TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Character is revealed when your back is again the wall, and in the regional round of the playoffs, Chapel Hill found themselves down 17-nothing at the half, but were able to rally and beat Lumberton 35-23.
“Very proud of our program and where our culture is at and just how these kids kept believing and fighting,” said Chapel Hill head coach Jeff Riordan.
Now the East Texas rematch is set.
For the 2nd season in a row, Chapel Hill and Kilgore will square off in the playoffs, this in the state quarterfinals, exemplifying why this league continues to earn the District of Doom moniker.
“Literally a Dog fight, the Kilgore Bulldogs versus the Chapel Hill Bulldogs, Beast Texas at its finest speed, strength, physicality, effort, and just kids flying around and having fun playing the game,” said Riordan.
“We know what’s at stake we just know we have to get the job done, we call it, they want their lick back, they’ve been wanting it since last year, so we’re not going to let them get it because we were in that same predicament last year,” said Chapel Hill wide receiver Deuce McGregor.
There are home run hitters on both offenses, but for Chapel Hill, they will have to find a way to slow down Kilgore running back Isaiah Ross, who rushed for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns against fellow district rival Lindale last week.
“He’s an unbelievable high school football running back, and regardless, you can do everything right, and he still makes plays,” said Riordan.
“Keep encouraging the team I mean, we’re going to have bad plays but we can’t have one bad play determine how we play so we just have to keep going and keep pushing,” Chapel Hill defensive tackle Dakota Bonner.
It’s a rivalry built on passion, excellence, and mutual respect.
“Just to see family, we are really family, just to see family going at it you know, for that title it means a lot man it does,” said Bonner.
“If I was just a fan and I had to pick a game in the state of Texas this is the one I would be at this week,” said Riordan.
The District of Doom has a double meaning, it does refer to the gauntlet for the teams within, but it’s also a warning to whoever will be in the winner’s path.
Chapel Hill and Kilgore will play at 7:00 p.m. Friday at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in Tyler.