NEW CHAPEL HILL — Missing the first three games of the season due to injury, senior fullback Tre Allen returned to the field Friday night and made an immediate impact.
Allen hauled in a 61-yard, fourth-quarter reception that set up the game-winning touchdown in top-ranked Chapel Hill’s 29-22 win over Hallsville in the Bulldogs’ home opener.
Chapel Hill (4-0) fell behind 22-21 late in the third quarter after Cayden Ferrill returned an interception 40 yards for a Hallsville (1-2) touchdown.
But Allen, who finished with 91 yards on six catches, found himself wide open for the big catch-and-run that set up Jay Reagan’s 1-yard score on the next play — his third touchdown of the night. Allen was also on the receiving end of the ensuing two-point conversion that put the Bulldogs ahead for good with 4:13 remaining in the game.
Reagan finished with 185 yards on 21 attempts. His 73-yard touchdown run on Chapel Hill’s first drive of the second half put the Bulldogs in front 21-9, but Hallsville responded with the leg of kicker Austin Lightle.
His fourth and fifth field goals of the night brought the Bobcats to within 21-15 late in the third quarter before Hallsville scored its only touchdown of the night on the interception return on the ensuing drive for Chapel Hill.
Lightle’s field goals went for 39, 36, 38, 42 and 42 yards.
Chapel Hill’s Anthony Kincade, in his first start at quarterback after Avery Saenz was lost for the remainder of the regular season, completed 12 of 19 throws for 238 yards and a touchdown.
Already playing without Saenz, running backs Andrew Tucker and Rex Rollins and defensive tackle Sir Calvin Wallace, Chapel Hill lost another starter to injury midway through the second quarter when standout receiver and defensive back Avery Henderson was removed from the field on a stretcher.
There was no immediate information regarding the severity of Henderson’s injury.
After fumbling on its opening possession of the game, the Bulldogs marched down the field on their next drive, scoring on Reagan’s 10-yard run.
Hallsville, while not able to punch it in the end zone, scored on three of its next four possessions — all courtesy of Lightle field goals. His 38-yarder put the Bobcats up 9-7 with three minutes left in the half.
Chapel Hill took the lead right back when Kincade lofted a 37-yard pass into the arms of Patrick Day for a touchdown and a 14-9 lead with 1:47 to go until halftime.
No. 1 Chapel Hill 29, Hallsville 22
At Bulldog Stadium, New Chapel Hill
Hallsville 3 6 13 0 — 22
Chapel Hill 7 7 7 8 — 29
CH—Jay Reagan 10 run (Tyler Brown kick), 7:52.
HAL—FG Austin Lightle 39, 4:10.
HAL—FG Lightle 36, 11:54.
HAL—FG Lightle 38, 3:00.
CH—Patrick Day 37 pass from Anthony Kincade (Brown kick), 1:47.
CH—Reagan 73 run (Brown kick), 9:02.
HAL—FG Lightle 42, 5:37.
HAL—FG Lightle 42, 2:52.
HAL—Cayden Ferrill 40 interception return (Lightle kick), 1:48.
CH—Reagan 1 run (Tre Allen pass from Kincade), 4:13.
First Downs 15 17
Rushes-Yards 33-114 37-202
Passing Yards 178 238
Comp.-Att.-Int. 17-38-2 12-19-1
Punts-Avg. 6-50.2 6-31.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 3-3
Penalties-Yards 7-35 4-24
RUSHING—Hallsville, Thaddeus Fagan 20-64, Ronnie Gideon 12-35, B.J. Wilder 1-15. Chapel Hill, Jay Reagan 21-185, Jalen Williams 5-14, Tre Allen 2-9, Anthony Kincade 8-(-1), Londreyus Johnson 1-(-5).
PASSING—Hallsville, Gideon 17-38-2—178. Chapel Hill, Kincade 12-19-1—238.
RECEIVING—Hallsville, Wilder 5-60, Darrian Gilmore 4-57, J.C. Daily 4-21, Fagan 2-16, Coby Bradford 1-17, Seyth Glezen 1-7. Chapel Hill, Allen 6-91, Nelson Onwuzu 3-77, Patrick Day 1-37, Deaveron Dean 1-24, Avery Henderson 1-9.