NEW CHAPEL HILL — Anthony Kincade’s days as starting quarterback for Chapel Hill may be numbered, but the senior is leaving a lasting impression.
Kincade ran for a career-best 215 yards and three touchdowns to lead the top-ranked Bulldogs past Rusk, 51-7, Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
Chapel Hill (9-0, 3-0 in District 17-3A) lost original starting quarterback Avery Saenz to injury in the third week of the season, and Kincade has stepped in and led the Bulldogs to seven straight victories.
Saenz, who suffered a fracture to his right leg, could return to the starting lineup as early as Nov. 4 for Chapel Hill’s regular-season finale at Athens. The Bulldogs will be off next week.
If it is the end for Kincade at quarterback, the converted wide receiver will exit after rushing for more yards than any Chapel Hill player has this season. His scoring runs covered 12, 19 and 31 yards. Kincade also completed 8 of 13 attempts for 128 yards.
Four other Bulldogs — Rex Rollins, Joseph Clark, Tre Allen and Jalen Williams — found the end zone on the ground, as Chapel Hill rolled up 449 rushing yards.
The Bulldogs dominated on the other side of the ball, limiting Rusk (2-6, 1-1) to just 98 total yards and three first downs. The Eagles’ lone touchdown of the night was courtesy of Chaston Bennett’s 91-yard kickoff return to begin the game.
Following Bennett’s kickoff return and three-and-out for the Chapel Hill offense, the Bulldogs went to work and scored on their next four possessions.
Kincade gained 47 yards on a keeper to the Rusk 4-yard line, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed it back to the 19. On third-and-goal, Kincade hit Avery Henderson who dragged several Rusk defenders down to the 1. Allen took the wildcat snap on fourth down and reached the end zone to tie the game, 7-7.
Chapel Hill’s next possession began on the Eagles’ 37 after a short punt. And on the first play, Rollins took it the distance to give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead with 2:56 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs took a little longer on their next possession to score, utilizing a seven-play, 74-yard drive. Clark gave Chapel Hill a two-touchdown advantage on an 18-yard run early in the second period.
The Bulldogs built on their lead when they got the ball back, using a 34-yard pass from Kincade to Jay Reagan and a 24-yarder to Henderson along the way. Kincade finished it off by racing 12 yards to end zone to give Chapel Hill a 28-7 lead midway through the second.
Chapel Hill had a chance just before halftime to score again, but Kincade’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by Bennett with less than a minute to go in the first half.
No. 1 Chapel Hill 28, Rusk 7
At Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill
Rusk 7 0 0 0 — 7
Chapel Hill 14 14 10 13 — 51
RUS—Chaston Bennett 91 kickoff return (Leoncio Rivera kick), 11:48.
CH—Tre Allen 1 run (Tyler Brown kick), 4:52.
CH—Rex Rollins 37 run (Brown kick), 2:56.
CH—Joseph Clark 18 run (Brown kick), 10:15.
CH—Anthony Kincade 12 run (Brown kick), 6:13.
CH—FG Brown 26, 5:34.
CH—Kincade 19 run (Brown kick), :41.
CH—Jalen Williams 25 run (Brown kick), 10:06.
CH—Kincade 31 run (kick failed), 7:36.
First Downs 3 27
Passing Yards 22 128
Comp.-Att.-Int. 2-5-0 8-14-1
Punts-Avg. 8-35.9 2-36.0
RUSHING—Rusk, Kody Stanley 8-26, Chaston Bennett 8-20, Derrick McDuff Jr. 6-20, David Overstreet 6-14, Zachris Sturns 2-(-4). Chapel Hill, Anthony Kincade 13-215, Rex Rollins 13-83, Joseph Clark 8-60, Jay Reagan 4-36, Jalen Williams 6-34, Wesley Thompson 2-18, Tre Allen 3-5, Avery Henderson 1-5, Gabriel Robinson 2-(-7).
PASSING—Rusk, Sturns 1-4-0—23, Stanley 1-1-0—(-1). Chapel Hill, Kincade 8-13-1—128, Patrick Day 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING—Rusk, McDuff 1-23, Bennett 1-(-1). Chapel Hill, Henderson 3-55, Allen 2-13, Reagan 1-34, Nelson Onwuzu 1-17, Deaveron Dean 1-9.