By: Raynard Churchwell

Friday night, the Sandy Creek Patriots showed again why they are a top title contender, as they defeated the Chapel Hill Panthers 45-24. The win keeps the Patriots’ undefeated streak alive as they are now 6-0. As for Chapel Hill, the loss puts the Panthers at 3-3 on the season and 0-2 in division play. 

The first quarter started off with good drives from both teams. Chapel Hill began the game with a huge 58-yard catch and run by wide receiver Aaron Wilson, but the Patriot defense forced a three and out in the red zone and held the Panthers to a field goal. 

The Patriots bounced back as quarterback Matt Williams showed off his dual-threat ability, carving up the defense with his arm and legs. He threw a touchdown to get the Patriots on the board and take the lead 7-3. 

Sandy Creek running back Rashad Amos scored a touchdown a few plays later after they forced Chapel Hill to fumble. After a missed field goal, Sandy Creek led 13-3 halfway through the quarter. 

Chapel Hill continued to fight as running back Imani Davis burst through the defense for a 71 yard-run. Davis finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown to make the score 13-10 at the end of the first quarter. 

Tough play continued for both teams in the second quarter. Patriot wide receiver Jordan Weatherford came up with big catches to open the quarter, causing the Panther defense to spread out, giving Rashad Amos an easy running lane for his second touchdown of the day. 

Chapel Hill made some big plays in the quarter, but failed to put any more points on the board, and the half ended with Sandy Creek leading 20-10.

The game started to get out of hand in the third quarter, as Williams came out with good rhythm, throwing for three first downs in a row. Dealo Parson finished the drive with a touchdown. 

In a weird series of events, fumbles occurred on three straight drives. Sandy Creek recovered the third fumble, and put together a nice drive. Running back Rashad Amos scored his third touchdown of the game, making the score 33-10. 

At this point, tempers began to flare between the two teams. A lot of trash talk, pushing, and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties ensued, and coaches had to bring their teams to the sidelines and get them calmed down. Sandy Creek had the perfect response to the madness with a huge pick-six, ending the quarter 39-10. 

In the fourth quarter, despite the deficit, Chapel Hill showed they wouldn’t quit. Penalties killed the Patriot defense on the opening drive and allowed Chapel Hill to score a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Amos continued to dominate as he scored his fourth touchdown of the evening a few drives later, making the score 45-17 and putting the nail in the coffin for Chapel Hill. The Panthers scored another touchdown in the quarter, but it would be of no avail. 

Sandy Creek head coach Brett Garvin knew the game was going to be a dog fight all week long. 

“Chapel Hill is a very aggressive and physical team,” Garvin explained. “They had a great game plan, and it took us some time to adjust, but I’m happy we came out with the win.”

Sandy Creek looks to remain unbeaten this week as they face a huge test against the undefeated Cartersville Hurricanes. The winner will have a stranglehold on the number one spot in the region. As for Chapel Hill, they look to rebound against the 3-4 Central Lions.