Trail to the Title Semifinals Set after Completion of First Round on Saturday

Chapel Hill’s Braylon Gilstrap (27, top photo) gets around the corner on Henderson in the Panthers’ 32-20 first round playoff victory.
Henderson’s Da’son Harris (4, bottom photo) scored three touchdowns for the Cougars in the loss. (Photos by Mark Brock)

Salem, Cedar Grove, Chapel Hill and Stephenson moved on to the Trail to the Title middle school playoffs semifinals with victories this past Saturday at Godfrey and Avondale Stadiums.

Co-Region 4 champion Chapel Hill knocked off Region 1 champ Henderson 32-20 in a hard-fought contest to reach the semifinals.

The Panthers (6-0-1) jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first quarter. The Chapel Hill defense blocked a punt recovered Harlim Perine at the Henderson 44 to set up the first score. Zyeed Conwell did the bulk of the work on the scoring drive running for 27 yards on three carries and quarterback Braylen Carter went behind his center from the two-yard line for the opening score of the game. Braylon Gilstrap added the two-point conversion run to make it an 8-0 Panther advantage with 1:30 to play in the first quarter.

Henderson was driving at the Chapel Hill 32-yard line when Panther defensive back Caleb Winfrey stepped in front of a Cougar pass and raced 70 yards for a touchdown as the first quarter ended. Conwell converted the two-point run to make it 16-0 heading into the second quarter.

Da’Son Harris cut the lead in half with a 35-yard scoop and score with 2:54 left in the first half. He then added the two-point conversion run to trim the lead to 16-8.

The Panthers answered on the ensuing drive with Conwell was again stout in the run game rushing for 35 yards, including a one-yarder for the touchdown, on six carries. Gilstrap contributed 26 yards on two carries as the Panthers moved in for the score. Gilstrap added the two-point run to make it a 24-8 game heading into the half.

Harris struck again for the Cougars (4-2) with 4:21 to play in the third quarter as he burst through the left side and ran over a pair of Chapel Hill defenders on the way to a 42-yard touchdown run to pull Henderson within 24-14 as the two-point conversion failed.

A punt return at the end of the third quarter for the Panthers set Chapel Hill up for business at the Henderson 24. Gilstrap got the Panthers to the one on an 18-yard run around the right side and then tacked on the touchdown on a one-yard run on the following play. Conwell added the two-point run to give Chapel Hill a 32-14 advantage with 6:44 to play.

Henderson marched right back down the field going 54 yards in six plays to reach the end zone. A 13-yard run on third and nine by Spencer wise on a quarterback keeper kept the drive alive. Wise followed with a 26-yard pass play to Giovanni Banks to the Chapel Hill three-yard line.

Harris picked up his third touchdown of the game going the final three-yards for the score. The two-point try was no good and Henderson trailed 20-32 with 3:15 to play.

Chapel Hill with runs of 27 yards by Conwell and 12 by Gilstrap closed out the game as the Panthers ran out the final 3:15.

Conwell finished the day with 120 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries in the game while Gilstrap finished with 67 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown to lead Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill moves on to semifinals to face Stephenson, a 28-0 winner over Redan in the second game at Avondale.

Stephenson's Cavalli Jackson (3, top photo) is surrounded by Redan defenders Ladamian Stewart (24) and Ty'Heim Behling (8). Redan's Jordan Francis (13) gets around Stephenons' Kwame Green (50) during Stephenson's 28-0 win in first round playoff action. (Photos by Mark Brock)

Stephenson’s Cavalli Jackson (3, top photo) is surrounded by Redan defenders Ladamian Stewart (24) and Ty’Heim Behling (8). Redan’s Jordan Francis (13) gets around Stephenons’ Kwame Green (50) during Stephenson’s 28-0 win in first round playoff action. (Photos by Mark Brock)

Stephenson 28, Redan 0
Stephenson (5-1) used a tough defense to shutdown Redan for a 28-0 victory to advance to the semifinal matchup with Chapel Hill.

The Jaguars defense held Redan to negative yardage in the game with six sacks (2.5 by Josiah Marks) and fumbles caused by Marquis Brisco and Kwame Green.

Redan opened the game with a thrilling 95-yard kickoff return by Ty’Heim Behling as he tracked down the kick at the five, reversed field to the right and tight-roped the sideline on the way to the end zone for an apparent touchdown. A block in the back was called during the return to nullify the touchdown.

The two teams then proceeded to play a scoreless first quarter. Stephenson got the football on downs at the Redan 22 and six plays later Jerome Johnson got into the end zone on a four-yard run. He added the two-point run for an 8-0 Jaguar lead with 6:32 to play in the half.

