A year ago, the Chapel Hill football team didn’t lose a game en route to a state title.
So far in 2012, the defending champion Bulldogs have yet to win one.
But, that doesn’t make them any less dangerous, as they come into Wildcat Stadium to face Palestine Friday.
“The 0-3 they have is playing an incredible schedule,” Angel said. “It’s a talented team, maybe the most talented team that we’ve played to this point. That team is going to get it together, at any moment, and they’re going to come out and be a great team.”
Chapel Hill’s three losses have come to Class 4A Lindale and Whitehouse, as well as Carthage.
Angel said he knows what a win like this could do for his program, even if Chapel Hill is 0-3 right now.
“Our kids, right now, as far as their concerned it’s the defending state champion and a team that played for the state championship the year before,” Angel said. “That’s how they’re looking at it and they’re fired up and just excited about being back at home.”
The Wildcats enter the game winners of two-straight, with a dominant rushing attack prevalent in both of the victories.
Palestine is averaging 240 yards per game on the ground in the last two games, both of which have been played without Darrius Stephens, the team’s leading rusher a season ago.
Stephens is expected back this week, as is starting offensive lineman Patrick Cross, giving Angel his full compliment of weapons heading into the game.
“(Stephens) looks good and healthy,” Angel said. “Last week was kind of a precautionary deal, early on. He felt pretty good last week but we all came to the agreement we were going to wait one more.
“He’s looked great in practice and we look forward getting him back onto the field.”
For the past two seasons, Chapel Hill has had one of the state’s most high-powered offenses and, while the numbers might not bear it out, Angel is convinced the Bulldogs have that ability once again.
Chapel Hill is only averaging a little more than 11 points per game this year, but are averaging almost 200 yards per contest on the ground. A slight contrast from the past two years, where the team was more pass-happy.
Palestine has had a lot of success stopping the run so far in 2012, giving up less than 140 yards per game on the ground.
Angel also said he likes the way his secondary is playing, for when Chapel Hill does decide to air it out.
“Every team is a different challenge,” Angel said. “The (Chapel Hill) offense is a spread but they offer a lot of different formations and motions that we’ve got to be disciplined on. We do feel good about the way the secondary is playing and especially the way they’re going after the ball.”
As far as passing game’s go, Palestine’s hasn’t been asked to do too much so far this season.
The Wildcats have yet to attempt more than 22 passes in a game, and those 22 attempts came in the opener against La Vega.
But, Angel knows that there will come a time when a team decides to take the Wildcat rushing attack out of the game, and at the moment the passing game will have to become a factor.
Based on what he’s seen from sophomore quarterback Gee Clark in his six-plus quarters of play this season, Angel is confident that the passing attack can succeed.
“Gee, at some point this year, is going to have a big breakout game. I don’t know what game it’s going to be,” Angel said. “Obviously, if we go into a ballgame and we’re having success running the ball, then our passing game is just going to be a compliment.
“There will be a time when we get into a ballgame and struggle running the ball, then that’s the game we’ll throw more and it’ll be a nice challenge for Gee and the receivers.”
As part of the school’s ongoing celebration of the football program’s 100th year of football play, rally towels will be given to the first 1,000 fans entering the gate at Friday’s game.
THIS WEEK IN PHS HISTORY
Sept. 29, 2000 — Palestine upsets top-ranked Crockett behind a fourth quarter comeback powered by running back John Reeves, and sealed by a last-minute interception from safety Marque McGruder.
All season long the Herald-Press will help celebrate 100 years of Palestine football with a “This Week in PHS History” tidbit. Have something you want to share? Email email@example.com.
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A year ago, the Chapel Hill football team didn’t lose a game en route to a state title.
- Local Sports
H.S. Athletics: Holden named new Cayuga ISD athletic director
It took just over a month for Cayuga ISD to find their new athletic director.
In a school board meeting Monday, the Cayuga school board hired current CHS assistant coach Russell Holden as its new athletic director and head football coach.
