NEW CHAPEL HILL — Chapel Hill has a difficult football schedule lined up for the 2019 season.
The Bulldogs have non-district contests against Crandall, Whitehouse, Argyle, Bullard and Pleasant Grove and are in the aptly named “District of Doom” of District 10-4A Division I that includes Carthage, Henderson, Kilgore, Van and Palestine.
As they get ready for their regular season slate, the Bulldogs hosted their first scrimmage on Friday against Class 4A Division II No. 2 Jasper at Bulldog Stadium.
Chapel Hill went toe-to-toe with the state-ranked visitors and fell 28-21 in the live portion.
“I’ve seen a lot of good things offensively, and I’ve seen a lot of good things with the culture of our team, just understanding that we’re a good team that can win games,” said head coach Jeff Riordan, who is in his first year at Chapel Hill. “They got their head down but picked it up and kept fighting. I was proud of our team. That’s a great football team. That’s a top 10 football team, and our kids got after it and played hard.”
The Bulldogs were able to evaluate all three quarterbacks on Friday — Kobe Coker, Khalan Griffin and Tanner Rudd.
“We’ve got a bunch of guys that can play football,” Riordan said. “Kobe has been running this offense since we were in the sixth grade. He knows it inside and out, so he can do some things because he knows the offense, knows what’s going to be open and knows what to check to. It’s like having a coach on the field. And he made some laser throws, some accurate throws. And having a guy like Khalan, he can break it at any time.”
When Griffin wasn’t playing quarterback, he was playing running back, and Rudd was at receiver when he wasn’t behind center.
Coker threw two touchdown passes in the live portion to two of the bright spots for Chapel Hill — freshmen Tyson Berry and Ilonzo “Deuce” McGregor. Berry’s was a 70-yard catch-and-score, while McGregor’s was from 12 yards out.
“Deuce and Tyson played really well,” Riordan said.
Rudd had a 70-yard touchdown pass in the controlled portion. Griffin had a 1-yard touchdown run in the controlled portion and then had a 38-yard touchdown run in the live portion after Jasper’s Montavien Hunt scored from 22 yards out.
The teams traded touchdowns in the live portion. After Chapel Hill tied the score at 21 with Coker’s connection to McGregor, Jasper took the lead with a 9-yard run from Reggie Shaw with 3:34 remaining. Rudd led the Bulldogs back down the field as time was expiring, but they came up short on fourth down from the Jasper 11-yard line.
“A lot of people will discredit what our defense did tonight, but that’s a hard offense that we haven’t been preparing for,” Riordan said. “I thought our defense did a good job, but there’s some things we’ve definitely got to clean up.
“Overall, I’m excited with where we’re at right now. We’re way ahead of where I thought we would be, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Chapel Hill will host Lindale for a scrimmage at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday.