Chapin turned Senior Night into a title bash on Friday at Cecil Woolbright Field.
The senior-dominated Eagles overcame a slow start to whip Dreher 30-7 and secure the program’s first region championship since 1992, the first at the Class 3A level.
The Eagles (6-3, 4-0) close out the Region 4-3A campaign next week against Camden with the goal of finishing undefeated in the conference with the pressure off now that the region’s No. 1 state playoff seed is in the bag.
“The seniors were freshmen in my first year at Chapin, and we’ve kind of leaned on each other through the years,” Eagles coach Justin Gentry said. “They’ve been a never-give-up kind of group all along, and that’s been the case this year when we didn’t get off the best of starts. We got healthier and we got better with each week.
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“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in this kind of situation, so it’s kind of nice that we could clinch it at home and on Senior Night.”
The Eagles turned the ball over on four of their first five possessions but settled down with a 15-play, 73-yard scoring drive capped by a 3-yard scoring run by Napier Armstrong with 21 seconds left in the first half.
Chapin scored on every possession in the second, including a 69-yard scoring run by quarterback Matt Charpia two plays after Dreher opened the second half with a 30-yard scoring pass from Avery Armstrong to Bradford Lemmons to tie the score.
Charpia went untouched on the option run that put the Eagles ahead for good.
“We put a lot of pressure on the kids this week with what was at stake,” Gentry said.
“Maybe it was too much, but we have to be ready to step it up in the playoffs when it really counts. We finally settled down in the second half.”
Charpia, a three-year starter, came up big in the biggest game of his career.
He ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and was 15-for-31 passing for 171 yards.
His passing numbers could have been better save for five drops, four in the first quarter.
“The key for us is to get off to a good start,” he said. “Tonight we didn’t, but the defense took us off the hook and gave us time to get it together.”
In the end, Chapin put up 442 offensive yards on the Blue Devils.
Senior Carter White was another Eagles headliner with seven catches for 101 yards and two critical grabs that set up Chapin’s first touchdown.
The first was a 25-yard catch-and-run that produced a first down at the Dreher 14-yard line.
He then caught a 21-yard pass from Noah Schelble on a fake field goal for a first down at the 3.
Dreher produced 195 yards against the sure-tackling Eagle defense.
The Blue Devils (6-3, 2-2) finish the season next week against archrival A.C. Flora with a state playoff berth up for grabs.
C – Napier Armstrong 3 run (Zach McCall kick), 0:21
D – Bradford Lemmons 30 pass from Avery Armstrong (Wesley Mousseau kick), 10:09
C – Matt Charpia 69 run (McCall kick), 9:14
C – N. Armstrong 2 run (McCall kick), 5:49
C – Charpia 1 run (kick failed), 11:35
C – FG McCall 21, 2:33
Rushing – D, A. Armstrong 18-39, Ward 7-20. C, Washington 5-24, N. Armstrong 13-66, Charpia 12-112.
Passing – D, A. Armstrong 14-24-1-126. C, Charpia 15-31-1-171, Schelble 1-1-0-21.
Receiving – D, Ward 4-40, Lemmons 3-38. C, Livingston 4-25, White 7-101, Young 2-53.