Holden, who has been on the staff at Cayuga for five years, will replace Greg Jenkins, who after three years at the helm is leaving for Tenaha.
Middle School Athletics: Palestine selects March, April 'Character Athletes'
The Palestine Junior High girls athletic program released their Character Athletes of the Month for both March and April recently.
Eighth graders Annalise Meyers (March) and Josie Soehnge (April), and seventh graders Madison Oliva (March) and Ashley Middleton were honored with the awards, which go to student athletes that lead not only on the field or court, but also in the classroom.
H.S. Softball Playoffs: Grapeland scores early and often in semifinal clincher
Just like in game one, the Grapeland Sandiettes jumped out to a big lead during Saturday's decisive Game 3 against the Joaquin.
The only difference is this time the Sandiettes never let off the gas on their way to a dominant 12-2 win over the Lady Rams in the do-or-die regional semifinal game.
With the win, Grapeland moves on to its third regional final in four years, where they will take on Beckville. It’s the third-straight year the teams will meet in the postseason.
H.S. Baseball Playoffs: Elkhart eases past Warren in Game 2
After needing three games to end its first two playoff series this postseason, the Elkhart baseball team made sure it didn’t happen a third time.
The Elks — who are seeking a second-straight trip to the state tournament — rolled past Warren Saturday, 6-0, at Lufkin’s Morris Franks Park. The win came a night after Elkhart topped the Warriors, 5-1, to open the series on Friday.
H.S. Softball Playoffs: Grapeland, Joaquin split games Friday
It was a tale of two games during Friday's Regional Semifinal between the Grapeland Sandiettes and Joaquin Lady Rams. The Sandiettes and Lady Rams combined for 22 runs in the Sandiettes 12-10 win in Game 1.
Game 2 was a much different as the teams wouldn't combine for 20 hits, or even 10 runs as the Lady Rams picked up a 4-2 win.
H.S. Football: Palestine's Owens leads strong class of area recruits
Palestine junior Jarrell Owens hasn’t ever played a significant down in a game for the Wildcats at linebacker in his football career.
Yet, the position is obviously where his future lies.
Owens is one of a handful of area juniors drawing significant college interest, and the Palestine running back/linebacker already holds an official offer from Texas Tech University.
H.S. Baseball Playoffs: Harleton shuts down Cayuga in regional quarterfinal
In an as-expected pitcher’s duel, it took only one off inning to cost Cayuga and ace Chantz Holland.
Holland gave up four hits and hit a batter in the top of the third inning, and Harleton turned that into four runs — the only runs of the game — as Harleton topped Cayuga, 4-0, here at the Lindale ISD Baseball and Softball Complex in regional quarterfinal action.
H.S. Baseball: Patchwork lineup still working for Cayuga
The Cayuga baseball team that will take the field tonight against Harleton in the regional quarterfinals doesn’t look a lot like the Cayuga team that rolled through district play earlier this season.
Injuries have hampered the look of the Wildcat lineup, but Cayuga still finds itself into the playoffs’ third round for yet another season.
H.S. Softball: Grapeland going strong into regional semifinals
It’s been relatively easy-going so far in the state softball playoffs for the Grapeland softball team.
The Sandiettes have lost only once so far in the playoffs, and that came thanks a forfeit in the area round against Avery, when Grapeland decided not to play rather than play without missing members at the state golf tournament.
Local Roundup: Cayuga's Hughes named 19-A MVP
After a stellar regular season that saw them capture a district title, then a solid playoff run that ended with a regional quarterfinal loss to Grapeland, the Cayuga softball team showed well on the District 19-A all-district teams.
Cayuga star freshman pitcher Kimberly Hughes capped her stellar year by earning the district’s Most Valuable Player award. Joining Hughes in earning superlative honors was her battery-mate Maci Poland, who was named the league’s Defensive MVP.
- More Local Sports Headlines
- H.S. Athletics: Holden named new Cayuga ISD athletic director