carolina where he took a job as assistant coach at Greensboro Grimsley in 1989.
In 1992, Walton says a firestorm broke out involving the head coach and a black student in a P.E. class. But Walton is proud of how the team responded from the incident.
“He was accused of choking and assaulting a kid in his P.E. class. He happened to be black. You can only imagine in a city like Greensboro – all the complexities of that case. It was a trying time for everybody. I got the team and community together and had a terrific season,” Coach Walton says.
That was how Walton first assumed a head coaching position. He stayed at Grimsley until 2002, spent a few years at Southwest Guilford and then wound up at Reidsville High, located in the hometown of his wife, where he went 145-72 including a 26-4 season and a run to the NCHSAA 2A East Region Finals in 2012.
For health reasons, citing tension headaches, Coach Walton says he was advised to step aside by the Reidsville principal. He reluctantly obliged, but says he is not taking any medications for the headaches.
“When you’ve been around as long as I have, you just stick with it. You tell your kids that. You finish what you start. I talked about it with my family. I didn’t want to be a distraction to the kids. So reluctantly, I stepped aside,” Coach Walton says.
Coach Walton says the Chapel Hill job was at the top of his prospect list due to the attractive community and the plethora of basketball camps and facilities located in the region known nationwide for its high level basketball at all levels.
Former Chapel Hill High head coach Lason Perkins was surprisingly let go from his interim position. It was an unpopular decision by many players and assistant coaches.
Coach Walton says he understands the situation, empathizes with Coach Perkins and his staff, but is ready to do his job.
“I have no idea what happened in the process. There was an opening. I applied, interviewed and was offered the job,” Coach Walton says.
In addition, Coach Walton says he’s been reaching out to members of the previous staff to forge friendly relationships.
When asked about the added pressures and expectations of the Chapel Hill job, Coach Walton says he relishes the opportunity ahead and thrives in those situations. In fact, he says he expects a breakout season next year.
“Looking at the roster and the people coming back, I’m looking forward to a really good year – perhaps maybe the best year they’ve had here in five or six years,” Coach Walton says.
And for Tar Heel fans, there’s another perk to having Coach Walton in town stalking the sidelines for the Tigers. He says he plays Carolina-style basketball.
“We’re a lot like Carolina. We run Carolina fast break and we try to diagonally kick the ball up just like you see them do. We do that very well. That’s something we did very well at all the schools I’ve been at. We run the Carolina secondary break – both phases of it. We come to the floor and we’re running ‘Carolina’,” Coach Walton says.
It looks like Coach Walton has come to the right place. If he ever needs any advice on running the “Carolina”, UNC Head Coach Roy Williams will be just down the street.http://chapelboro.com/sports/high-school/bill-walton-excited-chapel-hill-basketball-head-coaching-job/
Chapel Hill High School may have a new boys’ basketball head coach by next week.
After athletic director and head coach Tod Morgan’s departure, Chapel Hill High was left without a coach and without an AD in the middle of the 2013-2014 school year.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Executive Director for Community Relations, Jeff Nash says that left the administration in need of swift action.
“When this vacancy came open, there was not much time before the start of the season, and there was no athletic director to really lead a coaching search,” Nash says. “So an interim coach was named with the intention of guiding the team through the season, and, while that was happening, a new athletic director would be hired. Upon completion of the season, there would be a more thorough search for a more permanent coach.”
Lason Perkins served as assistant coach under Morgan for four years. He was named interim head coach before the start of the ’13-’14 season. He says he was aware that the position was only an interim role and that a search was going to be conducted.
Nash says being named interim head coach didn’t have any effect on the length of the contract Perkins was given.
“In our district, all of our coaches are hired for only one season at a time,” Nash says. “They are not ongoing contracts; each year is a new contract.”
Nash says the job was posted on the district’s website as well as the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) website, and he says it received many applicants.
Perkins says he applied for the head coach position and made it to the second interview. However, he says he has been informed that he was not offered the position.
Nash says a candidate may be selected in time for the Board of Education to review the new hire by next Thursday’s board meeting.http://chapelboro.com/sports/high-school/chhs-seeks-new-boys-basketball-coach/
Chapel Hill High School soccer head coach Ron Benson says he’ll coach his final game Saturday, win or lose.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association State Championship appearance is the first in CHHS womens’ soccer program history. The Tigers enter the title game as a No. 9 seed. So far Chapel Hill has taken down No. 1 seed Cardinal Gibbons, No. 2 seed Fike, and No. 5 seed Swansboro in the Regional Final. The Championship pits CHHS against West Regional Champion and No. 6 seed Weddington.
The Tigers have only lost one game this year: a 1-0 decision to Cardinal Gibbons in the regular season.
Coach Benson joined Ron Stutts on the WCHL Friday Morning News to discuss Saturday’s matchup and the remarkable season the Tigers have already seen.
***Listen to the Interview***
If the UNC baseball team wins in the NCAA Regionals Friday, Saturday’s NCHSAA State Championship game will be broadcast live on 97.9 FM, 1360 AM, and here at 2:00 p.m. If Carolina loses Friday, Saturday’s soccer game can be heard here.http://chapelboro.com/sports/high-school/tigers-seek-first-womens-soccer-state-title/
The Chapel Hill High School girls’ soccer team appears in its first state title game in program history Saturday after defeating Fike High School of Wilson Tuesday, 2-0 in the East Regional Championship.
The Tigers have made the run through the postseason as the No. 9 seed in the East Region defeating the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 5 seeds along the way.
Tune in Friday morning to hear from Tiger head coach, Ron Benson, live on the WCHL Morning News.