TYLER, Texas — It's been a roller coaster of a year for the Chapel Hill Bulldogs. The team started off hot, winning five games straight, then they went cold losing three games and a major change at quarterback. With any major change, what makes a difference at the end of the day is team leadership.
On Friday, Chapel hill managed to upset the offensive powerhouse that is Kilgore in a double-overtime thriller. The Bulldogs are now headed to the state quarterfinals, led by our CBS19 under the lights coach of the week coach, Jeff Riordan.
Ashley – “Once again, you are a CBS 19 Under the Lights head coach of the week. Now let's talk about this Coach Riordon because the first time you were here, Chapel Hill was on a four-game win streak. And then you won the fifth game, and then you lost three games straight. But now you're back on a five-game win streak. And at this point, you have to continue the wind strength to get to where you want to be. Let's talk about this up and down season that you've had this year.”
Jeff – “You know, I think it's, it comes down to we had a few bad quarters of football, and that happens in football and you know, sometimes with 15, 16, 17, 18-year-old kids, when you lose one game, sometimes it beat you twice. And I think that's what happened. We were on a two-game losing streak going into the district championships house, there in Kilgore with a freshman quarterback in his first start. So you know, I think those three losses, built some strength through that adversity. Our kids’ backs were against the wall and had to come out fighting against Mabank and Henderson just to get in the playoffs. And here we are now in round four knocked off to district championships to district champions along the way and playing really good football.”
A – “Okay, so you mentioned your freshman quarterback Demetrius Brisbon, he came in during the Palestine game then had a very tough game against Kilgore, but since then, he has been lights out leading your team as a freshman. What can you say about him so far this season?”
J – “You know, Demetrius was a starting safety before we moved him to quarterback, so he had some games under his belt. He had been playing varsity football for the first six games of the season and was coming in in a limited role at quarterback trying to get his feet wet, trying to make sure that he was ready in case our first quarterback did ever having to go down. Really, this is his first experience being a starting quarterback at all. So it's very impressive to see what he's done. He gets better every week. He's very coachable. And you know, he's just a fun kid to coach.”
A – “Okay, Coach, we talked about impressive, what's impressive is I was at this Kilgore Chapel Hill game this past Friday for one the crowd. I've never seen row stadium so packed. I hope I wish it was like that every Friday. But I met the game, and your team goes down 17 to zero against Kilgore and I must say it wasn't looking good. And somehow y'all came back in rallied to take this game to two overtime. So, you had a blocked field goal in the first overtime, then a Samari Willis scored a touchdown in sec overtime. But then you have an interception by Jayvin Mayfield to stop to stop Kilgore from scoring.”
J – “You know, I think our focus as coaches, we don't take any part of the game, any aspect of the game lightly. We spend just as much time on special teams, as we do on offense and defense. You know, every part of that every aspect of the game is important on Friday nights, and it's going to come down to who can execute when the games on the line and the little things that make the big things happen, we preach to the kids all the time. And, you know, I think these kids are just, they've had a lot of adversity this year, internally externally. And just it's never they've never wavered. I've never seen a group of kids so resilient. You know, and I think the biggest part of it to tell you the truth is they love football, and they love each other. So those teams are the ones that end up playing the longest because they love being at football practice. They love being around their teammates. And we have Ohana on the front of our practice jerseys, which means family. So, they don't want to let the family down and they want to try to keep this family together as long as we can.”
A – “Well, coach I have nothing else to say after that. Congratulations on making it past the floor this year and headed into this next round versus Little Cypress-Mauricesville nothing but the best of luck coming up on Friday. It Congratulations once again for being our coach of the week.”
J – “Thank you. Thanks for having me.”