Cooper Bemis came off the bench to run for two touchdowns and throw for another to lead Chapin to a 24-17 victory over A.C. Flora to claim the Region 5-4A title Friday night at Spirit Communications Park.
The Eagles open the playoffs in two weeks, and will have home-field advantage as long as they stay alive. It’s the second consecutive region championship for the Eagles.
“I’m kind of speechless,” Chapin coach Justin Gentry said. “These guys – coaches and players – have worked their tails off. We put a lot in this program. I think we’re a contender now and not a pretender.”
A.C. Flora jumped to a 10-0 lead on a 37-yard field goal from Thomas McCutchen and a 2-yard run by Coleman Pope. But Chapin scored 10 points in the final 1:41 of the first half on a field goal by Scott Samson and a 17-yard TD run by Bemis.
After that, it was all Eagles.
Chapin (8-2, 4-0) opened the second half with an 8-play, 70-yard drive, as Bemis scored his second touchdown on an 8-yard run to give the Eagles the lead for good.
On their next offensive possession, Bemis connected with Kale Rhame on a 7-yard scoring strike.
“It usually takes us a drive or two to get the pace of the other team, but we just settled down and played,” Gentry said.
A.C. Flora (5-5, 3-1) wasn’t finished. It turned a second Chapin fumble of the fourth quarter into a 10-yard scoring run by Lane Botkin to pull within a score.
The Falcons got the ball back near midfield with 1:25 remaining and moved it to the Eagles 23-yard line, but a sack and incompletion ended the game.
“We came back fighting. I was proud of the way the guys finished,” A.C. Flora coach Reggie Shaw said. “All you can ask for is a chance to tie it up at the end. But we have to fix some things.”
A.C. Flora had a chance to go into the half with the lead, but an interception by Cam Liles gave the Eagles possession at the Falcons 33-yard line. Four plays later, Bemis scored on the 17-yard run to give the Eagles the momentum.
Cooper Bemis: The senior came in and ran for 110 yards and two scores, and threw for another 130 yards and a touchdown.
Robert Bickley: The senior linebacker was one of the key reasons Chapin recorded nine tackles for loss.
47: Yards of total offense by A.C. Flora on its first five possessions of the second half, after gaining 150 yards in the first half.
14: Points scored by Chapin off of three A.C. Flora turnovers.
THEY SAID IT
“Cooper was scheduled to come in when he did. Then we stayed with the hot hand.” Gentry
“We had a chance to go up 17-0 and didn’t finish. I knew the momentum started to swing then.” Shaw
How they scored
ACF – Thomas McCutchen 37 FG 7:14
ACF – Coleman Pope 2 run (McCutchen kick) 8:16
C – Scott Samson 23 FG 1:41
C – Cooper Bemis 17 run (Samson kick) :34
C – Bemis 8 run (Samson kick) 8:48
C – Kale Rhame 7 pass from Bemis (Samson kick) 3:59
ACF – Lane Botkin 10 run (McCutchen kick) 6:38
Rushing: C: Cooper Bemis 19-110, Mark Shealy 12-69, Xzavion Gordon 2-4, Will Register 1-2, Trad Beatty 3-1, Team 1-0. ACF: Coleman Pope 17-82, Cory Riley 5-27, Carlton Andrews 12-(-4), Lane Botkin 5-14.
Passing: C: Bemis 10-20-0-130, Beatty 2-3-1-15. ACF: Andrews 12-22-3-126.
Receiving: C: Gordon 2-25, Cole Owens 5-55, Register 2-31, Bemis 1-6, Kale Rhame 1-7, Shealy 1-21. ACF: Thomas Hollingsworth 4-28, Garrett Whetstone 5-84, Charles Chapman 1-18, Cam Riley 1-(-3), Pope 1-(1).