One of the two fumble recoveries by the Jaguars gave Stephenson the football at their own 49 with 4:20 left in the half. Cavalli Jackson had a 12-yard run and then went 39 yards for the touchdown on the second play to extend the lead to 14-0 with 2:03 to play.

Savion Jones recovered a Redan fumble on the Raiders next possession at the Redan 12 to set up another Jaguar score. Jordan Christie ran a reverse for 18 yards and the score with 19 seconds left in the half. Jackson tacked on the two-point run for a 22-0 Stephenson lead at the half.

Redan got its best scoring chance of the game when a bad snap caused Stephenson to turn the ball over on downs at its own 20. Jaylen Williams scored on a seven yard run only to have it called back on a holding penalty. Behling had runs of seven and five yards to get Redan to the Stephenson five for a third and goal.

The Jaguar defense then came up big again dropping the Raiders for losses on third and fourth down to get the ball back. With 1:16 left in the third quarter.

The score was still 22-0 going into the fourth quarter when Stephenson again stopped Redan on downs at the Jaguar 33. One play later Jayden Johnson took a toss around the left side on a sweep and raced 67 yards for the touchdown. The two-point try was no good and the Jaguars were up 28-0 with 4:59 to play.

Chapel Hill and Stephenson face off at 11:30 am on Saturday at Avondale Stadium in the second game of the semifinals.

Salem 22, Druid Hills 0
The Salem Lions remained undefeated at 7-0 with a 22-0 victory over Druid Hills (3-3) in the first game at Godfrey Stadium on Saturday.

Jaleel Baugh rushed for over 100 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Lions on offense. CJ Harris came up big on defense leading the team with 10 tackles on the day.

Salem, Region 3 champ, moves on to the semifinals to take on Cedar Grove Saints, 12-8 winners over McNair in the second game at Godfrey on Saturday.

Cedar Grove 12, McNair 8
The Cedar Grove Saints rallied with 12 points in the fourth quarter to upend the McNair Mustangs 12-8 in the second game at Godfrey Stadium.

Cedar Grove entered the playoffs as the third place team from Region 4 and as a wildcard entry into the playoffs on the back of losses to McNair (16-14) and Chapel Hill (12-0).

The game with McNair (3-1-1) earlier in the season had Cedar Grove (5-2) leading most of the game before a last second touchdown by the Mustangs led to McNair getting the No. 1 seed out of Region 4 as the co-champions with Chapel Hill.

This time McNair led 8-0 into the fourth quarter when the Saints rallied for 12 points including the go-ahead score by D’Corey Holt on a two-yard run with just 40 seconds remaining.

McNair did not go down without a fight in the final 40 seconds as they marched to the Cedar Grove five-yard line and faced a fourth and goal with just second remaining in the game. The pass into the end zone by the Mustangs went incomplete as the Saints held on to move into the semifinals.

Cedar Grove takes on Salem at 10:00 am on Saturday at Avondale in the first game of the semifinals.

Non-Playoff Game: Freedom 16, Sequoyah 6
The Freedom Rams picked up a final win on the season with a 16-6 victory over the Sequoyah Chiefs on Saturday at Hallford Stadium.

Freedom (1-4) got a 46-yard touchdown pass play from Quaricus Hurley to Xavier Ivey and a three-yard touchdown run by Calil Boozer. Kyrell Strickland scored both two-point conversions for the Rams.

Hurley finished the day with 51 yards passing and 50 yards rushing. Ivey had both catches for 51 yards and the touchdown. Strickland finished with 60 yards on 10 carries.

Sequoyah got a tough running, 15-yard touchdown run by quarterback Marquis Earl. The score was set up by a 20-yard run by Gustavo Martinez. David Cortes had six tackles for the Chiefs (2-4) including a pair of sacks.

See link for current Middle School Standings:

2021 DCSD Middle School Standings (Week 8)

WEEK 8 – OCT. 16
Chapel Hill (6-0-1) 32, Henderson (4-2) 20
Stephenson (5-1) 28, Redan (2-3) 0

Salem (7-0) 22, Druid Hills (3-3), 10:00 am
Cedar Grove (5-2) 12, McNair (3-1-1) 8

HALLFORD STADIUM (Make up games)
Freedom (1-4) 16, Sequoyah (1-5) 6

WEEK 9 – OCT. 23

Salem (7-0) vs. Cedar Grove (5-2), 10:00 am
Stephenson (5-1) vs. Chapel Hill (6-0-1), 11:30 pm

Source: DCSD Athletics

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