2016 High School Southerns Day 2 Boys' Recap
Posted: May 15, 2016 09:01 PM
Cooler weather on the morning of the second day at the 2016 High School Southern Championships led many to believe that the wind would continue to be a big factor in how games would play out – and they were certainly right.
With a round of 8:30 a.m. games, eight teams were at it early, vying for an upset and to prove their worth on the field. Close games meant louder fields as the ninth-place bracket had each team striving to work harder than the day before, culminating in 10th seeded Independence and 13th seeded Blackman entering the final game against each other. It was a tough game for both, and Independence took it home 13-7.
In the quarterfinal round, everyone was filled with anticipation for two games: top-seeded Carolina Friends against 11 seed University School of Nashville, and two seed Paideia against 12 seed Washington-Lee. Both games started out with teams trading points, but Paideia managed to gain a few break points over Washington-Lee and continued to work the disc well to take half at 7-3. Undeterred, Washington came back harder, but struggled with the wind and some unexpected throws downfield that caused turnovers. Paideia took full advantage of those turnovers. Using the wind to aid their defense, Paideia ran a zone on Washington-Lee and forced turns to help them win the game at 13-6.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Friends and USN game was heating up. The teams traded point after point, with many on the sidelines surprised at USN’s ability to keep up with the number one seed. USN worked well together as a team, but Carolina Friends managed to take half at 7-6, halfway through the clock. USN managed one more point before Carolina closed up the game with 15 minutes to spare before cap at 13-7. Even with the loss, USN showed the true Spirit of the Game, doing a fun "volcano dance" afterwards and showering their opponents with gummy candies, before wishing them luck in their next game. Having fought to get into the championship bracket, USN still managed to break seed by the end of the day, moving up four spots from 11th to seventh.
The semifinals pitted Carolina Friends against six-seed HB Woodlawn, who had pulled out a win against the overall five seed, Grady. Woodlawn showed up in full force, with a loud and large sideline. Carolina Friends’ cheers were no match for the Woodlawn fans, and the game started with Woodlawn securing two points 15 minutes in. However, Carolina Friends wasn’t demoralized by the loud shouts from those on the opposing team’s sideline and showed their skill on the field as they worked for points. The athleticism of the Carolina Friends players showed as one player, Jake Taylor, chased down the disc to sky not only a Woodlawn player, but also leaping over his own teammate, Nick Tansey, to catch a defensive block and giving his team possession and then the point. The experienced Carolina Friends handlers were able to recognize mismatched defenders on their receivers and took advantage of the mismatches. Carolina Friends won the game 13-8.
The other semifinal had third-seeded East Chapel Hill facing off against two seed Paideia, and many expected Paideia to win. However, the teams once again put all they had on the field and traded points the entire game. It was a nail-biter to watch, as there were many layout blocks and catches really close to the line. Tough calls were made by both teams, and twice they had to stop game play to discuss a call and to allow those with best perspective to weigh in. Even though stakes were high, the boys remained calm and sportsmanlike and accepted the final call of their opponent. The game went right to hard cap, when East Chapel Hill was in the lead 11-10, and Paideia had possession. The Paideia boys worked hard, but they turned the disc over. Determined to get his team another chance, junior Coleman Tappero managed to get a catch block in East’s end zone, and Paideia tried to score once again. But East took the disc back after a failed dump-swing from Paideia and scored the final point to move on to championship game.
East Chapel Hill lined up to face Carolina Friends in the finals, a rematch of the finals at the North Carolina High School State Championships which took place just a week before. Further, the two teams’ schools are within twenty minutes of each other in the North Carolina Triangle Area. Both teams had worked all year for this final game, where they faced each other yet again. Carolina Friends won their match up at the state championships the weekend before, but many weren’t sure what to expect when East Chapel Hill forced a turnover and scored the first point mere minutes into the game. Not to be outdone, Carolina Friends took the next one, and the game continued on with the two trading the first several points.
The wind picked up, and the teams began to adjust to accommodate it, but for East Chapel Hill, it began to be too much. Carolina Friends scored three points in succession to put the score at 5-3, before a timeout was called shortly after a collision involving two players from each team in the end zone. Carolina Friends took the point, and East Chapel Hill pushed to close the gap, with Jack McCleary scoring the next point for them, before Carolina Friends took the game to half.
Out of halftime, Carolina Friends pulled the disc to East Chapel Hill, and Liam Searles-Bohs got a block in their end zone, taking possession and allowing Carolina Friends to take the point. The teams once again started to trade, before Carolina Friends got another break to make the game 10-7 with only 20 minutes remaining. Going down to the wire once again, the game ran with the clock, and Carolina Friends was able to take home the victory once more, ending the game at 13-9. The win gave Carolina Friends their third straight High School Southerns championship title.